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Just What the (Angelic) Doctor Ordered October 25, 2007

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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On the Roman Catholic calendar, October 24th marks the Feast of St. Raphael.  Raphael is actually an archangel, one of three acknowledged by name by the Catholic Church.  Now, before anyone asks, I’m not Catholic–I just think there may be some reason to acknowledge yesterday’s observance in last night’s win by the Caps.  Why is that?  Glad you asked.  Read on…

The name “Raphael” roughly translates as “God heals.”  So, logically enough, Raphael’s main duties involve healing of all sorts: physical, mental, spiritual, and so on.  He’s known to some as the Angelic Physician.  And when his name comes up, I pay attention.  I’ve got a lot of personal reasons for that which I’d just as soon not go into here, but if someone leaves a comment to ask why, I’ll answer (and probably at more length than you’d expect).

Raphael plays a major part in the apocryphal Book of Tobit, which is a good read even if you don’t take it as canon.  One reason is its approachability: most of the people in it are just regular people, not kings or warriors or prophets. Joseph, Moses, and King David are outside my experience, but I can relate to Tobit, Tobias, and Raguel just fine. 
Tobit is also one of the most up-close-and-personal angelophanies in all of Scripture–so up-close that Frederick Buechner did an entire book re-telling the entire story from Raphael’s perspective.  The book is called “On the Road with the Archangel”, and it’s a good companion to the original.  While I’m at it, steer clear of “Angel Light” by Andrew M. Greeley–there’s a lot which that one gets wrong.

Now, since Raphael is so concerned with healing, I thought it was no small coincidence that we beat Tampa Bay last night, on his feast day.  Semin came back from his injury–a physical healing, so no elaboration needed there, I hope.  But the game also snapped a four-game skid, which no doubt should help lighten spirits in the locker room going into this weekend’s contests (home for Vancouver Friday night, at St. Louis Saturday night).  So, in a sense, there was some mental/emotional healing at work there, as well.  The questions about the offense found a few answers Wednesday night, and the penalty kill was as good as ever.  It wasn’t a perfect win–the power play still needs a lot of work–but far be it from me to complain too loudly about a win.  Winning ugly is still two points in the standings, and I don’t think we’re going to give those back, correct?  So while it’s not correct, I think, to call that win an act of divine intervention, I do think it fair to say that we may have gotten a little bit of help from beyond.

Raphael is also patron angel of travelers.  Whenever I travel, whether it’s a long Metro ride or a transcontinental plane flight, I always ask for Raphael to watch over me as I travel.  We’re all travelers, in a way, on this long road of life.  Hockey players have to travel a lot in the performance of their jobs.  So, between his assistance with healing and with travel, Raphael would be a very good angel for any hockey team to request assistance from.

Do I really, seriously, one hundred percent genuinely think Archangel Raphael was intervening in last night’s game?  Well, I can’t exactly prove he was, but there’s no way to prove he wasn’t.   But when an injured player returns to the lineup, that’s Raphael’s work.  When a team’s spirits are lifted after a long drought, that’s emotional healing, and hey, there’s that word again.  If you want to stretch the point a bit, you can argue that our offense got fixed…repaired…made better…healed.  And there we are on that concept again.

Canucks at the Phone Booth tomorrow night, and I’ll be there in the usual regalia, weekend warrior in tow.

SIDE RANT BEFORE I GO: I mentioned that Archangel Raphael would be a good angel for an NHL team to ask for help.  I don’t expect any NHL team would ever–at least with a straight face–request assistance from an angel.  I know the Caps don’t list a chaplain in their media guide, and I don’t think that’s because they’re trying to deny they’ve got one.  I’m guessing that they just flat-out don’t have one, and I also suspect that they’re not the only NHL team without one.  My head understands that: with players from all over the world, there will be a lot of faiths–or lack thereof–represented in any given locker room.  My heart doesn’t get that, though: if players are in need of some kind of spiritual support, where do they go?  If there’s no chaplain for the team, they have to go outside the organization.
But that’s something I’m going to save for a slow day.

FOLLOW UP: I know I said previously that we may be moving under the influence of The Star for 25 games.  The Star is about hope in darkness, which I do think we just got a taste of.  And which, I think, we should keep getting for another 24 games, not that we’ll win them all.  But it will be enough, I think, to give us hope.  December 15th, we play in Tampa, and if my previous is true, that’s our first game under The Moon–a time of dreams and uncertainty.  If I’m right, that would run until February 13th, when we play in Atlanta.  That’s when, if I’m right, the influence of The Sun takes over for the rest of the regular season.  So for those of you who may have wanted dates on those predictions, there you go.  I take my crow medium-well.





1. Elisha - August 21, 2008

He is here, I can testify to that. I have heard Raphael and Michael. Warrior and healer. Colors are blue and green. Signs are fluer de lis and sword.

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