I don’t know how it’s been in your life, Blessed Reader, but on occasion, I’ve been very tough on myself. Not only have I been embarrassed, upset or in pain, I’ve also gotten down on myself, especially in reliving distressing moments, wishing I’d done something else or chosen differently. I’ve even condemned myself.
In these moments, I’ve forgotten the power of prayer, especially the ancient belief which held that if something were blessed, it became a priceless gift. Especially because once it was blessed, it held great power for transformation.
Pouring out a blessing is its own spiritual practice. It means we may glorify through spoken word; request divine favor for a situation or condition; or wish a person or situation well. Blessing is different from gratitude. So, when we bless something or someone, we don’t need to be thankful for it. We don’t need to like it. Neither are we condoning or endorsing unethical, immoral or unscrupulous behavior – however we or the law define it. Rather, when we offer a blessing, we step out in faith and trust, opening ourselves to transformation.
When we bless something, we do what Jesus taught, according to the Gospel Writer called John (7:24), when he said, “Judge not by appearances, but judge with righteous judgment.” Because, when we live faithfully, we also realize, it’s as easy to bless as it is to condemn and judge. Yet, when we condemn and judge, we actually intensify the unpleasant, uncomfortable situation bothering us. We actually hold on tighter, rather than letting go.
Remember, as much as we might wish we could, we can’t go back in our time machines for a do-over. So, rather than continually condemning ourselves, a situation, person or condition, we bless it. Rather than trying to correct it or fix it of our human selves, on our human schedule, we bless it. Without judgments of right/wrong, good/bad, yes/no, should/shouldn’t.
The truth is: The God of Jesus and the mystics isn’t giving us more or less than we can handle. Despite what some religious folk may say, no devil leads us down paths of destruction or temptation. Nor does God dispense situations, circumstances, challenges and disease to test, punish, pester, or challenge us. Those are a part of life, what it means to have free will and free choice, and to live in this awesome world, which sometimes does not move the way we’d most enjoy.
The truth is: Blessing something or someone doesn’t change the past. It changes us. Because living faithfully, trusting in God’s expansive grace means we also realize: We can’t out bless God. This is what Jesus and the mystics mean when they speak of knowing that God is ever-present and active in their lives.
So, the God of scripture, Jesus and the mystics seeks our blessing, not because God needs it, but because we do. So we transform our thinking and our lives.