Saint of the Day ~ February 3

SAINT BLAISE (?-316), bishop and martyr – Patron saint against all diseases of the throat and bodily ailments

Today, the universal Church honors Saint Blaise, a servant of God about whom Christian devotion to this saint is more renowned around the world than we actually know of the man himself.

Blaise was both a physician and a hard-working bishop dedicated to encouraging the spiritual and physical health of his people in Sebaste, Armenia.

Although the Edict of Toleration, which granted freedom of worship in the Roman Empire, had been signed five years prior to Saint Blaise’s death, religious persecution still raged in the country under the Emperor Licinius, and Bishop Blaise was forced to flee to the countryside.

He was eventually captured and, in the year 316, he was beheaded for not sacrificing to the pagan gods. The account of his life was written nearly 400 years later in the “Acts of St. Blaise”.

According to legend, a mother, one day, came to him with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. The bishop ministered to the boy’s needs, and the child coughed up the bone. Over the centuries, this eventually led to the blessing of throats on the feastday of Saint Blaise or on the following Sunday.

His feast is observed as a holy day in some Eastern Churches. In addition, in the year 1222, the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labor in England on the feastday of Saint Blaise. The Germans and Slavs also hold him in special honor; and, for decades, many United States Catholics have sought the annual Saint Blaise blessing for their throats, whereby two blessed candles, tied together with a red ribbon to form a cross, are placed around the throat of whomever seeks the blessing.

A priest or deacon then blesses the throats with the following prayer: “Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you free from every disease of the throat and from every other illness. In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  R. “Amen.”

We commemorate his feastday on February 3.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Blaise)

“Lord, hear the prayers of Your martyr Blaise. Give us the joy of Your peace in this life and help us to gain the happiness that will never end.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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