Saint Blase was born at Sebaste, in Armenia, of which place he was subsequently appointed bishop, on the solicitation of the people, and suffered martyrdom in 316, during the persecution under Licinius. This saint wrought many miracles, and is yet invoked in dangerous diseases of the throat, because he saved the life of a rich widow’s son, who had nearly died in consequence of swallowing a fish-bone. The Church accordingly sanctions a special blessing of throats on his day. Holding the blessed candles near the throat, in the form of a cross, the priest says:
“Through the merits and intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, God deliver thee from all diseases of the throat, and preserve thee from every other evil. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
If we take part in this pious custom of the Church, we should, above all, consider that while we unite our supplications with the prayers of the Church, to be preserved from bodily illness, we ought to guard our souls against sin, particularly sins of the tongue and of the palate, as being more dangerous ills than any that can afflict our bodies.
O God, Who givest us joy by the annual solemnity of Saint Blase, Thy holy bishop and martyr, mercifully grant us, in the fulness of Thy love, that we may rejoice in the protection of him whose festival we today joyfully celebrate. Through Christ our Lord, etc. Amen.