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God Bless – Bless God

by Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern

English is a curious language. Often it has two kinds of words for the same thing. One kind of word comes from Latin by way of Norman French; the other, from Anglo-Saxon.

For example, you can “surrender” or “give up” – you can “descend” or “come down” – you can “circumvent” or “go around.”

I wish there was a Latinate word that corresponds to “bless.” “Bless” comes from the Old English word “bledsian,” meaning to consecrate (with blood), and that’s not always what we mean by it.

Too bad there is no English word like “benedict,” derived from the Latin word to bless, “benedicere.” “Benedicere” is a combination of “bene” meaning “well” and “dicere” meaning “to speak.” The Latin word to bless means to “speak well.”

We usually think of a blessing as a spiritual good that we receive from God, but actually it refers to our praising God.

In the Book of Daniel, the three young men in the fiery furnace glorified and blessed God:

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
   praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord…
You heavens, bless the Lord…
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord…
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord…
Sun and moon, bless the Lord…
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord…
Every shower and dew, bless the Lord…
All you winds, bless the Lord…
Fire and heat, bless the Lord…
Frost and chill, bless the Lord…
Ice and snow, bless the Lord…
Nights and days, bless the Lord…
Light and darkness, bless the Lord…
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord…
Let the earth bless the Lord…
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord…
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord…
You springs, bless the Lord…
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord…
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord…
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord…
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord…
Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord,
   praise and exalt him above all forever.

Simply by being as the Lord intends, all creation blesses the Lord. We bless the Lord the same way. Our lives and our actions speak louder than words.

If we let the Creator’ design show forth clearly and unobscured in our lives – if we order our lives always to seek his will rather than our own – if we “not so much seek to be loved as to love” – if we “love one another as I love you,” then we let our lives “speak well” of the Lord.

You servant of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever!

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Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern, Secretary General of CNEWA



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