On the Feast of Michael and All Angels, popularly called “Michaelmas,” we give thanks for the many ways in which God's loving care watches over us, both directly and indirectly, and we are reminded that the richness and variety of God's creation far exceeds our knowledge of it.
The Holy Scriptures often speak of created intelligences other than humans who worship God in heaven and act as His messengers and agents on earth. Jesus speaks of them as rejoicing over penitent sinners (Luke 15:10). In Matthew 18:10, He likewise warns against misleading a child, because their angels behold the face of God.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, it is occasionally reported that someone saw a man who spoke to him with authority, and who he then realized was no mere man, but a messenger of God. They are referred to as "messengers of God," or simply as "messengers." The word for a messenger in Hebrew is “malach” from which we get our word "angel."
There were thought to be four archangels, named Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel, although other scholars believe the seven lamps of Revelation 4:5 are an image suggesting seven archangels. Michael (the name means "Who is like God?") is said to be the captain of the heavenly armies. He is generally pictured in full armor, carrying a lance, and often with his foot on the neck of a dragon. Michael is mentioned in the Scriptures in Daniel 10:13,31; 12:1 (where he is said to be the prince of the people of Israel), in Jude 9 (where he is said to have disputed with the devil about the body of Moses), and in Revelation 12:7 (where he is said to have led the heavenly armies against those of the great dragon). Gabriel (the name means "God is my champion") is considered the special bearer of messages from God to men. He appears in Daniel 8:16; 9:21 to explain some of Daniel's visions. In the first chapter of Luke, Gabriel announced the forthcoming births of John the Baptist, our Lord to Zachariah, and also the Virgin Mary. Raphael (the name means "God heals") is mentioned in the Apocrypha, in the book of Tobit, where, disguised as a man, he accompanies the young man Tobias on a quest, enables him to accomplish it, and gives him a remedy for the blindness of his aged father. Uriel (the name means "God is my light") is mentioned in 4 Esdras.
Since it is common belief that demons are angels who have chosen to disobey God and to be His enemies rather than His willing servants, angels remind us that the higher we are the lower we can fall. The greater our natural gifts and talents, the greater the damage if we turn them to negative or self-serving ends. The more we have been given, the more will be expected of us. Additionally, in the picture of God sending His angels to help and defend us, we are reminded that God, instead of doing good things directly, often prefers to do them through His willing servants, enabling those who have accepted His love to show their love for one another.