Sunday, March 9, 2014

I Give You My Blessing

“As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing to the world. This is the common task awaiting us. It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews, to first be a blessing to one another.”

These words of Pope John Paul remind us that we are all called to bless others, to be a benediction to others, and that which promotes well being is our common task.

A rector of one of our seminaries, in his book I Give You My Blessing, puts it this way"The first step is to realize who we are. Like standing before a mirror to check our outward appearance, we need to spend time before the mirror of our inner self, acknowledging who we are in thought, feelings and actions." The book wants us all to take time in silence to open our hearts and to be open to the blessings we are receiving. 

In Korea it has been the custom for centuries, he says, to wish others at the holidays, blessings. This has begun to disappear, replaced by complaints and backbiting. It is precisely here that we need to hear the words of blessing. In giving the blessing we are activating the blessings we have already received in the past.

The book is divided into three chapters: Know, Believe and Love, each one showing concretely the way they manifest the life of blessings. We need the  mirror of God to see ourselves as we are, to rid ourselves of the excess packaging we have acquired over a lifetime. When we have an understanding of our real value, then we will gain strength and our hope is made stronger. 

He encourages us to give as often as possible our blessing to others: those we love, those we don't, those we need to forgive, and not forgetting whenever we leave the presence of others to give them our blessing. In Korea, the younger person has cultural difficulties in blessing an older person, but the book makes clear that it's not because the younger person cannot but simply because of his inability to surmount the cultural conditioning.

There are many things like this that we should be doing but don't. Many are sick who would welcome being visited, and our troubling relationships with others might be improved if we paid more attention to them. We need to set aside more time, the book urges us, to focus on the many ways we can share the blessings received from God with all those who have come into our lives to share their lives with ours.  

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