Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What does it mean to bless?

From The Living Church-

Many parishes offer a Blessing of the Animals service on or near the Feast of St. Francis on October 4. On St. Blaise Day, February 3, you can have your throat blessed during the Mass. Some parishes also offer an annual Blessing of the Backpacks during the week before school begins. What do these blessings actually accomplish? What is the difference between a blessed pet or an unblessed pet, a blessed throat or an unblessed throat, a blessed backpack or an unblessed backpack?

As with other types of prayer, in some ways asking what a blessing does is to miss the point. Prayer is not primarily a means to an end. As Fr. Matthew Olver has said about the liturgy, prayer does not mean anything. Rather, it is something. It is an end unto itself. It is in and through prayer that we spend time with God. Asking about the cash value of that time would be like asking about the cash value of watching a movie with your spouse or throwing a ball around with your child. Its value is relational, not practical.

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