Someone gave an advice with this play of words, “Always remember to forget the troubles that pass your way, but never forget to remember the blessings that come each day.” Someone else gave this reminder: “Try claiming God’s blessings instead of merely longing for them.”
I started off with these quotes on blessings because today’s readings talk about blessings. St. Paul, in today’s second reading, is reminding us how blessed we are: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens…”
The Interpreter’s Bible underlines the two adjectives Paul uses with the word blessing – namely, the adjective every and spiritual. The adjective every emphasizes the comprehensiveness of the Father’s gift to us. His blessings are not partial or limited. He withholds nothing that could enrich us or perfect us. He blesses every aspect of our life. The adjective spiritual emphasizes the special character of the Father’s gift to us. His blessings are given by the Holy Spirit in Christ. They are experienced in the depths of our human spirit. They belong to the realm of the imperishable and eternal.
What Paul seems to be saying is that Christ is the only one who can satisfy all our deepest human needs. Certain individuals can take care of some of our needs, at least in a limited way, but only Christ can fulfill our deepest human needs in a complete way. For example: Marriage partners can take care of each other’s needs, in terms of companionship and sexual intimacy, but only Christ can bless their marriage with profound peace, lasting joy, and faithful love. Friends can give us a sense of belonging and fellowship, and can give us a space to be ourselves, but only Christ can bless us with his presence and can lead us into communion with God. Business associates can provide us with opportunities for promotion and higher income or bigger ROI, but only Christ can bless our work with a deep sense of personal satisfaction and self-realization.
We must honestly examine ourselves about this matter – and ask: Are we letting God bless us in Christ with every spiritual blessing? When we are isolated or lonely, do we allow Christ to make his presence felt and allow ourselves to experience his companionship? When we are beset by worry or depressed because of some disappointment, do we allow Christ to give us comfort and consolation? When we are struggling with temptations or doubts about our faith, do we allow Christ to strengthen us and enlighten us? Christ alone can satisfy all our deepest human needs in a complete way.
Today is the Feast of the Sto. Niño – Feast of the Child Jesus. Today’s gospel reading shows us Jesus blessing children. We cannot overemphasize the fact that our children need to be blessed. However, it is not only children who need to be blessed. All of us need to be blessed. All of us want to be blessed. Are we living by the truth that God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing?
One of my favorite quotations (and I have mentioned this a hundred times) is this: “A blessed life is having everything you want and wanting nothing wrongly.” More often than not, we are wanting wrongly – the wrong things. And that is why instead of being blessed, we feel the opposite – we feel cursed – we do not get our ‘wrong’ wants.
Kaya ipagdasal natin kay Sto. Niño na matuto tayong hangarin o nasahin ang mga tamang bagay at tuklasin ang napakaraming biyaya ng Diyos sa atin nang maranasan natin, sa malalim na antas, ang ating pagiging pinagpala. A blessed life is having everything you want and wanting nothing wrongly.
Ang kabiguan nating pahalagahan ang mga biyaya ng Diyos, ang siyang naghahatid sa atin sa pagmumukmok. Our failure to recognize how blessed we are makes us unhappy and miserable.
John Luther has this to say about counting our blessings: “Happiness is not a matter of good fortune or worldly possessions. It’s a mental attitude. It comes from appreciating what we have, instead of being miserable about what we don’t have. It is so simple – yet so hard for the human mind to comprehend.” “No matter what your situation, things could be worse. Count your blessings and enjoy a little happiness while you may.”
Even in the worst of times, we have much to be thankful for. May we learn to thank God for his goodness to us! As one song puts it: Count your blessings – name them one by one Count your blessings – see what God has done. We do not need more to be thankful for, we just need to be more thankful.