Oil dedicated to St Raphael on prayer cloth
Oil dedicated to 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. Raphael’s name means “God heals.” 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.
Disguised as a human in the Book of Tobit, Oil dedicated to St 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.
He 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.
Archangel Raphael is inferred in the Gospel of John
St. Raphael is the patron saint of travelers, the blind, bodily ills, happy meetings, nurses, physicians and medical workers. He is often pictured holding a staff and either holding or standing on a fish. His feast day is celebrated on September 29, along with St. Michael and St. Gabriel.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person applies the oil and blesses themselves. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Applying the oil while praying are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.