February 3, Feast of Saint Blaise
Today is the feast of Saint Blaise, a day on which you may have the chance to have your throat blessed. Blessed candles on February 3, ashes on Ash Wednesday, palms on Palm Sunday, along with holy water, relics, statues, and rosaries, are sacramentals. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines sacramentals as “sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments.” Unlike sacraments, however, they do not confer grace but rather prepare us to receive grace. People are sacramentals, too. We are made in the image and likeness of God, we are blessings to one another, and we are united to Jesus Christ, the First Sacrament.
How can we be a sacramental today? Maybe we’ll be holy water, refreshing another with our kind words of affirmation. Maybe we’ll be palm, waving our praises of God. Maybe we’ll be ashes, letting ourselves be burned up by the fire of the Spirit. Or we may be a candle, lighting the way for someone in darkness.
I love the candle idea, however I think I might have been the St. Blaise candle as I chat with a friend recently diagnosed with larynx cancer. I will be what he needs me to be, he qualifies us to do and be as he needs us. I will be vigilant to be his sign.
Having our throats blessed as a child at Gesu is a great memory. But I never thought of People as sacraments – what a great thought to be Holy Water to others or a Palm. . .