|Who doesn’t want a blessing? I can’t imagine there are many I’d refuse.
I’ve had people ask me why I go to the priest during Catholic communion. First, let’s remember it’s God’s communion. For me, the occasions have been mostly funerals. When it comes to the Eucharist, some priests do not invite non-Catholics to share. I’ll respect that.
Some priests, however, do. The invitation normally is to come forward with your arms crossed to receive a blessing. So, you have to know this big Methodist is going to get his blessing!
Why wouldn’t I?
Because we’re a different denomination? Because we’ve come to different conclusions about what’s happening at the Lord’s table? Yes, I disagree with the idea of closed communion, but I understand why some don’t. Even Methodists have a prerequisite to join at the table.
But if another human being is going to offer me their most sacred sense of blessing, who am I to refuse? I’m not convinced at all you can run out of blessings from God. Still, I’ll take all the blessings I can get.
Of course, I don’t mean that in any selfish or consumeristic way. God’s blessings are not shallow favors or religious parting gifts. True blessings are a part of God’s promised abundant life. Now, blessings and abundance are two ideas we sometimes misappropriate.
For many of us, blessings are strictly material possessions. Things we acquire. Blessings, of course, can be things. But often they are not. And we need to be careful with how we understand God’s sense of abundance. For example, “an abundance of possessions must mean I’m blessed by God” is bad theology.
So, what are blessings? Let’s consider this so that we can better appreciate how willing God is to bless us and to see how we can bless others. We can go back to Genesis 1 for a reflection point. God blessed the animals and humanity at Creation. Their blessing was life and their ability to recreate life.
That blessing the Catholic priest offers me, then, is a moment of faith, hope and love. I also take it as a gift of peace and unity. To me, those are life-giving, even life-sustaining gifts. The joy a baby’s laugh brings me renews my sense of wonder. That’s a gift from God that allows me to enjoy another day of being alive.
In that sense, if it gives life and sustains life, it is a blessing.
Now, go pay attention to how much God really blesses you. And go be a blessing to the world!
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