Our first reading today tells us that God is our helper. In his goodness, he has employed countless others to help us as well–the saints and angles and folks here on earth, too. But today we celebrate one of the so-called Fourteen Holy Helpers, one of the 14 saints who in the middle ages were seen to have a very strong influence in a particular area. Today we celebrate St Blaise, the patron of throats. Blaise’s area was the throat. You see, he had been arrested for his faith and was being carried off to jail. While almost there, he came upon a child who was choking on a fishbone. So he cured the child with his prayers. Then, days later, after he had been in a dark prison cell for a while, a friend came to visit and smuggled in two candles. For that reason we use candles on for the traditional throat blessing. In Europe they have another tradition. They eat blessed bread today, since Blaise used to give that to folks with throat problems.