Saint Blaise, the patron saint of the sick. The life of Saint Blaise is one of Holy Legend, filled with miraculous healings. Today, the Church continues to celebrate the life and intercession of Saint Blaise, in the ritual blessing of throats during Mass. We look to Saint Blaise in times of illness and for healing… But we need remember, as did this holy bishop, that it is not he, nor the ministry of the Church that heals or saves us-- because on their own, neither he nor the Church has such power. It is only through the faith in the power of the Lord whose grace provides comfort to the sick, through the Holy Spirit, that we are able to be blessed and cured. Our health is testimony to the healing love of God, the sacrifice (which all our human suffering is joined to) of Christ, and the graces of the Holy Spirit generously poured forth into our lives!
The Acts of Saint Blaise were recorded approximately 400 years following his death, allowing ample time for the facts of a holy and simple life to become larger than life, yet profoundly inspirational to the devout.
Saint Blaise was born into a rich noble family, likely in Armenia, where he trained as a physician. While the details are unclear, his piety and charity, as well as his ministry to the ill, likely led to his being appointed Bishop of Sebaste (Armenia), shortly after the Edict of Tolerance was passed by the Roman Emperor. While this edict allowed the free religious practices of Christians, the implementation of the edict was slow to arrive in Armenia, and Saint Blaise was at risk of persecution.
Two additional miracles were recounted following his capture and return to the governor. On the way back to town, Saint Blaise was approached by a woman whose only pig had been stolen by a wolf. She and her child were starving without the food the pig would provide. Saint Blaise found the wolf, convincing it to return the pig. The second, and more famous of the miracles, involves a mother and young child as well. As recounted by the faithful, this mother brought her son, who was choking on a bone, to Saint Blaise, who commanded the bone from his body, saving his life. This is why, even today, Saint Blaise is looked to as intercessor for those with throat ailments. He is also regarded as the patron saint of wild animals.
Saint Blaise is regarded as one of the 14 Holy Helpers of the Church, a set of martyrs known for their intercessions for the sick or troubled. At least four miracles have been reported at his shrine.
We pray for the intercession of Saint Blaise during times of illness. We also implore his blessing during the ritual blessing of the throats once a year. But we need remember, as did this holy bishop, that it is not he, nor the ministry of the Church that heals or saves us-- because on their own, neither he nor the Church has such power. It is only through the faith in the power of the Lord whose grace provides comfort to the sick, through the Holy Spirit, that we are able to be blessed and cured. Our health is testimony to the healing love of God, the sacrifice (which all our human suffering is joined to) of Christ, and the graces of the Holy Spirit generously poured forth into our lives!
Invocation of St. Blaise
St. Blaise, 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.
My Lord and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.
Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen