Tuesday, February 2, 2010


“St. Blaise” by Pacecco De Rosa, c. 1630's


Biographical Information about St. Blase[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Blasé

Readings and Commentary:


Romans 5:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we even boast of onr afflictions,
knowing that affliction produces endurance,
and endurance, proven character,
and proven character, hope,
and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Commentary on
Rom 5:1-5

In this passage St. Paul declares the peace of Christ which flows to the faithful from the Father through Jesus who cast out sin and death for our salvation. The complete acceptance of our earthly station is made possible by the Holy Spirit which flows from the Father and the Son into our hearts.

“Popular piety frequently construed reverses and troubles as punishment for sin; cf John 9:2. Paul therefore assures believers that God's justifying action in Jesus Christ is a declaration of peace. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ displays God's initiative in certifying humanity for unimpeded access into the divine presence. Reconciliation is God's gift of pardon to the entire human race.”[3]

CCC: Rom 5:3-5 2734, 2847; Rom 5:5 368, 733, 1820, 1964, 2658

Psalm 117:1bc,2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples'

R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.

For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.

R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.

Commentary on
Ps 117:1bc,2

“This shortest of hymns calls on the nations to acknowledge God's supremacy. The supremacy of Israel's God has been demonstrated to them by the people's secure existence, which is owed entirely to God's gracious fidelity.” [4] Using a refrain from St. Mark’s Gospel, the psalm is one of praise for the Good News of God’s salvation.


Mark 16:15-20

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

Commentary on
Mk 16:15-20

The verse just prior to this passage, which is the ending of St. Mark’s Gospel, indicates that the disciples are still not sure what has happened (typical of the image we have of the disciples in St. Mark's Gospel). Jesus comes to them at table, rebuking them for their unbelief. That sets the stage for this commissioning address by the Lord. Once again the disciples, now Apostles, are sent into the world with God’s blessing. This action is important because it supports the universal mission of the Twelve. In response to the Lord's instructions the Apostles went into the world, accompanied by the Holy Spirit ("while the Lord worked with them"). They demonstrated the truth that is Christ risen.

CCC: Mk 16:15-16 977, 1223; Mk 16:15 888; Mk 16:16 161, 183, 1253, 1256, 1257; Mk 16:17-18 670, 1507; Mk 16:17 434, 1673; Mk 16:18 699; Mk 16:19 659, 659; Mk 16:20 2, 156, 670

Deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ has an amazing side-effect.  In almost everyone, faith in the Lord gives one the peace he promised his followers when he appeared to them in the upper room.  In many instances, those he chose as instruments of grace, his disciples and those who followed the same call, were also empowered to heal the sick.  This was the grace given to St. Blasé, whom we memorialize on this date.

Born in Armenia in the fourth century, he came to faith during a time of great trials for the Church and her members.  According to tradition, he had the power to heal and because of his great love for God’s creation, animals instinctively knew of his grace and came to him to be healed.  It is said they would not disturb him if he was at prayer.  It was because of this reverence by the animals that he was discovered (huntsmen found animals waiting outside his cave while he prayed). He was taken prisoner and brought to Agricola, governor of Cappadocia who had come to Sebaste to persecute Christians.  While in prison awaiting trial, he healed many who were in prison with him, including a child choking on a fish bone (which is where the blessing of throats originated).  He was martyred, but not before he demonstrated the grace God had given him by walking on water that was intended to drown him.

If he was among us today and confronted with questions about his miraculous ability, he would, no doubt, attribute all his ability to its author, Christ Jesus whom he served and adored.  Centuries later, during the Black Death, he was named one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, perpetuating faith in God’s help in times of need.

On his feast day we thank him, not only for his example of faith in times of great trial, but also for his intercession in the heavenly court.  We ask that he pray for all of us, that we might be firm on our faith and trust in Jesus whose healing love can do miracles.

Catholic Prayer: Roman Ritual: Blessing of Throats on the Feast of St. Blaise [5]


The blessing of throats traces back to the 8th century. This blessing is from the 1964 Roman Ritual translated by Philip T. Weller. The candles used needed this blessing preceding the blessing of the throats.

This is one of the most popular blessings from the Ritual. St. Blaise was bishop of Sebaste in Cappadocia, and was martyred by beheading about A.D. 316. Not much more can be affirmed of him with any degree of historical accuracy, but legends about him are numerous. One day--so goes the legend--Blaise met a poor woman whose only pig had been snatched up in the fangs of a wolf but at the command of the bishop the wolf restored the pig alive to its owner. The woman did not forget the favor, for later, when the bishop was languishing in prison, she brought him tapers to dispel the darkness and gloom. To this story may be attributed the practice of using lighted candles in bestowing the blessing of St. Blaise. While in prison he performed a wonderful cure on a boy who had a fishbone lodged in his throat and who was in danger of choking to death. From this account we have the longtime custom of invoking the Saint for all kinds of throat trouble.


After blessing the candles on the feast of St. Blaise, the priest holds two candles fastened like a cross to the throat of the person kneeling before him, and says:

By the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every malady of the throat, and from every possible mishap; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.

R. Amen.

[1] The picture is “St. Blaise” by Pacecco De Rosa, c. 1630's
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] See NAB footnote on Romans 5:1-11
[4] See NAB footnote on Psalm 117
[5] Prayer Source: Roman Ritual, The, Complete Edition by Philip T. Weller, S.T.D., The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, WI, 1964

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