3 Feb: St. Blaise and the recognition of danger

Church of San Carlo e Biagio ai Catinari

There are no guarantees of comfort or happiness in life. 

COLLECT:
Exaudi, Domine, populum tuum,
cum beati Blasii martyris patrocinio supplicantem,
ut et temporalis vitae nos tribuas pace gaudere,
et aeternae reperire subsidium.

LITERAL TRANSLATION:
O Lord, graciously hear Your people
begging by means of the patronage of blessed martyr Blaise,
that you grant us to delight in the peace of temporal life
and obtain the protection of eternal life.

I take away from this prayer the serious message that life is dangerous.  The word subsidium means "support, assistance, aid, help, protection" and often in liturgical Latin "help".  Either way, subsidium sets up a stark contrast between the life we have now and the life to come.  Even the phrase about enjoying the peace of this life, indicates subtly how precarious everything is in this earthly existence which Catholics are accustomed to call a "vale of tears".

This is firmed up by another wonderful prayer associated with St. Blaise.  You all know about the blessing of throats on the feast of St. Blaise.  Once upon a time, in the older form of the Rituale Romanum there was a marvelous blessing for the candles used to confer the blessing of throats.  Here it is (my emphasis added).

BLESSING OF CANDLES ON THE FEAST OF ST. BLAISE:
O God most powerful and most kind, Who didst create all the different things in the world by the Word alone, and Whose will it was that this Word by Which all things were made should become incarnate for the remaking of mankind; Thou Who art great and limitless, worthy of reverence and praise, the worker of wonders; for Whose sake the glorious Martyr and Bishop, St. Blaise, joyfully gained the palm of martyrdom, never shrinking from any kind of torture in confessing his faith in Thee; Thou Who didst give to him, amongst other gifts, the prerogative of curing by Thy power every ailment of men’s throats; humbly we beg Thee in Thy majesty not to look upon our guilt, but, pleased by his merits and prayers, in Thine awe-inspiriing kindness, to bless + this wax created by Thee and to sanc + tify it, pouring into it Thy grace; so that all who in good faith shall have their throats touched by this wax may be freed from every ailment of their throats through the merit of his suffering, and, in good health and spirits, may give thanks to Thee in Thy holy Church and praise Thy glorious name, which is blessed for ever and ever.  Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee lives and reigns, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.  R. Amen.

Here is the…

Blessing for throats:
Per intercessionem sancti Blasii, Episcopi et Martyris,
liberet te Deus a malo gutturis, et a quolibet alio malo.
In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti. Amen.

I think I will never forget this formula.  Long ago, as a deacon, I lived at the Church of San Carlo ai Catinari (pictured above), which is also dedicated to St. Blaise.  They have in their possession a relic of St. Blaise, in a crystal placed on a large ring held in the fist of one hand.  This is what they used to bless throasts on this feast.  I was asked by the clergy there to help with blessing the throats of the people who thronged to the church that day.  As sooon as I donned my surplice every other cleric actually attached to the place disappeared and left me there for several hours.  I can’t say how many times I said that formula that day.  I will stop at the church sometime today and see if I can get some photos, even of the relic "in action".

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UPDATE! OKAY!  I went to San Carlo ai Catinari.  Here we go:Relic of St. Blaise at San Carlo ai Catinari

Relic of St. Blaise at San Carlo ai Catinari

 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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One Response to 3 Feb: St. Blaise and the recognition of danger

  1. Henry Edwards says:

    LITERAL TRANSLATION:
    O Lord, graciously hear Your people
    begging by means of the patronage of blessed martyr Blaise,
    that you grant us to delight in the peace of temporal life
    and obtain the protection of eternal life.

    ICEL version
    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 of life that will never end.

    Graciously hear? Begging? Grant us? ICEL will have none of this supplication stuff.