Raphael means "God heals." Raphael heals physical, emotional and spiritual problems, and is sometimes known as the "divine physician." Raphael is believed to have healed Abraham after his circumcision. Raphael also healed Jacob when he dislocated his hip after wrestling with an angel.
Raphael is usually pictured holding a fish. This is the fish that Tobias caught while travelling to Media with Raphael. Raphael told him to cut out the fish's heart, liver and gall. Tobias, who did not know his travelling companion was Raphael, queried this strange request. The man told him that smoke made from the heart and liver would exorcise evil spirits, and the gall would restore the sight of someone with white film in his eyes. The trip was a success. Tobias was paid the money he was owed; he found a bride, and Raphael taught him how to use the smoke from the heart and liver to exorcise the demon inside his bride. On returning home, Raphael showed him how to use the gall to restore his father's eyesight. Only then did Raphael identify himself.
As a result of his journey with Tobias, Raphael became known as the protector of travellers. He has an excellent sense of humour, and is a good travelling companion. This is why he is often depicted as a pilgrim, wearing a hat, and carrying a walking stick and a gourd containing either water or medicine. Raphael is both a teacher and a healer. He taught Tobias how to heal his father. He teaches us how to heal ourselves from the self-inflicted wounds we create through our actions. He also heals the wounds of all mankind and has been called the Guardian Angel of Humanity. According to Jewish legend, Raphael helped Noah gain the knowledge he needed to build his ark. After the flood subsided, he gave Noah a medical book. Raphael helped King Solomon build his great temple. God gave Raphael a special ring to give to Raphael. This ring enabled Solomon to command thousands of demons to help finish the temple. This magic ring contained a pentagram, or five-sided star, on the seal. As a result of this, the pentagram became one of the first medical symbols. It is likely that Raphael was the angel who entered the pool at Bethesda. The first person to enter the water at this famous healing center after the angel had disturbed it was instantly cured of whatever disease he had (John 5:2-4). Raphael features in John Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost. During the course of a conversation, Adam asked Raphael if angels have sex. Raphael blushed as he explained that angels enjoy spiritual sex. Raphael (1483-1520), the famous Italian artist, was named after the archangel, and painted him twice. In one of these, Raphael presents the infant Tobias to the Virgin Mary, who has the infant Jesus in her arms. Tobias is holding a small fish. In 1918, an English nurse named Joy Snell wrote a book called The Ministry of Angels. In it she described how she regularly saw Raphael at the heads of seriously ill patients. Whenever she saw him, she knew the patient would recover.