Nurturing Life's Ageless Spirit.

Look for Blessings in Unexpected Places

Every Day is a Blessing.jpg

What blessings do you recognize in your life? The dictionary defines a blessing as a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness. That’s a pretty good answer, but we decided to consult an expert. 

Father Joseph Gillespie the Vicar at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis and a Catholic Eldercare visiting priest. He says the religious origin of blessings comes from God’s relationship with creation. “Genesis is filled with blessings that offer a vision or intended hope for people. God is envisioning a direction for your life and that’s the source of the blessings.” 

Surely God blesses us in many ways, but people can also bless each other. When you wish someone well, you bless them. When a friend is there for you when you need them, they bless you. “My father taught me that friendship is a blessing,” says Father Gillespie. “He used to say, ‘Hold on to your friends because they double your joy and divide your grief.’” 

What triggers a blessing? Father Gillespie says blessings often come when you least expect them. He shares some powerful examples of this from his ministry and beyond: 

A woman recently told me she opened her front door to grab the morning paper and saw a beautiful sunrise. She told me she had to take a photo, and the beauty of creation found in that sunrise blessed her all day long. 

A Buddhist monk tells the story of returning home to find his monastery in flames. He told the other monks, ‘Tonight, we will have a beautiful view of the stars. ’Seeing the situation from a different view, turned it into a blessing. 

I recently anointed five people at a local hospital. I assured four of them of God’s presence and blessed them with the words Jesus said, ‘Come to me, and I will give you rest.’ They all passed away by midnight. The 5th person struggled with mental illness, so the blessing was different. We blessed the doctors and pharmacists who have helped him because they are instruments of God’s presence. 

A family lost all their treasures in a house fire. Instead of feeling cursed, the father said, ‘It gave me the freedom to see that I was bound by these things, so losing them sets me free.’ 

Father Gillespie says, “When bad things happen and you’re feeling cursed, refraining from negativity in this situation is a blessing. However, when scarcity is your primary value, there is nothing anyone can give to you. Moaning and groaning doesn’t open you up to the goodness of God and people around you.” 

“All countries have a series of blessings with cultural metaphors,” says Father Gillespie. “People gravitate towards spoken blessings that are a vision of what they wish for the people they love, and the wish helps recipients recognize blessings that come their way.” He shares this example:

Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again, may God
hold you in the palm of His hand. 

Thanksgiving and Christmas Blessings

Did your family find ways to bless each other during Thanksgiving, and did you give thanks for the blessings you receive throughout the year?  Father Gillespie points out that Thanksgiving is the designated day to do it. 

Classic Christmas television shows and Hallmark’s Count Down to Christmas movies tell us that blessings are high at Christmas time, and they often come as Christmas miracles. Believe it or not, but if you believe in the power of angels you have heard on high, it is quite possible. 

We hope you feel blessed throughout this holiday season, as you spend time with family and friends. Bless others and accept the invitation of unexpected blessings in every person you meet, and you will find the unexpected presence of God in your life. 

Merry Christmas from your family and friends at Catholic Eldercare. 

"May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."

Numbers 6:24-26