Today is the feast of St. Blaise, venerated in both the eastern and western Church, and one of my favorites of the year. St. Blaise is patron of illnesses and afflictions of the throat, and so on his feast day each year, you can get your throat blessed at daily Masses. The priest holds a crossed pair of candles in front of your throat and says a little prayer, asking for the intercession of St. Blaise. It admittedly sounds a bit odd, but then, so do most things involving saints. Remember what I said about saints having strange back stories and hideously torturesome deaths? Right, this is no exception.
Apparently St. Blaise was a bishop in Armenia and a known healer - ok, not so odd. But he also tended to wild animals and regularly spoke to them, trying to convince them not to harm each other - odd. He was martyred by beheading, which came only after he was tortured with "iron carding combs." ?! I don't even want to know what that means. All I can say is - poor St. Blaise.
This morning I got up and duitifully prayed Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours while Hank watched a show on Noggin. Already, I managed to screw up. I read the regular Tuesday morning prayer for this week in the psalter, not the good stuff about St. Blaise from the Proper of Saints. I'm trying, I really am.