My Christian faith and priestly ministry keep showing me how essential the priestly blessing is in the accompaniment of people during their earthly pilgrimage.
What Jesus said to the Servant of God, Therese Neumann (1898-1962), a German mystic, stigmatist and victim soul, makes us realise the power hidden within a priest blessing.
“My dear Child, I wish to teach you to receive My Blessing with fervor. Realize that something vast takes place when you receive the Blessing of my Priest. The Blessing is an outpouring of My Divine holiness. Open your soul and let it become holy through the Blessing. The Blessing is a heavenly dew for the soul, through which all that is done can be made fruitful… Through the power to bless, I have given the priest the power to open the treasury of My Heart and to pour out from the ‘rain’ of graces on souls. When the priest blesses, I bless. Then a vast stream of graces from My Sacred Heart flows into a soul to its fullest capacity. By recollection, keep your heart open, in order not to lose the benefit of the Blessing. Through My Blessing, you receive the grace to love, strength to endure suffering, and assistance for body and soul”.
Recently I came across an interestingly powerful text from the Book of Revelation. This was a text which helped alot to savour and abundantly impart my priestly blessing. Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”(Rev 5:11-12). Amazing! Those angels, so close to God’s Throne and countless in their number, were attributing to the Lamb, the Crucified and Resurrected Lord, power, wealth, wisdom, might, honour, glory and blessing. How powerful are these seven attributes of the Resurrected Jesus?
To receive power – δυναμιν (dunamin) power or authority of Christ to rule over all things. Riches – (πλουτον) (plouton) or abundance. Jesus is worthy to receive honour, glory and happiness and these qualities should be given to him in abundance. God gives spiritual and earthly riches. Jesus has and is the fullness of every gift of God (see Jas 1:17; Acts 17:25). Wisdom – σοπιαν (sophian). The ending result of the contemplation of the salvific work effected by Jesus, our sole Redeemer. This work is extremely identified by wisdom. That wisdom is shown in encountering the evils of the fall, in honouring the law, in portraying that mercy and justice go together, and in putting the entire plan to the ethos and necessities of man.
Mighty – ισχυν (ischun)– or strength, is that capacity to fulfill His purposes. Jesus fully conquered the great enemies of man such as winds, storms, diseases, devils and, finally, death. Thus, He saved us. Honour – τιμην —(timēn). Jesus’ Being deserves adoration because it is a divine Being. Thus, Jesus is clothed with honour as apart of his Being. Glory – δοχαν (doxan). Jesus’ glory is the absolute perfection in holiness. God is the King of Glory (Ps 24:80). Christ is called “Lord of glory” (Jas 2:1), and the “hope of glory” (Col 1:27). Christ is God’s glory (Heb 1:3) and possesses God’s glory (John 17:5). Glory is attributed to Him in all the apostolic letters’ benedictions (Rom 16:27; 1 Tim 1:17; Phil 4:20). In Revelation 5:11-12 all the angelic anthem in chorus and song attribute to Him all honour and glory. Blessing -ευλογιαν (eulogian). Here, blessing implies praise, adoration, thanksgiving. As Pope Benedict XVI explained, blessing means that “He (the Lamb) alone is able to open the mysterious book closed with seven seals and to reveal, in the light of his own triumph over persecution and death, the ultimate meaning of history in God’s providential plan”.
What a grace would it be if a priest gives you this priestly blessing: May God Almighty bless you by his power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory and blessing, in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. This heptad of praise blessing is, indeed, special!