As we find ourselves on the threshold of a new year, we can see in our world today the growth of frightening violence. Faced with this trend, we are invited to remain vigilant in prayer and charity, walking constantly in the presence of the Lord. We are also stimulated to live our five attitudes of life with even more intensity, especially since we now know that they constitute the driving force of our mission.
Here is a little suggestion to help us stay in the presence of the Lord and to help us keep peace in all that we see and experience: the practice of blessing. The act of blessing brings peace to our hearts and to those around us.
Blessing is a spiritual tradition that goes back three thousand years. It goes back to the time of Moses when the Lord taught him a prayer of blessing for the cohanim (priests) to spread this blessing among the people: May the Lord bless you and keep you! May the Lord shine his face upon you and bring you his grace! May he turn his gaze upon you and give you his peace! (Num 6:24-26).
When we are confronted with violence, let us remember this blessing and repeat it time and again, directing it at those who provoke violence. It may be as simple as saying, “Lord, bless this person who is not comfortable in their own skin.” Through our baptism, we can, in turn, in the name of Jesus and in the Holy Spirit, become bearers of blessing for a light that shines up in the darkness.
And there is also the blessing offered as a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for the positive things we experience! “Blessed are you God of the universe, who gives us this bread, this work, these friends, this family, etc...” This is the formula used at Mass of course, but it comes to us first from the Jewish world before we began using it in our liturgy.
Jesus, being the good Jew that he was, repeated this type of blessing every day - getting up in the morning, before eating, drinking, receiving visitors, etc... Hebrew spirituality is fundamentally rooted in thanksgiving and blessing. We only have to reread the psalms to be aware of this.
The Lord grants unexpected graces through our good will in the act of blessing, of wishing good to people. It is a matter of believing in it!
Let us all be blessed at the beginning of this new year, in Christ Jesus our light and our strength!
Photos de Pixabay
Baptism: Анатолий Стафичук
Stained glass: yann-1
Chain blessing: timokefoto