24 March is the traditional feast day of the Archangel Gabriel, you know, on the Vigil of the Annunciation, 25 March. His name in Hebrew, גַּבְרִיאֵ֕ל, means God-is-my-Warrior. In two verses in Daniel 10:13.21 we see that Saint Michael the Archangel “helps” Saint Gabriel the Archangel. Question: If one helps the other, which one is greater? You could see that both ways. Wrong question. They are both Archangels, both so different from each other, it being that they are spiritual beings. It’s just the wrong question. However, their names tell us something about their roles. Raphael = God’s doctor. Michael = Who is like unto God. Gabriel = God is my Warrior.
Many think of Michael as the warrior, and he is that. But it just seems to me that Gabriel is the epitome of warriorship. The reason for this is that it’s he who’s chosen to announce to Mary that she is to be the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, you know, because she is The Warrior after Jesus her Divine Son.
She is singled out in Genesis 3:15 as the one who goes up against Satan. God, speaking to Satan, says: “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman [the Mother of the Redeemer].” Only after this does God say that He will but enmity between Satan’s followers and “her seed” (her Offspring, Jesus and those who belong to Him). Since she is be The Warrior, The Queen Mother, Queen of angels and men, Saint Gabriel must be the one who is at the head of all the heavenly armies.
Fra Angelico, artist of the image above, seems to have had a progression in his very many representations of the Annunciation, though I haven’t researched the dates for each. But I’m imagining that he starts with Gabriel standing and ends with him fully taking a knee. And that’s only right, for in the next seconds he will be in the presence of the Eternal Word Incarnate, before whom all take a knee, in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth.
But more. Just my imagination. I imagine Gabriel coming in from fierce battle to announce to his Queen, the Leader of the Heavenly Hosts, that God Himself, as The Warrior who is to crush Satan completely, is to be conceived and borne of herself. She is The Warrior by way of her maternity of the Head of the Body and us, the members of the one Body of Christ.
In the far upper left… is that Michael we see, chasing fallen Adam and his wife out of paradise? Yes, I think it is. Even while Gabriel is getting ready for the announcement of the true Eve, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of Jesus.