“While our culture is all gloss and pace on the outside, within it is too often haunted and lost.”
“The commercial edge of so-called ‘progress’ has cut away a huge region of human tissue and webbing that held us in communion with each other. We have fallen out of belonging.”
“Consequently, when we stand before crucial thresholds in our lives, we have no rituals to protect, encourage and guide us as we cross over into the unknown. For such crossings, we need to find new words.” ~ John O’Donohue, Benedictus: A Book of Blessings
New words. Yes, words matter, because they have a life of their own.
Benediction is one of several key words or living intentions that arose as I reflected on words and themes for the coming year. These are words or themes I revisit, reflect on, am challenged by, and endeavor to explore and ‘live into’ as the year unfolds.
Even when I was a child, the benediction was one of my favorite parts of the Sunday church service; I could feel the energy of blessing pouring toward us and I gladly received it.
And that is exactly what benediction, at its most genuine and heartful: the powerful words and energy of blessing.
At its roots, benediction means “to speak well.” Bene- means good, or well; diction is from dicere meaning to speak (whether inside your head — your thoughts — or coming from your mouth in speech; and by extension, to write).
Speaking well. Good words. Blessing. Thus is the gift of benediction.
Now, of course, we know from more contemporary scientific research that such things as blessings and prayers … both heartfelt good-wishing prayers and the less fortunate but not infrequent ill-wishing or toxic prayers that are a form of sorcery (witting or unwitting) … these all do indeed have an effect, even from remote distances.
The sages have known this for eons, if the sacred writings and teachings are a clue, but living it is a responsibility to bless rather than curse and realizing just how often we inadvertently do the latter given the norms of culture.
Thankfully, benediction and blessing offer an opportunity … it’s a gift that costs little and keeps on giving.
“There is a quiet light that shines in every heart. It draws no attention to itself though it is always secretly there. It is what illuminates our minds to see beauty, our desire to seek possibility and our hearts to love life. Without this subtle quickening our days would be empty and wearisome, and no horizon would ever awaken our longing,” writes John O’Donohue (ibid.).
May we intend more and more devotedly to choose words that bless, that are everyday benedictions.
May the spirit of blessing stir and awaken in you, and pour forth from you, and guide you and others to worthy horizons.
And the benediction that I loved so much as a child:
“May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May She make Her face to shine upon you;
And be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you;
And give you peace.”
May it be so.
February 8, 2015 at 7:45 pm
Thank you for letting me stand in the newness and oldness of Benediction and Blessing today, Jamie <3
February 11, 2015 at 5:23 pm
You’re very welcome, Anna Lin. It’s my pleasure, truly, though I’m glad you enjoyed the good juju, too. 🙂 xoxo Jamie
February 8, 2015 at 7:48 pm
Reblogged this on Healing Soul Streams and commented:
A beautiful reflection Jamie has shared on Benediction:
Being Blessed to Be a Blessing
February 11, 2015 at 5:22 pm
Thank you for reblogging the Benediction post, Anna Lin, and sharing it with your readers as well. I was low-tech and off the ‘net for a couple of days whilst visiting with family, and appreciated seeing notice of your reblog when I logged back on. Many thanks! ~ Jamie
February 9, 2015 at 2:35 am
Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:
Thank you, Jamie!
February 11, 2015 at 5:18 pm
You’re welcome, Laura! 🙂 I just posted another reply on your reblog, so I’ll share it again here: Thank you, Laura, for reblogging this post and sharing it with your circles, too. I’m just catching back up after several very low-tech, non-internet days with family, and so appreciated seeing the reblog notice when I logged back on. Wishing you well, Jamie xoxo
February 11, 2015 at 7:43 pm
You’re welcome and welcome back! So nice to unplug for awhile, huh? xoxo
February 11, 2015 at 8:06 pm
Thanks, Laura. And absolutely yes … it does feel really nice to unplug for a bit, doesn’t it? xoxo J
February 9, 2015 at 3:35 am
Thank you! Blessings! <3
February 11, 2015 at 5:17 pm
You’re very welcome, and blessings on you as well! xoxo Jamie
February 14, 2015 at 3:26 pm
Wonderful background on benediction that I didn’t know. I agree that we are often missing communion. One of my joys with blogging is the sense of community and helping each other. Our posts and comments serving as blessings (or benediction) to each other.
Thank you, Brad
February 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm
Thank you, Brad, for visiting Sophia’s Children and sharing your comment. I so agree with you about the joys of blogging and connecting with our kindreds in the blog-o-sphere, like connection-threads between little lights scattered near and far. 🙂 It’s beautiful what you write: “Our posts and comments serving as blessings (or benediction) to each other.” May it be so (and may the blessing ‘go forth and multiply’!). I enjoyed coming across your blog recently, too, so thank you for all that you share.
February 14, 2015 at 4:13 pm
Thanks Jamie for your kind response. You have offered another blessing into the world to spread kindness. Thank You!
to blessings multiplied! 🙂
February 14, 2015 at 4:33 pm
Here’s to it, Brad. 🙂
February 14, 2015 at 4:52 pm
May 26, 2015 at 10:14 pm
Blessings, Jamie! <3 ~ given and wonderfully received~ a true devotee of love. Excellent retro breadcrumbs led me here…
May 26, 2015 at 10:52 pm
Thank you, Ka. It’s a favorite post, because it’s a favorite theme. Isn’t blessing and benediction delicious? It really is ‘devotee language of love’. 🙂 xoxo Jamie
January 23, 2016 at 7:03 pm
Another link between us, Jamie! When I was made to go to church in my youth, the Benediction was the only part of the service that held meaning for me…
January 24, 2016 at 5:41 pm
We must have an ancestral thread in common, Anne. 🙂 That was the case for me as well … the benediction always seemed to have that truly mystical essence about it. Hope the Capricorn season was rich for all of its … Saturnian influence. 🙂 xoxo Love, Jamie
February 11, 2015 at 5:17 pm
Thank you, Laura, for reblogging this post and sharing it with your circles, too. I’m just catching back up after several very low-tech, non-internet days with family, and so appreciated seeing the reblog notice when I logged back on. Wishing you well, Jamie