Subject: Gabrial
Author: Serra International
Date:   12/19/2016 1:32 am 
Figuring as God's trusted messenger across all three Abrahamic religions, the Angel Gabriel plays a pivotal role in the story of Christmas.

In the first chapter of Luke, Gabriel appears and is mentioned by name twice: first, he surprises the elder Zechariah in the temple with the news that his wife, Elizabeth, will conceive a child. He instructs Zechariah to name the child John. This, of course, is John the Baptist, who will prepare the way for Jesus.

Later in the same chapter, Gabriel appears to Mary, Elizabeth's cousin, with the even more shocking news that she, a virgin, will conceive the Son of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. As with Zechariah, the angel reveals the name of the child to be born: Jesus. It is from this famous passage that we derive the "Hail Mary" prayer, the first sentence of which is Gabriel's greeting to Mary, formally called the "Angelic Salutation." Thus, every time we say this prayer, we repeat and reinforce the words of the angel.

Gabriel is called by name nowhere else in the New Testament, but is traditionally assumed to be the angel in Matthew who instructs Joseph, through dream, to wed Mary, and to undertake the flight into Egypt.

While not specifically designated as an archangel in the Bible, Gabriel is regarded by Catholics as part of this high order of angelic beings, and is also called a saint. Unsurprisingly, Gabriel is the patron saint of messengers and all things connected to communications, making him a particularly appropriate saint to call upon in this age of information so vast and accessible that facts are buried by opinion on a regular basis!

In iconography, which is usually a scene of the Annunciation, Gabriel is most often depicted holding a stalk of white lilies, at once a sign of the purity and virtue of Mary, but also, because the flowers are trumpet-shaped, a link to his role as a herald and bringer of news. (He is also assumed to be the angel in Revelation who blows his trumpet to awaken the souls from the grave at the Last Judgment.)

The angel Gabriel may appear as "just a messenger" who moves the action along in the nativity story, but this figure warrants a deeper reflection during Advent:
What message do you bring to others in your life on a daily basis? Is it a message of joy, compassion and encouragement, or negativity, defensiveness and dismay?

Do you speak words of clarity, truth and wisdom, or do you waste words on fibs and idle gossip?

Do your actions convey a message to others that also evangelizes?

Gabriel says: "With God, nothing is impossible." How does this message apply in your life today?
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Serra International 12/19/2016 1:32 am 
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