This reflection is aimed to show that as Christ is blessed, chosen, broken and given for all humanity. So too we are blessed, broken, chosen and given to humanity. This reflection will be divided into 4 series, named as Blessed, Broken, Chosen and Given. The series will cover the individual elements pertaining to them as seen through Scripture and experience. The aim is also to retain an interconnected structure with the elements, because a human person has all of these elements within them at once.
Part 1: Blessed
What does it mean that we are blessed, and what does this blessing call us to do? We are blessed by many factors, first by the mere factor of our existence, second by the calling into Christ’s community by Baptism, and third by the sealing of living faith in Confirmation. How generous is his goodness, to call us into existence, to sing us into the life that is a total gift, unmerited and incapable of being paid back. How great is God, to not only bless us with life, but to make us with an immortal soul! “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1: 27) Can we even begin to comprehend the greatness of this gift? We are similar to animals with life, affectivity and a body that can enjoy many things. But then we are granted something much more precious than any mere life. We are created with free -will, intellect and a sense of introspection. But even beyond this, we are granted even yet a greater gift, that is an immortal soul. If we could not pay back the gift of life, how much more we are granted with this resplendent gift of immortality. Truly this gift, this glory of our being is so far beyond our imagination, so far beyond what we can even begin to pay back. If we had to pay it back, then all of us would tragically fall short.
The blessing of God goes far beyond one simple act, nor is it a passive addition to our humanity. The blessing of God is ongoing, ever alive and active in our being, every fiber of our being is part of this blessing. “God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.” (Gen 1 :28) God not only blessed us once, but by the sending of his Son, the God-Man, he chose to be with us; (Which in itself is another unmerited blessing) but he also died and rose from the dead, which draws us into the mystery of his divinity. Can we even begin to understand this everlasting mystery? He first gave us his blessing to grant us entrance to heaven, he blesses us in every act that we undertake. By this blessing he asks us to exercise our free-will, to follow him, since he has blessed us to use our free-will. But within this we must exercise our free-will, we must cooperate in his grace that is already moving in us. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it’” (Mat 16: 24-25)
If we do not follow him, then we not only violate our own free-will, but we also pervert all of human life, and we degrade ourselves by abusing the gifts God so lavishly pours onto us. We are asked to trust, to strive, to get up and follow him. Can we even understand, or fully appreciate his blessing? His blessing is like the only fire in a frozen earth, how needed it would be for life, but yet we often prefer our cold dark corners. Still that example is in no way close to the extraordinary blessings of God. “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (Cor 2: 9)
Only those who are blessed by God can convey their blessing onto another. As it has been seen throughout the O.T. and N.T. As Melchizedek blessed Abram, (Gen 14) for he was a blessed priest of God. So too as Isaac blessed his son Jacob, (Gen 27) for he was the rightful authority over his son. So too Christ who himself is blessing, blessed his apostles so they might bless others. (Jhn 20:19-29) We then who are blessed are called to bless all those whom we meet. Through our life, actions and words, we are called to respect, honor and love all peoples as is rightly due to them. This blessing is to glorify God, and to make human-kind into the image of Christ. Moreover this blessing must be held together with the cross and suffering, for blessing cannot be understood without the complete effulgence of self. Blessing cannot be true blessing without aspects of brokenness, chosenness and being given to others.
- Joshua Sciullo SDB
March 20, 2021