Catholic, Parenting

Always bless me goodnight

Right above the stairway door in my childhood home, there sits to this day a bottle of Holy Water. Every night as we filed up the stairs for bed, my dad would take it down and bless each one of us on our way up. At about 12 years old I was not as diligent about my nightly blessing, and I began to have horrible nightmares. Call it coincidence, but I call it grace, as soon as I started making sure I got a blessing before I went to bed, the nightmares stopped.

For all my daily experiences with parental blessing, the scene in The Sound of Music where Maria is about to walk down the aisle and Mother Superior blesses her always bothered me. Then at a friends wedding, the priest asked us all to bless the couple and I thought that was plain weird. I don’t have the power to confer blessings. We have priests for this sort of thing!
Well, it turns out I was wrong. We can bless our people, especially our children. We should bless people, and especially our children. And I found some beautiful ways how to bless our children.
While parents have a special authority to bless their offspring, every Christian, by virtue of their baptism, shares in the Divine Priesthood of Christ and has the power to bless others. Of course, the blessing of an ordained minister (deacon, priest…. pope) is going to carry more authority. There are some blessings that may not be performed by a layperson.

Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a “blessing,” and to bless. Hence, lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry. (CCC 1669)

Oh, I found an old book of Canon Law from the earlier 20th century, and guess what? Abbesses have the same right as parents in regards to blessings over the sisters in their care. So I can watch The Sound of Music and not be bothered. Ha!

Multiple times in the Gospels we are told to “bless those who curse you”. The Old Testament has a multitude of examples of blessings. Isaac and his sons comes to mind as an example of just how powerful a parental blessing can be.

Isaac Blesses Jacob (Lorenzo Zucchi) via the Metropolitan Museum of Art

As a child, there is something comforting about receiving a blessing from a parent. When you are in the middle of a big ol’ Catholic lineup, that one concrete action definitely is a solid reminder that you are loved and cherished by your earthly and divine parents. Especially as you go off to bed, its a lovely thing for children to think about and a particularly fond memory I have of my childhood.

If you can’t tell, I am a huge fan of nightly blessings. But I also found a book on my shelf that a friend had given us as a wedding gift called Catholic Household Prayers and Blessings that had a large selection from The Book of Blessings that are specifically for family life. There were birthday blessings, blessings for parents and grandparents, blessings for school, for travel, for objects in the house… I can’t believe I didn’t remember this book sooner! Here was a favorite simple blessing for children I found:

May God bless you.
May God keep you safe.
God be with you.
God be in your heart.
May God bless and protect you.
(Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers)

I’m so excited to be able to share this with my children and family. And because I can, dear reader, I leave you with this:

Numbers 6:22-27

AMDG

september 9, 2019 - 2-00 pm - findlay residence (7)

Thanks to www.theologyisaverb.com and www.reconciledtoyou.com for hosting the link up! 

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