25 October 2006

Three Remedies from St Raphael

Yesterday when I celebrated the Feast of St Raphael the Archangel, I read these words from St Bonaventure. Granted, he is a post-schismatic medievalist's medievalist; nevertheless, I found what he wrote very comforting. Below are excerpts, but I encourage you to read the whole of what the breviary provides.

Raphael by interpretation is : The Medicine of God. Consider therefore the three remedies bestowed upon us by Raphael which are, as it were, medicines to heal our sickness. First of all Raphael the physician would deliver us from infirmity of soul by inducing within us the bitterness of contrition. This is attested by the Book of Tobit, where we read how Raphael telleth Tobias to anoint his father's eyes with gall ; and how, when it was done, Tobit did see. Could not Raphael have done the anointing himself? Nay, for an Angel cannot give repentance, but only shew the way thither. ...

Secondly, Raphael would deliver us from the devil's bondage by putting us in remembrance of the passion of Christ. ...

Thirdly Raphael would deliver us from the wrath of God, incurred by sinning against him, and this he would do by inducing in us greater earnestness in prayer. Consider how the Angel Raphael, according to Chapter twelve of the Book of Tobit, said : When thou didst pray, I did bring the remembrance thereof before the Holy One. For in such fashion the Angels do all that they can to reconcile us to God. The devils are the fallen angels who accuse us before God. But the holy Angels excuse us, namely, when they bring before God those prayers which they have already stirred us up to offer more devoutly. ...

5 comments:

FredricJEinstein said...

To clarify the probably unclear translation of St. Bonaventure's words....

I have no idea what "Raphael by interpretation" means (interpretation of what???!!!).

However....

The name of the Arch-angel Rapha'El is a contraction of two Hebrew words "rah'phu'ah" (which encompasses three concepts in English... "cure", "medicine", and "healing") with the divine name "El" by which God made himself know to Avram at Ur Kas'dim.

fr john w fenton said...

Fred,

In answer to your question, "by interpretation" is a literalistic transliteration of the Latin phrase which reads: "Raphaël interpretátur medicina Dei."

Put into modern English, this sentence would read: "Raphael means, 'Medicine of God.'"

Rev. Benjamin Harju said...

I found St. Bonaventure's third point noteworthy. Nowadays it isn't too strange for us to think of devils (or at least the Evil One himself, Satan) as villains who accuse us - if anyone at least considers the topic at all. But it seems far away from our regular thinking that God's angels would do the exact opposite of demons: namely, defend us, speak well of us, and put the best construction on everything - and even plead for mercy on our behalf. Certainly Scripture demonstrates this, and the Lutheran Symbols teach this, but good luck finding this comforting reality prayed in public Lutheran liturgies. (I'm willing to be proved wrong on the liturgy point.)

The lost Lutheran said...

Good to see postings again.

David L. Lichtenstein said...

Good to see postings again.