But there's nothing like the history of our Saints to give you some fresh perspective on your pity party.
Blessed Feast of St. Blaise.
We know that Bishop Blaise was martyred in his episcopal city of Sebastea, Armenia, in 316. The legendary Acts of St. Blase were written 400 years later. According to them Blaise was a good bishop, working hard to encourage the spiritual and physical health of his people. Although the Edict of Toleration (311), granting freedom of worship in the Roman Empire, was already five years old, persecution still raged in Armenia. Blaise was apparently forced to flee to the back country. There he lived as a hermit in solitude and prayer, but made friends with the wild animals. One day a group of hunters seeking wild animals for the amphitheater stumbled upon Blaise’s cave. They were first surprised and then frightened. The bishop was kneeling in prayer surrounded by patiently waiting wolves, lions and bears.
As the hunters hauled Blaise off to prison, the legend has it, a mother came with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blaise’s command the child was able to cough up the bone.
Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia, tried to persuade Blaise to sacrifice to pagan idols. The first time Blaise refused, he was beaten. The next time he was suspended from a tree and his flesh torn with iron combs or rakes. (English wool combers, who used similar iron combs, took Blaise as their patron. They could easily appreciate the agony the saint underwent.) Finally he was beheaded.
I didn't know much about St. Blaise and I must say, I am impressed.
Practicing Catholics are familiar with St. Blaise because it's the day we get our throats blessed. My fondest memory of St. Blaise Day is from high school. My friend Meg and I walked from school to St. Margaret's Church to get our throats blessed. The Church was crowded and in our boredom and impatience we were whispering and being silly as we waited for our turns to kneel at the Altar rail. The Monsignor did not suffer fools gladly and told us to knock it off.
Finally our turn came and we knelt down in the line that stretched the entire way across the Altar rail at the front of the Church. When he came by, he skipped over us and of course right back we went to whispering and laughing. We waited for him to make his way back to us whereupon he declined to bless our throats again. We began laughing so hard we totally lost our composure. Unable to regain it, we stumbled out of the Church.
Meg and I enjoy this memory among the many mischievous things we got ourselves into that ultimately enriched our lives. I said a prayer for the Monsignor today for the valuable lesson about reverence that did not escape us.
St. Blaise, as your enemies tore at your flesh, the wolves, lions and bears rested peacefully by your feet as you prayed. Send help. :O)