Saturday, February 8, 2014

Catechesis on Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, by Rev. Ronald W. Check

Monday was the Feast of St. Blaise, about whom we know very little.   We have only this very brief entry in the Martyrologium Romanum: Sancti Blasii, episcopi et martyris, qui pro christiano nomine Sabaste in Armenia passus est sub Licino imperatore. … [Feast of] St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, who suffered for the name of Christ in Sabaste in Armenia under the Emperor Licinus.

That "pro Christiano nomine" probably needs to be rendered as "for the name of Christ" along the lines of rendering dies dominica or oratio dominica as, respectively, "the Lord’s Day = Sunday" or "the Lord’s Prayer".  It is entirely possible, of course, just to keep it literal and say, "for the Christian name", which would be pretty much the same thing in the balance. 

Either way, he was killed because as a Christian Blaise professed belief in Christ.

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

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.

We can take away from this prayer the serious message that life is often 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”.

Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr,
may God free you from illness of the throat and from any other sort of ill.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

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