Catechesis on prayer – 17. The blessing

In the story of creation, we see how God continually blesses. At the world’s beginning, God sees every work of his hands is good and beautiful thus “speaks goodness” [in Latin dice-bene]; he blesses [in Latin bene-dice] saying how creation is “very good” (Gen 1:31).

Even after the fall of sin, God does not withdraw his blessing, his imprint of goodness on the world remains. “The hope of the world lies entirely in God’s blessing: he continues to love us, to wish us well” (Pope Francis, emphasis original).

God’s greatest blessing and gift is his Son, a blessing for all of humanity that saves us. St. Paul passionately says it like this: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:3-6).

In this Catechesis, Pope Francis emphasizes how God is like a good parent, even when sin disfigures our relationship, God’s love, mercy and patience for us, his children, remains. “Thus we are more important to God than all of the sins that we can commit, because he is a father, he is a mother, he is pure love, he has blessed us forever. And he will never stop blessing us.” Thus he concludes:

God’s grace changes lives: he takes us as we are, but he never leaves us as we are.

In response, we too are called to bless.  First, to bless God through prayer of praise, adoration, joy and thanksgiving. Recognizing God’s gifts, we in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing (cf. Catechism 2626). Second, to bless others, to bless the world through our words. May we have a blessed heart that overcomes any habit of cursing (the opposite of blessing).

You are invited to meditate on the story of Jesus with Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10). “Zacchaeus was a public sinner; he had done so many awful things, but Jesus saw that indelible sign of the Father’s blessing and because of that, he had compassion.”

May we always find joy in blessing the Father with gratitude for the infinite goodness he has shown us in giving us his Son.

Go here to read the Catechesis 17. The blessing