Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ailments of the Throat

Early in my conversion I fell in love with the saints. I was inspired and fascinated with the examples of virtue. I grew in my faith by leaps and bounds as I learned more and more about the Church Triumphant. When my kids were born, I was determined these holy people would be their heroes. We would read about them, learn about them, use them as constant intercessors. Naturally, some saints became family patrons. St. Joseph, St. Therese, St. Frances of Rome, and many more. All of our children are named for saints we hope they will emulate.

This Thursday is the feast of St. Blaise. As a long time sinus sufferer, sore throats have been a common occurrence for me especially in this Midwest climate with weather that goes up and down. For many years, we received his throat blessing with beautiful blessed candles (I love the candles intertwined). For those unfamiliar with St. Blaise, he is the patron of throat ailments, he received this distinction because he cured a boy choking on a fish bone. On his feast the following blessing is given by priests:

May God at the intercession of St. Blasius preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil.

While I was familiar with St. Blaise and received the blessing, I didn't make much of it. I didn't really find myself asking the intercession of St. Blaise on the occasion I had a sore throat.

Then a few years ago it occurred to me that I had a bigger throat issue than the occasional post nasal drip. That the physical suffering was small in comparison to the spiritual suffering I was enduring, and inflicting on others, by the things I said. That in reality I was much more ailed by a sharp tongue than a sharp fish bone.

Now on this beautiful feast I not only ask to be preserved from physical ailments of the throat, but also to be preserved from the uncharitable, unkind, sharp words that well up in my throat. I recommit myself, with the help of St. Blaise's intercession, to work harder at making sure my throat and words are used to help others and myself grow in faith. To be certain, I will fail before the day is out, but I now see this feast as a necessary tool in my battle to tame my tongue.

O glorious St. Blaise, who by your martyrdom left to the Church a precious witness to the Faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend — without concern for human respect — both by word and example, the truth of that same Faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. You miraculously restored a little child who was at the point of death because of an affliction of the throat.

Grant us your mighty protection in similar misfortunes. And, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification, together with faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which keep us from offending almighty God. Amen.

**Updated to add: I must really need this lesson this year for just after I posted this, I clicked my way to this post.

Doesn't this sound a lot like me: "we have learned to tame just about every wild animal, but the tongue, such a small part of us physically is barely able to be tamed. One may conquer many sins by God’s grace, but speech is usually the last. It almost seems that a different and lower part of our brain has a life of its own when it comes to speech. We can be halfway through saying something before we even realize how stupid and sinful we are being. Every now and then we even forget who we’re talking to or that what we say might get repeated." Do read the full post by Msgr. Pope

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