Memories of our childhood and of family traditions can be a joy and a comfort in this increasingly fast-paced world. But we shouldn’t be slaves to tradition and ritual. Perhaps some of the things we were taught by well-meaning but misinformed parents, teachers, and authority figures weren’t correct or were even harmful.
I was listening to a recent podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show on the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY and they were discussing the feast of St. Blaise, celebrated this past Friday, February 3rd.
Oh, how I looked forward to the feast of St. Blaise when I was a young Catholic grammar school student! It was such a big deal for us Catholic children to get our throats blessed on that day. It seemed to us that Blaise was one of the most important and powerful saints next to Mary because we didn’t make special trips to church for the feast day of any other saint.
At the tail end of the mass on Saint Blaise’s feast day we would all line up at the altar rail. The priest would then place two crossed blessed candles at the throat of each supplicant and say the following formula:
“Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
The supplicant would then respond with an “Amen.”
I enjoyed the ritual of getting my throat blessed every February 3rd but I would inevitably come down with sore throats during the year. My young mind even wondered why there was so much pomp and ritual for the blessing of the throat but not for other parts of the body. Why was that? A few years later, I questioned why we needed to pray to saints for help when it seemed like we should be able to go directly to God in prayer. And then, when I was around eleven, I remember thinking, “If we have to obey the Ten Commandments and church rules to merit Heaven, as the Catholic church teaches, then why did Jesus have to die on the cross?” I wouldn’t have a satisfactory answer to that question until sixteen years later when I realized from God’s Word that we are all sinners and could not possibly merit Heaven. It was then that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.
Blaise doesn’t hear prayers or bless throats. It’s all a man-made tradition. There is only one Mediator between God and man and that is Christ Jesus. Accept Him as your Savior and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise. Traditions, rituals, and ceremonies don’t save. Only Jesus saves!
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 2:5
God’s Word says that “saints” aren’t super duper holy people, like the Catholic church teaches. No, rather saints are all those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith.