The holy martyr Blaise was born in the province of Cappadocia. From his early childhood, he was God-fearing and meek. Because of his great virtues, he was chosen as bishop of the city of Sebaste [in Armenia]. Blaise was a great spiritual and moral beacon in the pagan city. During a grave persecution of Christians, St. Blaise encouraged his flock and visited martyrs of Christ in prison. Foremost among them was the eminent and glorious Eustratius. When the city of Sebaste was completely emptied of Christians– some were slain, others fled– the elderly Blaise withdrew to Mount Argeos and settled there in a cave. Wild beasts recognized the holy man and gathered around him. But the persecutors found the saint even in this remote place and brought him to trial. Along the way, Blaise cured a young boy who had a bone caught in his throat. At the plea of a poor widow whose pig was snatched by a wolf, the saint, by the power of his prayer, made the wolf return it. The sinister judges tortured Blaise severely, flogging him and scraping him with an iron comb. By his steadfastness in the Christian Faith, Blaise converted many pagans to the Faith. Seven women and two children languished in prison with him. The women were beheaded first, and afterward the wonderful Blaise was beheaded with the two children. He suffered and was glorified in the year 316.
You shared in the apostles’ way of life and succeeded to their throne, divinely inspired bishop. You found access to contemplation in the active life. Therefore, you rightly taught the word of truth and struggled for the faith to the shedding of your blood. O Priest Martyr Blaise, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.
O God-bearing Blaise, you were a holy plant, an unfading flower, and a fertile vine in the vineyard of Christ. Fill with joy the hearts of those who celebrate your memory with fervor and never cease to intercede for all of us.
1 Corinthians 10: 23-29
Brothers and sisters: “All things are lawful,” but not all are advantageous. “All things are lawful” – which does not mean that everything is constructive. No man should seek his own interest but rather that of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the market without raising any Question of conscience. [Scripture says,] “The earth and its fullness are the Lord’s.” If an unbeliever invites you to his table and you want to go, eat whatever is placed before you, without raising Question of conscience. But if someone should say to you, “This was offered in idol worship,” do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who called attention to it and on account of the conscience issue – not your own conscience but your neighbor’s.
Luke 21: 5-8, 25-27, 33-36
The Lord said: “Take care not to be misled. Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he’ and [they will also say] ‘The time is at hand.’ Do not follow them. Neither must you be perturbed when you hear of wars and insurrections. These things are bound to happen first, but the end does not follow immediately.”
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish, distraught at the roaring of the sea and the waves. Men will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the earth. The powers in the heavens will be shaken. After that, men will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with great power and glory.
“The heavens and the earth will pass away, but my words will not pass. Be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares. The great day will suddenly close in on you like a trap. The day I speak of will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth. So be on the watch. Pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect, and to stand secure before the Son of Man.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
Brothers and sisters: We would have you be clear about those who sleep in death; otherwise you might yield to grief, like those who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, God will bring forth with him from the dead those who have fallen asleep believing in him. We say to you, as if the Lord himself had said it, that we who live, who survive until his coming, will in no way have an advantage over those who have fallen asleep. No, the Lord himself will come down from heaven at the word of command, at the sound of the archangel’s voice and God’s trumpet; and those who have died in Christ will rise first. Then we, the living, the survivors, will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Therefore we shall be with the Lord unceasingly.
John 5: 24-30
The Lord said: “I solemnly assure you, the man who hears my word and has faith in him who sent me possesses eternal life. He does not come under condemnation, but has passed from death to life. I solemnly assure you, an hour is coming, has indeed come, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who have heeded it shall live. Indeed, just as the Father possesses life in himself, so has he granted it to the Son to have life in himself. The Father has given over to him power to pass judgment because he is Son of Man; no need for you to be surprised at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in their tombs shall hear his voice and come forth. Those who have done right shall rise to live; the evildoers shall rise to be damned. I cannot do anything myself. I judge as I hear, and my judgment is honest because I am not seeking my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Saturday, February 11 –