Today I read these words in scripture – “Blessed are you” – and thought – STOP THERE!
So often, it seems to me, we read this phrase and look for the rest of the sentence. Blessed are you because…. you did something right. Blessed are you when…. you are mourning, weak, meek, poor, hungry, thirsty. Blessed are you because… you are virtuous, obedient, thankful, successful, faithful, good-hearted, just, merciful, caring, praiseworthy, a person of integrity. Of course many of these are straight out of scripture, and most of the others hold a little or a lot of truth. The problem comes when you and I look to the second part of the sentences above as the way we can go about seeking to achieve the first part of the sentence, and make of life our compulsive construction kit in order to be truly named Blessed.
Okay, roll my sleeves up! Let me go be really thankful today and I will receive blessings. Let me accept my weakness or poverty, and God will bless me. Hey, even some of this is absolutely true. But how arrogant to think that BLESSING depends on me. My humanity doesn’t. My body’s creation doesn’t. My being here didn’t. Like all of these, “BLESSED are YOU” is simply who you are and where you are.
I wonder how you and I would live differently if we truly heard this phrase. BLESSED are YOU!
HARK: Our Trinitarian God – the Creator of All, the Divine Presence, God who is Father and Mother, Jesus who walked and walks with us in our human experience – companioning and healing and rescuing and mentoring and teaching us, or the Spirit who dwells within and around and reminds us of all we have been taught and prays with and for and in us – this God says to you, BLESSED are YOU.
BLESSED is our identity, not an occasional descriptor. Why? Simply because God chooses in the great love God is, to bless us. We are the BLESSED ones, the Beloved ones. What a difference if we sit with this, hear it, taste it, see it, look for evidence of it in our daily lives where God loves to show up with special gifts, if we will only notice. This does not mean that we are the center of the universe… but that God delights in loving us, and comes in ways and through images and words and symbols and moments to each of us.
For me, any yellow rose I see yells, “Blessed are you, Joanne!”. I see robins, and I hear, “Blessed are you, Joanne!” The connection and love in my mother’s eyes says, “Blessed are you, Joanne!” The grace of being with another says, “Blessed are you, Joanne!” The familiar creative tug as images and words play in my heart and head says, “Blessed are you, Joanne!” Hearing the words of Celtic and Carmelite and Franciscan saints and how they feed me whispers, “Blessed are you, Joanne!” The wind in the leaves and the way I am captured by the ocean say, “Blessed are you, Joanne!” The ground my feet touches vibrates with, “Blessed are you, Joanne!” I am supremely blessed – and I mean to enjoy it! What better way to live, and to compliment and be thankful to the giver who keeps on giving, the lover who keeps on loving unendingly! 🙂
May you know the BLESSING you are, this day. May you relax in being just you, just blessed. May you see all around you God’s myriad messages that assure you that this is your identity. And as you go about doing the good and resisting what moves away from good, may you know you do that too from the strength of an identity that is already yours. Whatever joys and failures today may hold, your Blessedness is not at stake. Lean on it, draw from it, and pass on the word.