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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Daily Devotion for October 9, 2014

<i>The Angel Raphael Takes Leave of Old Tobit</i> by Pieter Lastman, ca. 1620.
The Angel Raphael Takes Leave of Old Tobit by Pieter Lastman, ca. 1620. Lastman, an early Dutch painter (and one of Rembrandt's teachers) who had studied in Italy, depicts Raphael as a very Italian-looking angel; notice that Tobias is surrounded by livestock and valuables, his inheritance from Raguel.



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Prayer to Dedicate Oneself to Christ This Day

Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day, I commit myself Your care. Mold me in your image. In everything I say and do, let my mind be on the eternal goodness of heaven rather than the vanities of earth, meaningless pride, or the anger and envy that tear apart my precious soul.

I dedicate myself to your holiness, Oh sweet and innocent Christ, and pray that you may be with me, to check my tongue before it can speak evil and to stop my hand when it seeks to sin. I come to you as a child. I will look to you for guidance and wisdom. Let me know the joyful feeling of having done something that pleased you; let me never feel the pain of knowing I have disappointed you. And let me live without fear, without confusion, always steady in the certainty of your forgiveness and ultimate victory, I pray,


Prayer for Those Who Have Served in War

God of compassion, God of dignity and strength, watch over the veterans of our blessed nation who have served with loyalty and at great sacrifice. Bless them with wholeness and love. Shelter those who are in want, heal those who bear wounds, comfort the hearts of those who have lost friends and family, and bring peace to all who are haunted by the terrible memories of war.

Protect them and their families from loneliness and want. Grant them lives of joy and bounty. And may their dedication and honor, which have shielded us from tyranny, be remembered as a blessing from generation to generation.



[I commit myself to God's care.]

Parting Prayer

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip me with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in me what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

Angel of Deliverance
Angel of Deliverance by Howard David Johnson, contemporary.

Blue Latin Cross

Tobit 12 (MB) (excerpts)

Rafael Reveals Himself

Tobit called Tobias to him and said, “See that the man who went with you is paid his wages; but should he not receive more?” Tobias replied, “It is no harm to me that he should receive half of what I brought; for he brought me to safety, and made my wife whole, and likewise healed you.” So they called Rafael, and told him to take half of what they had gotten and be on his way in safety.

He took them aside in private, and praised God, saying, “Magnify the Lord in all things; it is good to praise Him and reveal His works. Prayer and fasting are good, but a little combined with almsgiving and righteous conduct is better than much prayer and fasting alone. Charity delivers from death and will purge sin; those who give alms and practice righteousness will be filled with life. Those that sin are enemies to their own life.”

“When you prayed, and when your daughter-in-law Sara prayed, I brought your prayers before the Holy One,” he continued. “And when you rose up from your dinner to bury the dead, I was with you. I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who stand before the Glory of the Holy One; and now God has sent me to heal you, even though you had to be put through trials.”

They fell to their faces in fear. And he said, “Have no fear; I have appeared by the will of God, who feeds me in a manner you cannot know. Although it appeared to you that I ate and drank, and was with you, it is more like you have had a vision. Direct your thanks to God, for it is by His will, not mine, that I came. And it is time I return; but write all that you have seen in a book, that God's work may be known.”

Notes on the Scripture


ngels are spirits who serve God. They may appear human, and when they do, they usually take the form of men, although two “female” angels appear in Zechariah 5:9. But they do not have actual gender, and they do not reproduce.

It seems that they do not have an actual appearance, but can take a visible form for the purpose of communicating with people. We really do not know very much about them. We do know that they are not omnipresent, but exist, like us, in time and space; they do not know everything, but they are given knowledge by God to transmit to specific people.

The word “angel” derives from a Greek word meaning “messenger”, and in Hebrew the word used (mal-ach) likewise means messenger, for this is their primary purpose when they are seen in the “Bible”. In what I will call the “universal canon” — those books of the Old Testament accepted as the Word of God by all mainstream Christian faiths — they rarely help people, as Raphael does in Tobit. When they do, it is a single act. For example, when Nebuchadnezzar tries to execute the three Hebrew men in a furnace, a fourth figure is seen with them; and after Daniel survives a night in the lions' den, he says that “God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths.” (Daniel 6:22) Primarily, as their name indicates, they deliver messages.

The concept of guardian angels is non-biblical legend. Catholics have a little more Scriptural basis for the idea than Protestants, because Tobit is canonical in the Catholic Church. But notice that Rafael, although he is sent to help Tobias and keeps him company for many weeks, does not actually use supernatural power to intervene in earthly affairs. He gives divine counsel, acting as a messenger; he assists Tobias using human powers, by traveling to get his money. But the only time he takes supernatural action is to battle the demon Asmodeus, in the spiritual realm, after Tobias has taken the steps to drive it from Sara.

We know even less about archangels than angels. The New Testament uses the word only twice: Jude refers to the Archangel Michael fighting with Satan over Moses' body, and Paul mentions an archangel in 2 Thessalonians: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. ” (1 Thess. 4:16)

There is a lot more about angels, especially in Revelation, but they actually have little to do with human beings; mostly, their activity is in the spiritual realm. The one thing we need to always keep clear is that, when we have been reborn in Christ, we receive the protection and counsel of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not an angel, but is a manifestation of God Himself, infinitely more powerful than an angel.

endless knot

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Matthew 28:20-22: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

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