Just recently I came across The Gentle Art of Blessing, by Pierre Pradervand and I’m very keen on reading it.
I began to think about the various kinds of blessings I’ve come across and what a blessing really means.
To bless means to wish, unconditionally, total, unrestricted good for others and events from the deepest wellspring in the innermost chamber of your heart: it means to hallow, to hold in reverence, to behold with utter awe that which is always a gift from the Creator. He who is hallowed by your blessing is set aside, consecrated, holy, whole. To bless is yet to invoke divine care upon, to think or speak gratefully for, to confer happiness upon – although we ourselves are never the bestower, but simply the joyful witnesses of Life’s abundance.Pierre Pradervand, The Gentle Art of Blessing
The Gentle Art Of Blessing
I recall my folded hands being held gently by my grandparents as I went to seek their blessings after the family prayers at night. That simple act symbolised love, belonging, the promise of prayer and acceptance. We were carrying on an old tradition practised by Goan Catholics.
My grandparents had their children and grandchildren scattered all over the world. Whenever we travelled to or from their home, a candle would be lit at the family grotto – the promise of prayer, blessings for the safety of the travellers. When we were not travelling we’d be recruited to keep the light burning until the travellers reached or called to say that they were safe!
My parents carried on this tradition in the various homes we lived in. My Mum lit candles and prayed a blessing for travel, for exams, for interviews, for surgeries….
People from other religious traditions in India, bend to touch the feet of their parents, elders, teachers, to seek their blessings. For a while I thought it was a servile gesture, because of how subjects were supposed to prostrate before their Sovereign. When a couple of my students did that, I was embarrassed. But then, I learned to put my arm on their shoulder, whisper a blessing and gently raise them up. I realized when people did that genuinely there was no shame in it for either person.
I see the value of praying a blessing on strangers. An ambulance passes by and I offer a quiet blessing for the patient and her family. A drunk is lying at the side of the road and I am moved to quietly pray a blessing for healing.
Another practice invites us to bless strangers quietly, secretly. Offer it to people you notice on the street, in the market, on the bus. “May you be happy. May you be at peace.” Feel the blessing move through your body as you offer it. Notice how you both receive some benefit from the blessing. Gently, almost without effort, each and every blessing becomes a Sabbath.— Wayne Muller in Sabbath
When Jesus asked us to ‘bless those who curse you’ (Luke 6:28) – it seems like a little too much to do! But I think, like forgiveness, offering a gentle blessing in your heart towards someone who is cursing or tormenting you, is what your soul needs to start healing.
I love the beautiful Irish blessings – you’ll find some here and here. Read about the Jewish blessing for everything here.
It would be a pleasure to read your thoughts about blessings and maybe learn about something peculiar to your culture.
This post was written in response to Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday prompt – Gentle
What a beautiful post, and how synchronous, because I have been doing just that. Even blessing the person/situation that is causing unrest within.
In fact the people who make our lives tough are the ones who help us grow. In Buddhism one is taught to bless those who slander us too. And it’s so uncanny Jesus says so. Well, I am not surprised because that’s how he lived his life too.
(From my school till the college years, I grew up attending mass and reading the bible)
Buddha’s disciple, Chandragupta who he truly loved kept trying to find ways to murder him or dissuade Buddha’s disciples away from him. Yet Buddha always blessed him and forgave him. He also acknowledged that Chandragupta was the reason for his human revolution. It is because of Chandragupta, Buddha’s path opened up and his practise spread widely.
Thank you for writing this, Cory.
Love, light and Blessings. <3
Such a beautiful though, Corinne!
Blessing someone with all your heart not only leaves the one blessed feeling special, but it also makes us feel that much more good, positive and grateful. Blessing those who torment us, well, that did seem tough for me for a long time. Now, with age, I feel like I have mellowed, and so just do my best to wish them well, pray that the hurt in their hearts heals soon. Blessings can work wonders, isn’t it?
Beautiful post! I agree that blessing those who curse you is a start toward the healing process. It is something I must keep in mind everyday. Fmf #34
Thank you for sharing. It was so interesting to read how your family lit candles during travels. Most of the time, we forget to let each other know we’ve arrived home! I think that blessing others, praying for them intentionally, really takes our minds off ourselves.
I’m your neighbor at FMF this week at #36
I like the definition “To bless is to invoke divine care upon”. This is a practice we need more of in this world. I love the Irish Blessing too!