Sunday, January 31, 2010

St. Blaise, February 3rd

The Specifics:

Born: 3rd century AD, Armenia

Died: c. 316

Feast: February 3rd

Symbolism: Wool comb, candles, tending a choking boy or animals

Patronage: Animals, builders, choking, veterinarians, throats, infants, Maratea, Italy, Sicily, Dalmatia,
Dubrovnik, Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, Rubiera, stonecutters, carvers, wool workers

History: The scholarly description of the life of St. Blaise can be found here, at the Ca
tholic Encyclopedia (1917)

Miscellaneous: One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

In A Nutshell: Though we know few details about the life of Saint Blaise, it is generally believed he was a bishop of Sebastea in Armenia, martyred under the reign of Licinius in the early fourth century.

The legend, going back to the eighth century tells us thatSt. Blaise was born in to a rich and noble family who raised him as a Christian. A new persecution of Christians began shortly after he became a bishop and it is related that he received a message from God to go into the hills to escape persecution. Men hunting in the mountains discovered St. Blaise in a cave curing the illnesses of wild animals. His place of refuge and his identity discvered, St. Blaise was captured and taken back for trial. On the way, the legend tells that he talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman and before his execution, he cured a child choking to death on a bone.

Blaise is the patron saint of wild animals and of those with throat maladies.

Throat Blessings
The tradition of having throats blessed on the Feast of St. Blaise goes back centuries.  After Mass on the Feast of St. Blaise (and oftentimes on the succeeding Sunday, as well), the priest will bless two candles in St. Blaise's honor, as follows:

V. Our help + is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit. Let us pray.

Almighty and most gentle God, Who didst create the multiplicity of things through Thine only Word, and didst will that same Word through Whom all things were made to take flesh for the refashioning of man; Thou, Who art great and without measure, terrible and worthy of praise, a Worker of wonders: the glorious martyr and bishop Blaise, not fearing to suffer all sorts of diverse tortures because of his profession of faith in Thee, was suited happily to bear the palm of martyrdom: and Thou didst grant to him, among other graces, the favor that he should by Thy power cure all kinds of illnesses of the throat: we humbly beg Thy Majesty not to look upon our sins, but to be pleased by his merits and prayers and to deign in Thy venerable kindness to bless + and sanctify + this creature of wax by the outpouring of Thy grace; that all whose necks in good faith are touched by it may be freed by the merits of his sufferings from any illness of the throat, and that healthy and strong they may offer thanks to Thee within Thy Holy Church, and praise Thy glorious name, which is blessed forever and ever. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

R. Amen.

Then, holding two crossed, candles against or near the throat of the Faithful kneeling at the Communion rail, the priest says the following prayer as he blesses each throat:  "Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet to Deus a malo gutteris et a qouvis alio malo." ("May God at the intercession of St. Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil.")  As this blessing is not a "Sacrament," anyone can receive it, children, adults, Catholics, and nonCatholics.


Invocation of St. Blaise
St. BLASE, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior did suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God's grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment. Amen.

Prayer in honor of St. Blaise
O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blaise, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ways to Observe the Feast with Children
(other than going to Mass and having their throats blessed!)

* Since St. Blaise is the patron of throat ailments, you might study the throat and maladies of the throat.
(Of interest might be this article about the effectiveness of honey on throat ailments vs. OTC drugs)

* Since St. Blaise is also the patron of wild animals, you could study the wild animals that live in your area with this regional wildlife guide.

-- Learn how to garden with the wildlife of your neighborhood in mind.

-- Become a backyard naturalist.

* Copy, print, and color this coloring page:

One of the beautiful saints illustrations by Benjamin C. Boulter.