In addition to being the patron saint of communication workers and messengers, St. Gabriel is also a significant figure for three of the major world religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. In the Book of Daniel, which belongs to the canon of sacred scripture for Judaism and Christianity alike, “the man Gabriel” interprets the dreams of the Prophet Daniel. While not acknowledged outside of Islam, Muslims believe that the Angel Gabriel is the one who delivered the Qur’an to Muhammad and communicated with the prophets.
In the New Testament, Christians recall how Gabriel told Zacharias that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son. Upon giving this news, Gabriel was questioned as to his identity. He answered: “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news” (Luke 1:19). And, of course, Gabriel is best known for announcing God’s will for the Virgin Mary – that she bear the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
As anyone who works in communications recognizes, delivering messages of such import is no small task. The Archangel effectively and truthfully communicated God’s Word in a way that was understandable to its recipients. I often describe the work of a communications professional as that of a translator: he or she takes the message or reality of a situation and translates it into a language and medium that is most coherent and understandable to a particular audience. Isn’t this exactly what Gabriel did in interpreting Daniel’s visions?
Pope Francis, at the beginning of his pontificate, said this to the members of the press: “Your work calls for careful preparation, sensitivity, and experience, like so many other professions, but it also demands a particular concern for what is true, good, and beautiful. This is something which we have in common, since the Church exists to communicate precisely this: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty “in person.”
The Archangel Gabriel certainly exemplifies this vocation to convey truth, goodness, and beauty, and gives us an example to follow as we communicate with the world. Who better to intercede for the men and women in the world of communications?
St. Gabriel the Archangel: pray for us!