To Live Under the Blessing
I think if I have heard it once since our son was married, I have heard this phrase a thousand x.
Luch, you and Rosetta are so blessed!
As I think about what people mean by that is, ‘Luch, you are SO lucky.’
As much as I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t think I am more blessed or lucky than anyone else, but I do think, I have ‘chosen’ to live by His blessing rather than against it.
My favourite spiritual mentor hands down, Fr Henri Nouwen, says the following about blessings AND cursing.
And it seems to be written out of what the Jewish scriptures teach.
Deuteronomy 30:19This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
Without realising, we tend to curse ourselves. That cannot be so. That must be a joke. For who in his right senses would want to curse himself. Yet, unconsciously, we curse ourselves often. How can that be so? See how Father Henri Nouwen explains about blessings and curses: “It is an on going temptation to think of our lives as living under a curse. The loss of a friend, an illness, an accident, a natural disaster, a war, or any failure can make us quickly think that we are no good and are being punished. This temptation to think of our lives as full of curses is even greater when all the media present us day after day with stories about human misery. Jesus came to bless us, not to curse us. But we must choose to receive that blessing and hand it on to others. Blessings and curses are always placed in front of us. We are to choose. God says, ‘Choose the blessings!’” (Bread for the Journey, Sept ) “To bless means to say good things. We have to bless one another constantly. Parents need to bless their children, children their parents, husbands their wives, wives their husbands, friends their friends. In our society, so full of curses, we must fill each place we enter with our blessings. We forget so quickly that we are God’s beloved children and allow the many curses of our world to darken our hearts. Therefore, we have to be reminded of our belovedness and remind others of theirs. Whether the blessing is given in words or with gestures, in a solemn or an informal way, our lives need to be blessed lives.” (Bread for the Journey, Sept 7)
So, we bless ourselves:
· When we give thanks with a grateful heart.
· When we bless our family and others
· When we listen to the quiet, inner voice that says good things about ourselves.
· When we affirm ourselves and know that we have given the best of ourselves in whatever we have worked on.
· When we shut out the loud, busy outer voice that says we are being punished.
We bless others:
· When we speak good things about them and to them.
· When we show by our gestures that their presence is a joy to us.
· When we reveal to them their gifts, their goodness and their talents.
I think many of us might want to stop ‘hoarding the blessing’ and share it lavishly in spirit of Fr Henri’s words.
I am fascinated that many who say they are ‘believers’ have a hard time expressing blessing to another, while so called ‘non believers’(tragic expression) express blessing freely especially if they’ve never experienced it.