After Candlemas, beginning again with Thomas Merton’s journal from 1963 to 1965, Dancing in the Waters of Life, notes made reflecting the turbulent ’60s, the unrest over Vietnam and civil rights in the South, the opening days of Vatican II. While Merton at Gethsemane was reading St Anselm, Karl Barth, Baker’s The Inner Life of Dame Gertrude More, praising her ‘free and courageous spirituality’.
Each morning after prayer and meditation, a page or two of Merton before I begin the day, household chores, gardening, walking dogs, and before I get to the writing and editing. Then making time for the Office (easier some days than others) and staying with what comes up.
Pausing a moment to consider St Blaise who was a physician and bishop in Armenia (now Turkey), associated with protecting wild animals and healing throat diseases, two candles pressed to the throat.
“According to the Acts, while Blaise was being taken into custody, a distraught mother, whose only child was choking on a fishbone, threw herself at his feet and implored his intercession. Touched at her grief, he offered up his prayers, and the child was cured. Consequently, Saint Blaise is invoked for protection against injuries and illnesses of the throat.
In many places on the day of his feast the blessing of St. Blaise is given: two candles are consecrated, generally by a prayer, these are then held in a crossed position by a priest over the heads of the faithful or the people are touched on the throat with them. At the same time the following blessing is given: “May Almighty God at the intercession of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, preserve you from infections of the throat and from all other afflictions”. Then the priest makes the sign of the cross over the faithful.”