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“May My blessing be the confirmation of Our Likeness in you”

Christological Hymn from the Letter to the Ephesians (first part)

8/22/2017

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Eph 1:3)

 

In the prayer of Vespers we find, after the recitation of two Psalms, a few canticles taken from the New Testament (Letters of Saint Paul or the book of Revelation) that have the aim of leading the whole prayer to “Christ, Lord of all men, sole Mediator, and the only One through Whom we have access to God.  Christ, in fact, unites Himself to all of humanity, in order to establish an intimate relationship between His prayer and the prayer of the entire human race.  In Christ, in fact, and in Him alone, the human religion derives its salvific value and its end” (Praenotanda of the Liturgy of the Hours, n. 6).

They are some very beautiful texts, but not immediately understandable.  One needs to explore them thoroughly in order to then pray them better.  In addition, the themes covered by these New Testament hymns directly relate to Christ and, therefore, to man as well.  That is, they are texts that celebrate the Divinity of Jesus Christ and His role in the Redemption of the world and, consequently, the dignity of man who is rendered partaker in His Divinity.

Themes that we also find in the Writings of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.  We could say that, in Luisa, we see a breakdown of those truths which the New Testament, in these texts, announces.

 

In a series of articles that will be published weekly on our Luisa Piccarreta PFDV Association website, we will try to read these New Testament texts together with a few passages from the Diary of Luisa and, I think, the Lord will not fail to make us discover what richness He wanted to give us through the Word of God and how Luisa was able to preserve and repeat it through the teachings received from Jesus.

 

Let’s begin with the first verse of the Hymn from the Letter to the Ephesians by Saint Paul:  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Eph 1:3)

 

This Hymn is not easy because it is, from a literary point of view, one big sentence; various expressions are put together without pauses.  This conveys the emotional involvement of Paul, who wants to place inside all of his amazement, his joy and his gratitude before the greatness that the Lord has done.  A single sentence that celebrates the powerful manifestation of the grace of God.  Of course there is a theology under the form of a prayer.  The content is a profession of faith (original and close link of the Hymn with the celebration of Baptism), not detached from the life and the hope of he who pronounces it.  The prayer has this characteristic: if you speak of God, if you can speak of Him correctly rather than as something that could be distant from man, do not refer to Him as a matter of study; but in prayer, that God – to Whom and of Whom you speak in a profession of faith – is a God to Whom our life is bound.  He has united Himself to us and we have accepted the bond and the commitment to Him.  The prayer is born here.

In this Hymn, we find that Trinitarian structure which is characteristic of Christian prayer.  Christian prayer is directed to the Father, through the Son, in the experience of the Spirit; and it responds to the action of God that flows from the Father, through the Son, and that is sealed in us by the Spirit.

 

We are faced with a blessing, a form of prayer common to Jews in worship at the synagogue, but also in their private, personal lives; it is a duty for a Jew to bless God for all the beautiful, good, and great things experienced in his life; it is a duty to bless God every time he goes to the table and eats – hence, every time that a Jew experiences in his daily life the joy of living, the providence of God and the support of his existence.

But here, the word “blessing” has two different meanings:

·       “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”, is man that blesses God;

·       “Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens”, is God that blesses man.

 

First there is the blessing with which God blesses us; since the blessing is fundamentally linked to the reality of life, to the beauty, the fullness and to the mystery of life.  Therefore, “God bless us” means: God communicates life to us.  It is the promise made to Abraham:  “I will bless you…and you will become a blessing” (Gen 12:2); and that’s what is announced at the end of the book of Revelation: “No longer will there be any curse” (Rev 22:3a).  The blessing of God enters into the universe, into the condition of man and completely transfigures it, destroying death.  So the blessing of God is a life force given to man that conquers, even if in some respects temporarily, the reality of death.

And then: “God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” and then we bless God: the blessing of man is a response to the blessing of God; since God has acted, then man must praise.  This is also a fundamental law of the faith of Israel:  where God operates, man must praise, man cannot remain silent.  And he cannot be silent because only in man’s praise is the occurrence of salvation perfected.  There is no doubt that the event of salvation is accomplished by God in His omnipotence and transcendence; and no one interferes in this action of salvation because God freely gives it and lays it down with His strength;  however, this action of salvation becomes complete, full, in the free and joyous acknowledgement of man.

 

Jesus, in a passage from July of 1928, explains to Luisa the significance and value of the blessing as confirmation of God’s Likeness in the creature.  It confirms what the Divinity did in the Creation of man - that is, His Likeness.  During the course of Jesus’ earthly life, in everything He did, He would always bless.  It was the first act of Creation that Jesus called back upon creatures, and in order to confirm it, in blessing He invoked the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.

The Sacraments themselves are animated by these blessing and invocations.  So the blessing, while calling the Likeness of the Creator within souls, it also calls the life of the Divine Will, so that It may return to reign in souls as in the beginning of Creation; because It alone has the virtue of brushing into the soul the living Likeness of He Who created her, to make her grow and preserve her with vivid and divine colors.

Here’s what the blessing of God means:  it is the confirmation of the creative work.  Because the work that God does once is so full of wisdom and sublimity and beauty, that He loves to repeat it always.  And if the blessing is none other than the longing of the Heart of God to see His image restored in the creature, the sign of the cross that the Church teaches to the faithful is none other than asking creatures to resemble God and thereby echo the blessing of God, repeating: “in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.  Therefore, without knowing it, the Church and all of the faithful harmonize with the Eternal Creator, and all want the same thing.  God, by blessing and pronouncing the words Father, Son and Holy Spirit, wants to give His Likeness, and creatures implore It by making the sign of the cross, pronouncing the same words.

 

“See, my Life, my Good, I am for all of them.

See how many waves of blasphemy?

I repeat, I bless You for everyone;

How many waves of bitterness, of hate, contempt, ingratitude, and of very little love?

And I want to soothe You for everyone, love You for all,

thank You, adore You, honor You for everyone;

but my reparations are cold, poor, finite;

You Who are the offended are infinite,

So I want to make my reparations, my love infinite, too,

and to make them infinite, immense, endless, I unite myself to You, to Your very Divinity,

what’s more, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit,

I bless You with Your blessings,

I love You with Your love, I soothe You with Your own sweetnesses,

I honor You, I adore You,

as You do among the Divine Persons.”

(Luisa to Jesus)

don Marco
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