In the old calendar the feast of the Archangel Gabriel is celebrated on March 24. Dom Prosper Gueranger (b. 1805- d. 1875) wrote the following for this feast:
“The whole human race is indebted to you, Gabriel, and on this day we would fain pay you the honour and gratitude we owe you. You were moved to holy compassion when seeing the miseries of the world, for all flesh had corrupted its way, and the forgetfulness of God increased with each new generation of men. Then did the Most High commission you to bring to the world the good tidings of its salvation. How beautiful your steps, Prince of the heavenly court, as you came down to this our humble sphere! How tender and fraternal is your love of man whose nature, though so inferior to your own, was to be raised by the mystery of the Incarnation to union with God Himself! With what respectful awe did you not approach the Virgin who surpassed all the Angels in holiness! Blessed Messenger of our Redemption whom God selects as His Minister when He would show His power, we beseech you, offer the homage of our gratitude to Him that thus sent you. Help us to pay the immense debt we owe to the Father who so loved the world as to give it His only begotten Son (John iii. 16): to the Son, who emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant (Philippians ii. 7), and to the Holy Ghost who rested on the Flower that sprang up out of the root of Jesse (Isaias xi. 1).
’Twas you, Gabriel, that taught us the salutation with which we should greet Mary full of grace. You were the first to pronounce these sublime words, which you brought from Heaven. The children of the Church are now, day and night, repeating these words of yours. Pray for us that we may say them in such a manner as that our Blessed Mother may find them worthy of her acceptance.
Angel of Strength, Friend of Mankind, relent not in your ministry of aiding us. We are surrounded by terrible enemies. Our weakness makes them bold. Come to our assistance, get us courage. Pray for us during these days of conversion and penance. Obtain for us the knowledge of all we owe to God in consequence of that ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of which you were the first witness. We have forgotten our duties to the Man-God, and we have offended Him: enlighten us, that so, henceforth, we may be faithful to His teachings and examples.
Raise up our thoughts to the happy abode where you dwell. Assist us to merit the places left vacant by the fallen Angels, for God has reserved them for His elect among men. Pray, Gabriel, for the Church Militant, and defend her against the attacks of Hell. The times are evil. The spirits of malice are let loose, nor can we make stand against them unless with God’s help. It is by His holy Angels that He gives victory to His Spouse. Be thou, Strength of God, foremost in the ranks. Drive heresy back, keep schism down, foil the false wisdom of men, frustrate the policy of the world, arouse the well-minded from apathy that thus, the Christ whom you announced may reign over the Earth He has redeemed, and that we may sing together with you and the whole angelic choir: Glory be to God! Peace to men!”
Yes, “Angel of Strength, Friend of Mankind, relent not in your ministry of aiding us.”
Picture: the Archangel Gabriel is pictured during the Annunciation, taken from Pinturicchio’s The Annunciation which was painted in 1501