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Blessing of the Animals

Speaking Blessings

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: jseattle

A sense of blessedness comes from a change of heart, not from more blessings.

— Mason Cooley

The Catholic Church actually began as a splinter group from Judaism.  Followers of Christ were really devoted, they kept two Sabbaths, Saturday and Sunday.  That’s a lot of church in one week.

One of the traditions of Judaism is the speaking of the blessing over the children.  In My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen, she writes of the power of the blessings that her grandfather spoke over her.  It’s still the same, we all want the approval/blessings of our parents, our friends, our families.  For some of us, these blessings never come from our parents.  Others must provide them.

Lesson 1 – Know Thyself

I was educated in grammar school by the Sisters of St. Joseph.  Our school was 1st through 8th grade.  We had no kindergarten.  For that you went to the public school and since I started 1st grade when I was 5, there was no kindergarten for me.  Eighth grade was the pinnacle.  We were cool and about to become high school students so the principal chose to “have lunch” with each of us that year.  One by one, we went to the principal’s office and “chatted” with her.

I don’t really remember my lunch with Sister R.  I just remember the reaction.

At some point, during the lunch, Sister asked me if I was a good student.  I thought about it and honestly answered that “yes” I thought I was a good student.  I didn’t give it another thought.  Then, one day, as we were breaking for lunch, my 8th grade teacher Sister A. told a story about how at my lunch with Sister R. I had said that I was a good student.  Sister R. had been horrified that I was so proud (and not in a good way).  Sister A. explained that I was a good student and it was a good thing that I knew that I was a good student.  She said that many of us were good students and we should know it.  Knowing ourselves was a good thing and an honest evaluation of ourselves was essential to our well-being.

Although, she embarrassed the heck out of me at the time, I learned a valuable lesson.  Honestly knowing what you did well was a good thing – AND – having someone in your corner to fight for you was a great thing!

Lesson 2 – It’s Not a Gift, You Earned It

My high school years were guided by the Benedictine nuns.  There were many of the nuns who were great influences on my life.  When I started high school, the nuns were all in habits and had names given to them when they took their vows.  By the time I left, a large percentage of them were in street clothes and had gone back to their given names.  This must have been a time of great uncertainty for them.  The very basis of their lives was being changed and yet they found the time and energy to guide and encourage us along the way.

In my sophomore year, I took Spanish II.  Sister K. taught the class and I particularly remember that I got an “A” for second quarter.  I was thrilled and went to find Sister K. to thank her for the “A.”  She stopped abruptly, looked right at me and said, “There’s no reason to thank me.  You earned it.”  I was shocked.  It had never occurred to me that this was in my control.  All day, I kept repeating to myself, “I earned it.”  It took a very long time to sink in.

Lesson 3 – You Can Do Whatever You Choose to Do!

We left Chicago the end of the summer that I graduated.  High school had been a community where I belonged and now I didn’t belong anywhere.  I attended Junior College, met my future husband and moved to Southern California.  Again, I didn’t belong anywhere.

After working for a couple of years and making no career progress, I decided to go back to school.  I chose to major in accounting because it seemed an easy choice.  I had always worked in accounting and I seemed to be able to do the work.  One of the requirements for my degree was that I take Marketing 300.  I enjoyed it and did very well at it.  One day after class, the instructor asked me what my major was.  I told him that I was majoring in accounting because it was something I could do.  He stopped me cold and said, “You can do anything you choose to do.”  He changed my life. It had never occurred to me that I could do anything but accounting and yet to him, it was obvious that I had other gifts.

Encourage One Another

Each of these people spoke blessings over me.  They pointed out my strengths.  They encouraged me.  They believed in me before I ever believed in myself.  They set me on a better path.  I will always be grateful.  And, I hope I can be an encourager to others who need it.  Maybe you.

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