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FEast: Sept. 29th
Patron of:  
messengers, postal workers, ambassadors, broadcasting, delivery workers

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Archangel Gabriel

Bio

 

Though he can also be found in other cultures' faith histories and beliefs (such as the being that gave Muhammad several verses of the Quran in Islam), translated from ancient Hebrew, Gabriel means "God is my strength".

Our first mention of him found in Judaism comes from the book of Daniel, when he is thought to be the man that interprets Daniel's visions. In the Book of Ezekiel, he is the angel sent to destroy Jerusalem. In this section, he is described to look like a man as he stands next to God (as many angels do not typically have descriptions of human-like characteristics). He is also known to be the guardian angel of Jerusalem.

In the Christian New Testament, Gabriel's main role is to deliver messages from God.

He first appears to Zacharias, Mary's cousin Elizabeth's husband, and tells him that he will have a son (John the Baptist). He even tells Zacharias to name the son John, and that he will be a great cause to rejoice.

Because Zacharias does not believe Gabriel, however, he becomes unable to speak until John is born.

Six months later, Gabriel appears to Mary in an event we now call the Annunciation. He tells her that she has been chosen to bear the son of God if she only says yes - and he bows before her: something we do not see angels do at any other time in faith stories.

Then, when Jesus is born, Gabriel is the one to make the announcements to the shepherds in the fields. Tradition also holds that he was the angel that warned Joseph to take his family on the flight to Egypt and avoid Herod's murders.

Because of Gabriel's role as messenger, it is common to read of and find art depicting Gabriel as the one who will blow a trumpet at the time of the resurrection of the dead, though it is never specifically mentioned as his job. There is art as old as the Byzantine period, however, with this imagery. 

Prayer

 

many of us wish we could get as clear a message as yours from God about what we are to do or what something means. Help us look for the messages that aren’t quite so obvious. Let us always be observant, listen to others, and pay attention to our loved ones and our world so that we may know. Please also take our messages more quickly to God. 
Amen.

Art Reflection

 

one reference of many for this Icon was James earl Jones as a younger Man simply because I always imagined the announcement to the shepherds of Jesus' birth in Mufasa's voice... and I took the rest from there. Because the Angel Gabriel is so integral to African and African-American cultural art and spirituality, I wanted Gabriel to have a very spiritually African look, tying in art and jewelry from the continent's history. This icon was about much more for me than just depicting any regular man, since angels have so much more of a diverse, mythological background than saints, and the culture around them is more important than having a specific look.

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