By Fr Jim Cogley
St. Blaise was a 4th Century Bishop of Sebastia at a time when one of the great Christian persecutions was taking place. Close to the end of his life and while on his way to be martyred a woman cried out in anguish for him to save her son who was choking to death from a fishbone stuck in his throat. This he duly did and the boy survived. It seems remarkable that a little gesture of healing towards a young boy with a fish bone should still be remembered 1600 years later. The significance of the blessing of throats has to be that it reminds us that a vital part of the Church’s mission is healing not just of spirit but also of soul and body. Almost every week we hear of the miracle stories of Jesus, which are nearly all about healing. Isn’t it strange that the sacrament of healing became known as Extreme Unction and for so long was administered only when you were about to expire? Does it just show how far removed we came from the real message and the power of Jesus who came to bring healing and wholeness. How could we have settled for a form of religion that had become so devoid of power?