SAINT BLAISE WAS BORN IN SEBASTE, ARMENIA. He became a physician,
but at the same time devoted himself zealously to the practice of
his Christian duties. His virtuous conduct gained for him the esteem
of the Christian clergy and people to such a degree, that he was
ordained and selected bishop of his native city. Henceforth he
devoted himself to ward off the dangers of soul from the faithful,
as he had hitherto been intent on healing their bodily ills. To all,
he was a shining example of virtue.
During the reign of Emperor Licinius a cruel persecution of Christians
broke out. The persecutors directed their fury principally against the
bishops, well knowing that when the shepherd is stricken the flock is
dispersed. Listening to the entreaties of the faithful, and mindful of
the words of Our Lord, “When they shall persecute you in this city, flee
into another” [Matt. 10: 23], St. Blaise hid himself in a cave. But one
day the prefect Agricola instituted a chase, and his party discovered
the holy bishop and brought him before their master.
St. Blaise remained steadfast in the Faith, and by its able confession
and defense attracted the attention of the attendants at his trial. The
cruel tyrant had him bound and tortured with iron combs. After suffering
these torments with great patience and meekness, the Saint was cast into
prison. He was kept there a long time, because the prefect hoped to
exhaust his powers of endurance, and to bring him to sacrifice to the
idols. His jailer permitted the holy bishop to receive visitors in his
prison, and many sick and suffering availed themselves of this privilege.
He cured some of them and gave good advice to others.
One day a mother brought to him her boy, who, while eating, had swallowed a
fishbone, which remained in his throat, and, causing great pain, threatened
suffocation. St. Blaise prayed and made the Sign of the Cross over the boy,
and behold, he was cured. For this reason the Saint is invoked in throat troubles.
At length the holy bishop was again brought before the judge and commanded to
sacrifice to the idols. But he said: "Thou art blind, because thou art not
illuminated by the true light. How can a man sacrifice to idols, when he adores
the true God alone? I do not fear thy threats. Do with me according to thy pleasure.
My body is in thy power, but God alone has power over my soul. Thou seekest
salvation with the idols; I hope and trust to receive it from the only true and
living God whom I adore."
Then the prefect sentenced him to death. St. Blaise was
beheaded, suffering death for the Faith February 3, 316.
Excerpt from The Fourteen Holy Helpters, Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, O.F.M., Tan Books, 1995;
with Imprimatur, Imprimi Potest and Nihil Obstat
SAINT BLAISE gave us a glorious example of
fortitude in the confession of the Faith.
According to the teaching of St. Paul,
confession of the Faith is necessary for our
salvation. He says, "For if thou confess with
thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy
heart that God hath raised Him up from the dead,
thou shalt be saved. For with the heart we
believe unto justice, but with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation" [Rom. 10: 9, 10].
We are, therefore, not permitted to be silent,
much less to agree, when our Faith, and whatever is
connected therewith, as the Sacraments, ceremonies,
priests, etc., are ridiculed and reviled. Parents
especially must be most careful in speaking of these
subjects before their children and servants, and do so
only with due reverence.
On the contrary, we must confess our Faith, and if
necessary, defend it against all attacks. Often one
serious word will suffice to silence a calumniator
of the Faith and cause him to blush. We must confess
our Faith not only in the bosom of our family, but
also in public. We must let our fellow men know
that we are true Catholics, who adhere to our Faith
from conviction, without regard to what others say of
us, or how they judge us, remembering the words of
Our Lord, "Everyone, therefore, that shall confess
Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father
Who is in Heaven" [Matt. 10: 32].
It was remarked above that St. Blaise is the patron
invoked in throat troubles. Therefore the Church, on his
Feast, February 3, gives a special blessing, at which he
prays over those receiving it: "By the intercession of
St. Blaise, bishop and Martyr, may God deliver thee from all
ills of the throat and from all other ills; in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
Do not neglect to receive this blessing, if you have the
opportunity. The blessings of the Church are powerful and
effective, for she is God’s representative on earth. Therefore
her blessing is God’s blessing, and is always effective, except
when we ourselves place an obstacle in its way.
Excerpt from The Fourteen Holy Helpters
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