Angels are known throughout the Bible and Apocryphal works. Most famous are Michael and Gabriel. However, another Archangel that is often overlooked is Raphael. The name “Michael” means, roughly, “he who is like God”. The name “Gabriel” means “my champion is God”. The name “Raphael” means “God heals”. The role of Raphael is different from the other Archangels.
He is an agent of healing. St. Raphael is one of the seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord, and one of the only three mentioned by name in the Bible. He appears, by name, only in the Book of Tobit. This identity came about because of the Biblical story that claims he "healed" the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels in the apocryphal book of Enoch. In another intervention, disguised as a human in the Book of Tobit, Raphael refers to himself as "Azarias the son of the great Ananias" and travels alongside Tobit's son, Tobiah. Once Raphael returns from his journey with Tobiah, he declares to Tobit that he was sent by the Lord to heal his blindness and deliver Sarah, Tobiah's future wife, from the demon Asmodeus. It is then that his true healing powers are revealed and he makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord". (Tobit 12:15.) The demon Asmodeus killed every man Sarah married on the night of the wedding, before the marriage could be consummated. Raphael guided Tobiah and taught him how to safely enter the marriage with Sarah. Raphael is credited with driving the evil spirit from Sarah and restoring Tobit's vision, allowing him to see the light of Heaven and for receiving all good things through his intercession.
In the New Testament, the Gospel of John speaks of the pool at Bethesda, where many ill people rested, awaiting the moving of the water. "An angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under" (John 5:1-4). Because of the healing powers often linked to Raphael, the angel spoken of is generally associated with St. Raphael, the Archangel.
Scholar W. Hopler writes; Saint Raphael the Archangel serves as the patron saint of healing. Unlike most saints, Raphael was never a human being who lived on Earth. Instead, he has always been a heavenly angel. He was declared a saint in honor of his work helping humanity.
As one of God's leading archangels, Raphael serves people who need to heal in body, mind, and spirit. Raphael also helps people in health professions, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and counselors. He is also a patron saint of young people, love, travelers, and people seeking protection from nightmares. People often pray for Raphael's help in healing their bodies from illnesses and injuries. Raphael clears away toxic spiritual energy that has harmed people's physical health, promoting good health in every area of the body. Stories of miracles resulting from Raphael's intervention span the full range of physical healing. These include major improvements like better function for major organs (such as the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, eyes, and ears) and recovered use of injured limbs. They also include everyday health improvements like relief from allergies, headaches, and stomachaches.
Raphael also heals people's minds and emotions by working with God's Spirit to help change people's thoughts and feelings. Believers often pray for help from Raphael to recover from mental and emotional suffering. Raphael can help people change the way they think and feel about other persistent problems in their lives that they need to figure out how to navigate wisely, such as relationships with difficult people and challenging life circumstances that linger, like unemployment. Through Raphael's help, people can get new ideas that can lead to healing breakthroughs in situations like these. Since Raphael's ultimate focus is to help people grow closer to God, the source of all healing, Raphael is especially interested in spiritual healing, which will last for eternity. Spiritual healing involves overcoming sinful attitudes and actions that hurt people and alienate them from God. Raphael can bring sins to people's attention and motivate them to confess those sins to God. This great healing angel can also help people learn how to replace the unhealthy behaviors of those sins with healthy behaviors that move them closer to God. Saint Raphael the Archangel, the patron saint of healing, intervenes to heal people from any type of brokenness and pain in the earthly dimension and looks forward to welcoming them to lives in heaven, where they won't need to be healed of anything anymore because they will live in perfect health as God intends.
Overall, Raphael is a true servant of God. He is the patron of healing, among other aspects. His actions can be dramatic or subtle. He works through human resources or on his own accord. However, Raphael’s actions are always performed under the authority of the will and plan of God.