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Benediction

When I was in high school, I attended a weekly meeting of my parish’s youth group. At the end of every meeting, our pastor, an older Irish priest, would make a visit to our youth room to close out the evening in prayer with us. He would end our time of prayer with a blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May His face shine upon you and be gracious to you,
And may He hold you in the palm of His hand.

His words, drawn from today’s Psalm, always gave great comfort and peace to my soul. Whatever struggles I was facing at the time seemed to fade in the light of his powerful, uncomplicated words of blessing.

Recently, the deacon at our parish suggested to our family that we incorporate a regular practice of offering a prayer of blessing over each other. This suggestion drew to mind the influence of our pastor’s regular prayers of blessing in my youth. The memory of its vivifying power washed over me, making me realize how significant the gesture can be. We now do this regularly in our family, particularly as we finish out our day. His graces flow, sometimes palpably felt, as we close our eyes for the night.

The phrase “God bless you!” that often escapes the lips of we Christians is more than just a mere platitude. It, too, is present in today’s Psalm when the psalmist cries out, “May God bless us.” (Psalm 67:7) It is a powerful prayer that certainly has dynamism behind it. It is not just a happy thought, but the calling down of Almighty God’s graces upon another. And it is something that we should make a regular practice of.

May God bless you today and always, sister!

Who could use your prayer of blessing? Notice the people in your life today who could use a blessing and offer one for them, even if it is in the silence of your heart.

Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.

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