Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking there is something fundamentally different about those who become saints. While on some level there is, since they have fully accepted God’s grace, on another level saints are ordinary people who did extraordinary things. Today we celebrate Blessed James Miller, a Christian Brother whose decision to stay to serve the children in his care cost him his life. He simply was open to God’s grace. Can we be too?
You may be in a parish who blessed throats this past weekend, or even today. February 3 is the day we celebrate Saint Blaise, and a long tradition in the Catholic Church has associated him with the blessing of throats. This is because of a story told where a mother brought her young boy to Saint Blaise when he was choking on a fish bone. Saint Blaise, who was a physician when he was made bishop, miraculously save the boy. A holy man committed to the faith, when told to renounce his faith, he would not do so. Tortured and killed, his prayers were seen as a powerful protection against diseases of the throat. Perhaps less known was his life as a hermit and a deep man of prayer. The prayer of blessing is this: “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”