Simply blessed! 10,000 reasons!

Saturday morning and a blog post designed simply to say ‘thank you’ because I am simply blessed, flows from a grateful heart. Yesterday, on the part of friends, family, residents and religious sisters, the event of celebrating another year of my life on this earth was marked by many delicate gestures.

Yes, I am simply blessed. Simply blessed because at the moment that is the feeling that invades my soul. ‘Blessed’ not because life is easy or without its difficulties, but ‘blessed’ because, in the words of today’s liturgy for the Conversion of St. Paul: “For I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.” (2 Timothy 12:1). So celebrating a birthday is just counting how much I have already received. One of the cards which I received reminded me: “Count the blessings, not the candles”. Pretty good advice, if you ask me and that's what I intend to do!

I am thankful to my parents for the gift of life, for allowing me to live. You could have chosen otherwise. I am thankful to you for considering me this way, as a blessing. That somehow I’ve been a blessing to your life or the lives of others assures me that the Lord can indeed use cracked vessels to house his Holy Spirit and bring these gifts to others. I think of the people who really matter in the Bible – the people I yearn to have a slice of faith like. Moses – stuttering Moses – liberating God’s people through the Red Sea was a blessed man. Noah – silly ark making Noah – was a blessed man. Job – bountiful and then tragic losses Job – was a blessed man with great faith. Daniel – don’t eat me, lions Daniel – was a blessed and protected man. I can add my names to this biblical list and say that I am a blessed daughter of God. A daughter of God who seeks to understand the project has over me, in a spirit of faith and prayer. A quotation from the book of Jeremiah says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you”. This reading was about the prophet Jeremiah, but it could just as easily apply to all of us too. God knew us before we were formed in the womb, before we were born too. That’s really something for us to think about in modern times, when abortion has become such a widespread phenomenon. Every human life is valuable and precious in God’s eyes. We will never know if a future Albert Einstein, Beethoven or Mozart were never allowed to have the gift of life, let alone people who may have become saints if they had been given the chance to do so.

As I thank you for making this birthday a very special one, I offer my humble prayer for you. My prayer for you today and this year is that you have a “blessed” year too, a year of so many good things. Praying for “blessing” may invite good things and challenging ones, but certainly “blessings” should build faith in our God. Life is a precious gift and tends to be unpredictable. It can be beautiful and fulfilling and sometimes frustrating and infuriating and test our faith. Count every moment, blessings and don’t take anything or anyone for granted.

But above all, I want a year for all of us where we learn to love God more deeply, cherish Him… desire Him more fully. A year of breaking of ourselves so we can give more and become more like Him. A year of giving up the things that keep us from living intentionally or faithfully. A year of faith – as we let go of hurts or say goodbye to people or places we don’t know yet we’ll say goodbye to.
There’s a modern worship song that captures the essence of being blessed. It is called ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul: Ten thousand reasons’. It could take a while to find 10,000 reasons to bless God but I am sure we can make a good start on it! Happy listening!