September 29, Saint Raphael

Posted in Serafino Zardoni, St Raphael by martalorenza on September 29, 2012

Here is a letter my uncle, monsignore Serafino Zardoni, sent me to wish me a Happy Saint’s Day.

Dearest Raffaella,

the reason why I’m writing is simple: I saw you at home, but I forgot to wish you a happy feast Day; after the liturgical reform, the Holy Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, have been gathered into one feast day on September 29th. So: my dearest wishes to you!

That could actually be all. But I opened the fantastic Book of Tobit again, the book of the righteous man, whom God tried and then rewarded; the wedding book, the book of tradition; but above all, the book of the Providence of God through the archangel Raphael, God who heals. If you were to read it again one of these days and slowly savored it, you would be fascinated.

In it you will find an interesting kind of an angel (later elevated to the dignity of an archangel).

You will find that the good angel tells lies (5,5), he knows geography well (5,6ff); he tells loads of lies to Tobit  (5,13) he accepts the allowance and the recruitment (5,15), but he proves faithful to his name, Raphael, showing his medical and pharmaceutical skills  (6,4-8); and he isn’t even afraid of acting as a matchmaker at weddings (6,10-11); and in front of the bridegroom’s perplexity (Sarah had already had seven husbands, all strangled by the Devil) he gives him a certain anti-Devil medicine (6,17); moreover, as a perfect athlete, he runs faster than the Devil (from Ecbàtana to Upper Egypt) and he enchains him (8,3).

And he is also an excellent businessman, managing to get as much money as Tobit’ family was entitled to (9,5), and then he takes Tobit junior and his young wife back home (11,1-6).

But that’s not all: as a good doctor, he gives some medicine to Tobit senior, who gets his sight back (11,8ff); and then he finally tells the truth: “It is good to keep the secret of a king, but that it is more glorious to reveal the works of God… I am Raphael, who presents the prayers of the saints” (12,11; 15)

It is a wonderful speech which preludes Tobit’s canticle of thanksgiving to the Lord.

And they lived happily ever after, rich in virtues and money… and he “blessed God that liveth for ever”.


You can add the rest. But if Raffaella (without telling Raphael’s lies) were to become the one that shows God’s secret, that’s how life would reach its deepest meaning: to reveal to men the great mystery of God, so that they may bless him.

To reveal it to all those who come close to you, with words, or more simply, by living; obviously this means you must know God and, therefore, you must have studied him; but certainly, much more, what it involves is loving God, because in order to really know, you need to love.

And this is a life worth living. Amen!

Goodbye, yours forever,

father Serafino

BO. Sept. 29th, 1982