Friday, February 03, 2012

The Feast of St. Blaise and the Blessing of the Throats

Today is the feast of St. Blaise, the day when we, as Catholics, participate in the beautiful tradition of having our throats blessed. To do this, the priest consecrates two candles, generally by a prayer, and then holds each in a crossed position on the throat of the person being blessed. At the same time the following blessing is given: "Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

I have always enjoyed this day, not only because it is the time of year when I am prone to sore throats, but it shows how the Church is truly concerned with the bodily needs of the person as well as the spiritual needs.

Why does this blessing of the throat take place on the feast of St. Blaise? St. Blaise, a physician and bishop, asked God to cure a child who was choking to death on a fish bone and the child's life was saved. Thus, St. Blaise is the patron saint of healthy throats.

Prayer to Saint Blaise

Dear bishop and lover of souls, you willingly bore heavy crosses in faithful imitation of Jesus. Similarly, with Christ-like compassion you cured many sufferers. Then after undergoing horrible torture, you died as a martyr for Christ. Obtain a cure for these {describe the afflictions} ills if this is agreeable to God. Amen.

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