Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Most Memorable St. Blaise Day

I am low. Battles will rarely zap my energy but the spiritual manipulation and willful blindness was demoralizing on this one.

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)


Anonymous said...

Carol, I admire your perseverance and fortitude in continuing to hold your ground through all of this - you have every right to be zapped of energy! A very brave priest (Fr. Sotelo) is also trying to present this situation in a similar light as yours in the comment section of the HLI statement at Lifenews and is also being attacked with remarkable voracity. I am comforted by his words and yours as they tend to validate my feelings in all of this, though I recognize that they come at great expense to those with courage to speak out such as you, Fr. Sotelo, and others. Prayers for all who continue to fight the necessary fight against popular opinion. Thank you. Caren

Anonymous said...

I read Fr. Sotelo's posts with much gratitude. I'm so embarrassed and ashamed of how so many "pro-life" and "conservative" Catholics who consider themselves faithful Christians have been behaving. Don't they understand that although what Fr. Euteneuer has done is heinous (and there are plenty of red flags indicating this fiasco is about much more than one incident--his so-called "apology" statement is full of warning signs that there is still much pride and arrogance going on, as well as total lack of charity), the much more scandalous aspect of this is their strident and shrill defense of the indefensible?

What a turn-off to non-Catholics to see how the so-called "faithful" Catholics are attacking the accusers, impugning the character of the victims, trying to bully people into being quiet with accusations of the grave sins of calumny and detraction, proclaiming that the reason this man "fell" is because he was so holy the devil tempted him more than the rest of us common sinners (by their line of reasoning, all the great villians in history must have been the holiest people of all), and praising this predator to high heaven.

THAT is the biggest scandal of all in this mess. Reasonable people recognize that predators and perpetrators exist in all walks of life. The part of this story that is truly scandalous to non-Catholics is the cover-up and the inhuman defense of the indefensible, all done in the name of so-called Christianity.

The final irony is that this behavior is not even remotely charitable toward Fr. Euteneuer himself. It is likely that all this adulation and fawning flattery is what helped bring about his downfall in the first place--this is why real saints absolutely eschew popularity and adoration. It goes to our heads and leads us into all sorts of trouble. And praising him to high-heaven after the fact, instead of calling him on the carpet for his untruths and the vicious attacks on his accusers he made in his "apology" statement, is not fraternal charity in the least.

Carol McKinley said...

Thank you Caren, Anon.

Thanks for alerting us to that thread. I said a prayer for Father Sotelo (and all those who have spoken up in charity).

I don't mean to be drumming up sympathy for me.

I'm not low over anything said or done to me. I'm low for Our Lord. Low for His Church and for the real victims in this mess who are having salt poured into the wounds.

I put it out there because I know others are feeling the same way and I wanted to verbalize it.

What the culture of secrecy, spiritual manipulation and cult of personlity has bred is right there in that thread in all it's glory.

What a train wreck. One only wishes one had a tomato.

Anonymous said...

Carol, I get it and you do not come across as trying to garner sympathy. Still, it must be very tiring if for no other reason, it's a lot of typing! As to the train wreck, yes indeed! Each day brings a better understanding of the words "narrow gate!" Caren

Anonymous said...

Once I was told by a priest that the Church during the time of St. Dominic and St. Francis was much worse than our present mess. I do not know if this is right, and I have often asked these saints if it is indeed as the Father told me. I have also asked them what they would do and how they would conduct themselves in our present Church. So far, neither one has answered me. I'll let you know if they do, as I continue to pester either one (or both) for an answer.

Anonymous 10:44 is right on.