Optional Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr

Media_httpuploadwikim_iuedg

Statue of Saint Blaise, patron saint of Dubrovnik. Image via Wikipedia.

Today the world celebrates the optional memorial of the saint with what is quite possibly the coolest name of all the canonized saints: Blaise. When I first heard of St. Blaise my mind could not help but equate the name to that of Wu-Tang Clan rapper Method Man who sometimes refers to himself as Johnny Blaze. That then led to Johnny Blaze, the alter-ego of the Ghost Rider.

All of this “blazing” made me wonder if this saint was truly one who could be characterized as being “on fire.” Yes, one can say that every saint is an “on fire” Christian but some are more ablaze, or charismatic, that others. From the brief account presented to us by CatholicCulture.org we can really see that St. Blaise truly lives up to the sound of his name.


St. Blaise
St. Blaise was a physician and Bishop of Sebaste, Armenia. He lived in a cave on Mount Argeus and was a healer of men and animals. According to legend, sick animals would come to him on their own for help, but would never disturb him at prayer.

Agricola, governor of Cappadocia, came to Sebaste to persecute Christians. His huntsmen went into the forests of Argeus to find wild animals for the arena games, and found many waiting outside Blaise’s cave. Discovered in prayer, Blaise was arrested, and Agricola tried to get him to recant his faith. While in prison, Blaise ministered to and healed fellow prisoners, including saving a child who was choking on a fish bone; this led to the blessing of throats on Blaise’s feast day.

Thrown into a lake to drown, Blaise stood on the surface and invited his persecutors to walk out and prove the power of their gods; they drowned. When he returned to land, he was martyred by being beaten, his flesh torn with wool combs (which led to his association with and patronage of those involved in the wool trade), and then beheading.

Blaise has been extremely popular for centuries in both the Eastern and Western Churches and many cures were attributed to him, notably that of a child who was suffocating through a fish bone being caught in his throat. In 1222 the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labour in England on his feast. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He is invoked for all throat afflictions, and on his feast two candles are blessed with a prayer that God will free from all such afflictions and every ill all those who receive this blessing.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

It is customary in many places to bless the throats of the faithful with two candles tied together with a red ribbon to form a cross. The rite of the blessing of throats may take place before or after Mass.

The priest or deacon places the candles around the throat of whoever seeks the blessing, using the formula: “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you free from every disease of the throat, and from every other disease. In the name of the Father and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.”

Excerpted from Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year

Patron: Against wild beasts; animals; builders; carvers; construction workers; coughs; Dalmatia; Dubrovnik; goiters; healthy throats; stonecutters; throat diseases; veterinarians; whooping-cough; wool-combers; wool weavers.

Symbols: 2 candles; 2 crossed candles; candle; hermit tending wild animals; iron comb; man healing a choking boy; man with two candles; wax; wool comb.

Things to Do:

  • Take your children to Mass to receive the blessing of throats today.
  • Establish a home altar with the blessed candles (symbols of Saint Blaise) from the feast of the Presentation, February 2.
  • Visit this website and learn more about St. Blaise and how he saved Dubrovnik in Croatia in the 12th century.

via Catholic Culture : Liturgical Year.


Today’s Scripture Readings

First Reading: Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24 (RSV)

Brothers and Sisters:

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers entreat that no further messages be spoken to them. Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.

Psalm: Psalm 48:2-4, 9-11 (NAB)

R. (see 10) O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.

Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.

R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.

Mount Zion, “the recesses of the North,”
the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.

R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.

As we had heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
In the city of our God;
God makes it firm forever.

R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.

O God, we ponder your mercy
within your temple.
As your name, O God, so also your praise
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Of justice your right hand is full.

R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.

Gospel: Mark 6:7-13 (RSV)

And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.” So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s