ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is a Blessing?

Updated on April 28, 2011

Blessing is a formula by which a person or object is pronounced holy or by which God's favor is asked. The term "benediction" is often used synonymously with blessing, or to refer to the short blessing that concludes a religious service. Blessings are sometimes classified as either constitutive or invocatory. Constitutive blessings are official, and they set aside a person or object for God's worship. When they are specially solemn, they are called consecrations. Invocatory blessings are less formal, asking God's help for a person in special need, or simply asking for help in general.

In the Old Testament, instances of blessing are found in the account of Isaac's blessing (especially in Genesis 27) and that of Balaam (Numbers 23). God's blessing to Abraham (Genesis 12) is particularly important because it carries on to all his posterity. In the New Testament there are instances both of blessing God in thanksgiving and of asking God's favor. A most solemn instance occurs at The Last Supper, when Christ blesses His Father in thanksgiving.

Blessings continued in the early church. In the Liturgy of Hippolytus, about 200 a. d., there are examples of the blessing of penitents, as well as blessings of oil, milk, honey, and water. During the Middle Ages blessings were used more and more frequently. By the time of the Reformation they were used so indiscriminately that Protestant authorities began to reject them.

Roman Catholic belief in the fittingness of blessing is part of the general attitude toward sacramentalism. Following Christ's triumph over sin, there remains the work of applying this triumph to all of reality. Until his second coming, the struggle between good and evil is not complete, and blessings are meant to emphasize God's progressive dominion over creation.

In Roman Catholic tradition blessings are given to objects as diverse as seedlings, cars, typewriters, fish, or religious vestments. Because of this variety the Roman Ritual includes a special blessing "for any object." Special prayers, or collects, are provided for such blessings, and the sign of the cross is made over the object, which may be sprinkled with holy water. Holy water is today understood as related to baptism, and thus a person or object blessed with holy water is related to Christ's redemption, which is shared in baptism.

Blessings have an ecclesiastical, or churchly, dimension as part of liturgy or official worship. Traditionally they are administered by bishops or priests. In Vatican Council II's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (79), however, provision is made for blessings to be administered by "qualified lay persons." In many families fathers bless their children at bedtime.

During the course of the Mass, several blessings are prescribed, notably at the solemn dismissal. Blessings are also used in the administration of all the sacraments, and a blessing normally begins and closes every service. Catholics also frequently bless themselves at the beginning of prayer or in time of special need.

There are 12 benedictions proper in the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church, among them being the blessing of the bread and wine in the prayer of consecration at Communion, and the blessing of water in the baptismal offices. Among most Protestant denominations a blessing is pronounced at the end of services.

In the Jewish religion, blessings of benedictions constitute a part of the prayer service in the synagogue as well as in private prayer. Other forms of benedictions in Judaism include those recited before eating or drinking, those preceding the performance of a commandment, and those of praise and thanks.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)