Today is the feast of Saint Blaise, a day on which you may have the chance to have your throat blessed. Blessed candles on February 3, ashes on Ash Wednesday, palms on Palm Sunday, along with holy water, relics, statues, and rosaries, are sacramentals. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines sacramentals as “sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments.” Unlike sacraments, however, they do not confer grace but rather prepare us to receive grace. People are sacramentals, too. We are made in the image and likeness of God, we are blessings to one another, and we are united to Jesus Christ, the First Sacrament.
How can we be a sacramental today? Maybe we’ll be holy water, refreshing another with our kind words of affirmation. Maybe we’ll be palm, waving our praises of God. Maybe we’ll be ashes, letting ourselves be burned up by the fire of the Spirit. Or we may be a candle, lighting the way for someone in darkness.