In the seminary during vacation time, we went to different areas of the country for on-the-spot mission experience. During that time one of the priests we worked with urged parents to bless their children and one another with the laying on of hands, a practice we were all familiar with. To bless is a way of sharing in a loving way with another, and we should probably be receiving and giving blessings more than we are accustomed to do. A priest-columnist of the Catholic Times recounts his experience in receiving a blessing.
When blessing, we have the opportunity to humble ourselves, to trust and to rid ourselves of negativity, believing that we can be better than we are, a conduit of God's many gifts, and thankful for the opportunity to receive what we are about to bestow.
On entering his favorite coffee shop recently, the columnist saw the owner on his knees before a woman who was giving him a blessing. He was interested in what was going on and asked the owner, who he knows well, what prompted the blessing. It was a blessing for purification, the owner said, and introduced the woman, a Catholic, who told him she wanted to impart to the owner her feelings of sincerity and desired by her blessing to unleash the same feelings that were now hidden within the owner.
Moved by what she said, the columnist asked for a similar blessing. The woman felt that the priest was not in need of such purification and courteously refused, but with the continual importuning of the columnist, telling her of his difficult personality, which made life difficult for those he lived with, she gave her blessing. From that day on, he felt changed and gave several examples.
He took time from his work schedule to clean the corridors of the monastery where he lives. At the request of one of his fellow priests, without a word of displeasure, he went into the kitchen to prepare noodles and later, while washing the dishes, was aware that he washed them differently than he would have before the time of the blessing; it was, he felt, a small step toward holiness.
Striving for sincerity in all his actions had triggered a purification that affected how he behaved with others. There were fewer concerns about himself and more about the needs of others. He urges his readers, and hopefully all of us, to bless and be blessed.