How often when we congratulate another’s success or admire someone’s latest acquisition, do we say ‘you’re lucky’. In saying these words in some way we want to recognise that this person has been given some terrific gift, whether it be due to their own hard work and accomplishment or to some other circumstance.
But do we actually mean that the person is lucky or should we more accurately say ‘you’re blessed’?
I was recently talking about my own situation with a friend and reflected: “yes I’m very lucky.” My friend was quick to reply saying: “Lucky!? Lucky!?” I immediately understood what he was teaching me and in a short moment he profoundly demonstrated to me that my life is not lucky, my life is blessed!
A dictionary definition of ‘luck’ tells us that it is “the chance happening of fortunate or adverse events; or good fortune or prosperity.” We could argue however that nothing in our lives happens by chance or mere coincidence, rather everything is governed by God’s providence and loving blessing.
Every day God gives us many blessings. Some of which are so large and precious that they cannot go unmissed, like the birth of a new baby or a special friendship. We often take the smaller blessings that we receive everyday for granted. For example, the gift of life, of a beautiful day, or of work; whilst these seem fairly routine they are all effectively the result of God’s provision in our lives.
When we speak of the good things in our lives as blessings rather than luck, we elevate them to a supernatural plain and recognise that they have been first in the mind of our Creator who then graciously bestows them upon us as a gift. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes: blessing as: “a divine life-giving action, the source of which is the Father, his blessing is both word and gift.” (CCC1078) By taking time to stop to recognise the intervention of God in our lives through His many blessings, we come to view the events that take place not as mere coincidence but with the realisation of God’s enduring touch in our lives.
The Church also teaches us that blessings can be signs to us of the spiritual benefits that can be gained through the Church’s intercession.
We can categorise blessings into two types: invocative and constitutive. In an invocative blessing, God is asked to grant some spiritual or temporal good, such as when a parent blesses a child or a blessing for our food at mealtime. We might also say to a friend: “God Bless”. In this simple phrase we give to them fraternal love and pray through God’s intercession that they may experience His presence in their lives.
A constitutive blessing, is one given by a bishop, priest or deacon. This blessing signifies the permanent sanctification and dedication of a person or thing for some sacred purpose. Here the person or object takes on a sacred character and would not be returned to non-sacred. For example, when religious Sisters or Brothers profess final vows they are blessed, indicating a permanent change in their lives. Or, when a chalice is blessed, it becomes a sacred vessel dedicated solely to sacred usage.
Therefore it is not luck that has placed each of us at this moment in this world. Our entire existence is a purposeful act of God. Like any parent, God continues to care about us throughout our entire lives. He walks beside us and constantly pours out His blessing upon us. Let us come to be constantly captivated by His real presence in our lives.
~ Article by Anne Maree Quinn