From the Pastor’s Desk
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Jan 7, 2024
““Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.”
Brothers and Sisters,
We say ‘God bless you!’ often, sometimes instinctually and without true intention, like after a sneeze. Other times, we may use these words in response to someone who is struggling or suffering, especially when we feel powerless to help them. We understand that we cannot heal someone from a disease or prevent mourning from the loss of a loved one, but we trust that God can.” As Christmas approached, both traditional and social media outlets were filled with engaging headlines regarding the publication of Fiducia Supplicans On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on December 18th. Although this declaration is not an official document of the Pope, the Holy Father gave his “blessing” for it to be published. If you are concerned with the media coverage, I suggest that you read the document directly by searching for the title and clicking on the link on vatican.va.
It’s important to understand the act of blessings, although we should note that the following explanation is not exhaustive. Blessings can ascend, descend, and extend, which helps us see the biblical roots of blessing in our Church. The Catechism highlights that blessings can move in both directions and that we are all called to impart blessings and be a “blessing” ourselves. We say that we bless God by praising Him for His goodness and grace, and we also ask for His blessings to be bestowed upon people, objects, and places that bring us closer to Him. You can read about sacramentals in the Catechism, particularly in sections 1667-1673 (Day 228 of Fr. Mike’s Catechism in a Year), and about blessing as a form of prayer in sections 2626-2627 (Day 337).
Fiducia Supplicans, or in translation, the supplicating trust, encourages us to look to the merciful and gracious God who desires the good for all his children. Just as we do not interrogate someone to ascertain their worthiness before blessing people, we are called to intercede for others regularly.”
I understand that the media is currently focusing on the issue of same-sex relationships. However, I encourage you to read the pastoral reasons behind this position. In the meantime, the following excerpt may be helpful: “Out of pastoral prudence and wisdom – in order to avoid any serious forms of scandal or confusion among the faithful – it may be appropriate for ordained ministers to join in prayer with those who, despite being in a union that cannot be compared in any way to a marriage, desire to entrust themselves to the Lord’s mercy, seek his help and guidance, and strive to better understand his plan of love and truth.”
I also encourage you all to pray for each other and to call forth God’s blessings on all of us. Let us keep in prayer those striving to live God’s ways, parents and family members who may struggle to interact with their children, and a Church that appears not to accept their children. We must remember God’s enduring faithfulness, who looks with love upon all his children while continually calling us to grow in holiness.
As Christ is shown to bless all nations, the celebration of the Epiphany is an appropriate time for families to bless their homes. Please take with you a kit and pray for blessing with your families.