Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Blaising throats!

Today is the feast day of St. Blaise (d. 316), the legendary wonder-worker and martyr of the early church. May also be spelled Blase, but I'm always afraid it makes him sound like the patron of ennui and French writers.

In addition to his faith, to which he was true through torture and to beheading---being a bishop of Christ in Armenia was not illegal anymore at the time, but was about as safe as being a bishop of Christ in Iraq right now---Blaise was known for a miraculous Heimlich maneuver of his time. When a boy was choking to death on a bone, he commanded the child to cough it up, and that was enough to save the boy's life. For this he is honored as the patron of throat ailments. American Catholics are said to be particularly fond of the annual Blessing of the Throats on his feast day, a blessing to ask the Lord for protection against illness.

Here is where we invite the troll to comment You chritsjerks ar so stupid blessng throts y not just eat som frog entrials maybe get a flue shot dumasses. And thank you for stepping up to the plate, Mr. Strawman!

To a truly ignorant ruminant of the troll variety, the Blessing of the Throats might seem rather superstitious compared to taking a CDC-approved flu shot. Of course, being that the main influenza virus expected to arrive this year was not the one that did, you might be better off with the Blessing of the Throats---if you had to choose one. The Church is all for you getting your flu shot, and most communicants for the Blessing will probably also have gotten a shot. I don't know if someone's telling you to avoid vaccinations, but it isn't the Church.

The Blessing asks for God's help, it doesn't force Him to do it. Asking God for help is not superstition. Wearing two candles strapped to your throat in the belief that they will repel viruses is superstition. Let me know if you see a Catholic doing that.

As for me, I never got around to getting my flu shot and I skipped the Blessing. So I guess I'm doomed either way. Send chicken soup just in case. Or money. I'll buy my own soup.

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