“Blessed be God, Blessed be His Holy Name, Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man…” At the conclusion of a Holy Hour, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed and adored, the priest or deacon gives the benediction or blessing upon the people with the most Blessed Sacrament, which is Jesus Himself.
Then, before reposing the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle, the ordained minister invites the people to praise God. St. Ignatius Of Loyola, in the Spiritual Exercises, says that our primary purpose of our existence on earth is to praise God and to save our immortal souls.
In this short essay we would like to invite all to get into the habit of receiving blessings while being a blessing to God, others, and the whole creation with our presence. May your life, words, presence, and actions be a constant blessing on the world now, tomorrow and all the way into eternity.
Various Forms of Blessings in Our Lives
1. Wake Up: Bless God Right Away!
Upon waking, the first thing we should do is to make the Sign of the Cross and bless ourselves: “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Every day, upon awakening, this should be our first gesture and our first words!
The Cure of Ars points out: “He who starts out well will finish well.” Start your day with God’s blessing; live out God’s blessing and end your day praising and blessing God!
2. Meal Time Blessings
We must recover and establish in our homes and lives those beautiful traditions of our parents and grandparents. Though it be a very simple gesture, it is very significant: bless your meals before eating. By doing this, we are expressing God great gratitude for all that He has given to us out of His infinite bounty and goodness.
Also, by blessing the meal with the family, we invite Jesus to sit down at the meal table to be with our family. What a great presence! What a wonderful Guest!
3. Parents Bless Your Children.
Every night parents should form the habit of blessing their children before they retire for the night. Parents are called to be a blessing for their children as well as to bless them. The Father is called to be the priest of the family; therefore, Dad should bless his children every night.
4. A Priestly Blessing
The day after my ordination to the priesthood (May 25, 1986), I had the unique privilege of having the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa sing for my first Mass in our Roman Parish, Sant’ Elena. After the Mass the nuns invited me to their convent which was less than a mile away from our Seminary.
Upon arriving the nuns opened the door and received me and my family with great joy; there were probably close to 70 nuns. From the midst of these nuns a smaller and elderly nun approached me. She knelt down for my blessing. It was Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I wanted to kneel down for her blessing. However, she insisted in kneeling down and begging humbly for my blessing. With fear and trembling, I imparted one of my first priestly blessings to the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Why did this great woman remain kneeling? Faith! She had great faith in the presence and the blessing of Jesus through the presence of the priest. Indeed, even though we as priests are unworthy of such a sublime and lofty calling, God still calls us. We are, in the words of Saint Augustine, alter christus—another Christ, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders imparted in the day of priestly ordination.
5. Blessings of Mass
This being said, we should bow our heads at the end of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and implore the blessings of the Holy Trinity—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—with the priest’s blessing to conclude Mass.
Let us always implore God’s blessings, but especially in the context of the greatest prayer—the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!
6. Benediction of Holy Hour
As mentioned in the introduction of this article, another prime moment to receive the most special of blessings is in the context of the Holy Hour. The Holy Hour concludes with Benediction. The word “Benediction” comes from Latin and actually means blessing! The priest (or Deacon) lifts up the monstrance over the people of God and then imparts the blessing of Jesus. This is the same Jesus who lived 2000 years ago in Galilee. This is the same Jesus who healed the blind, cured the sick, cleansed the lepers, gave strength to the paralytics, and even raised up the dead.
When the priest is imparting this very special blessing of Jesus Himself, we should be very attentive to praise Jesus, thank Jesus, beg Jesus pardon for our sins, and beg Him for the most abundant graces that flow from the depths of our hearts!
7. Getting Religious Objects Blessed
Once we acquire religious articles we should have them blessed by a priest or a deacon as soon as possible. Rosaries, Scapulars, Holy cards, medals, statues, religious paintings of Jesus, Mary and the saints, crosses and water—all of these can be blessed by the priest.
These religious articles, because they have been blessed, should be treated with respect. Carry them on your person—your Scapular, Rosary, religious medal, Holy Cards in your wallet. These religious articles are not good luck charms but reminders of God’s holy presence in your daily walk, in your daily life. We should do all we possibly can in our life to think about God, speak to God and to love God and these are holy reminders. Take advantage of them.
8. The Holy Eucharist
The greatest gesture you can perform on earth is to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receive Holy Communion—the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, the “Holy of Holies”. When you are again able to attend, do this as often as possible to receive the most abundant blessings. The greatest blessing is Jesus Himself!
9. Make Your Life a Blessing for Others
After you have received the Lord Jesus into the very heart of your being, go forth with the ardent desire of a true missionary. Leave with the blessing of God within your heart and bring God’s blessings wherever you go and to whomever you meet and whoever God places in your path. God is the greatest blessing. God has blessed you most abundantly. Now it is time for you to be a constant blessing on the whole world. Blessed be you! Be a blessing for others!
10. The Blessings of Our Lady
When Saint Elizabeth greeted Our Lady in the Visitation, St. John the Baptist leaped for joy from within Mary’s womb. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Saint Elizabeth addressed Our Lady in these all-inspiring, sublime and immortal words: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb…”(Lk. 1:42) Then Our Lady, in her sublime canticle of praise, (Lk. 1:48) echoed the word “blessing” by saying, “All generations will call me blessed for the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name.”
Therefore, if we truly want to learn the art of living a blessed life and the art of blessing others, let us turn to the “Blessed among women”, Mary most holy, and beg her for her prayers and blessings in this life and for all eternity! May the Blessed Trinity be praised, blessed and worshiped, through the intercession of Mary.