BLESSINGS ARE NECESSARY
What do we do before we sit down to eat? As Orthodox Christians, we pray in thanksgiving for our meal. We make the sign of the Cross and say a short prayer asking Jesus Christ to bless the food and drink. Asking for blessings is a sign of spiritual life in a person or family. But blessing food and drink are but one of countless blessings. We make the sign of the Cross when we go to bed and again when we awaken from sleep. We sign the Cross and offer our morning prayer and when we depart the house we again sign the Cross. If we drive, we should sign the Cross, remembering the many accidents and deaths on roads and highways, let us always ask the Lord for His blessing and our protection by our angel. We make the sign of the Cross when we start our cars, when we arrive at our destination and upon our return back home make the sign again. In the evening we say our evening prayers, starting with the sign of the Cross. These blessings become excellent habits, bringing us closer to God who supplies the substance of our blessings. and we will be doing them enthusiastically after a period of time.
What if we fail to seek blessings at these various times and places? The sky will not fall down but we will lose a precious portion of our faith and hope, turning to God frequently with the ability to bless ourselves, our food and drink, our homes and cars, our going to sleep and arising etc., We can offer these blessings though we are not ordained priests. Why miss out in obtaining help from the only source of all our blessings who is God himself? His blessings are meant for us to use if we have accepted to believe in Him and to serve and obey Him.
Among men, if some person had a special beloved father, he would not hesitate to ask his blessing if he was to go on a long journey. But God is our much greater Father and the Creator of everything. We should seek His blessings for our dear departed ones, for our father and mother our wives or husbands, our children, our brothers and sisters, and our priests and bishops. We can incorporate these blessings into our regular morning and evening prayers.
We are able to listen to God every day by reading passages from the Scripture that are his inspired words. It is important to talk to God through our prayers making it a high point of our day. If today our life does not bring us closer to God and obey His commands loving Him with our hearts and affections, it is a wasted and empty day. One empty day begets another, until our days on earth expire, for the on that day we will be called to judgment. Certainly we do not want to be condemned for neglect and disinterest and failing show interest in the most important thing in our whole lives.
Let us observe the great blessings we have received from God, by first looking at ourselves. God created air and gave us lungs to breathe and fly in. He made the earth round but flat enough that we can walk a straight line on it. We require food and water and he provided plenty of both. He gave us two eyes so that we can see over over 180 degrees. He gave us two feet for balanced walking, ten toes for balance, fingers and hands for working and many other uses. He gave us a mouth for speaking and eating, teeth for chewing, tongue and throat and many other things. But our Creator blessed us magnificently. So let us marvel and give Him glory! But the greatest blessing He gave us is our creation with freedom, intellect and affection, in His own image. And the reason He made us in this fashion, is so that we can freely choose to become also His image and likeness, but sin prevented us from doing so. Then He sent His own beloved Son into the world, Jesus Christ born of the Virgin, who gave himself as a sacrifice for us, saving us and restoring us to become His image and likeness. His death on the Cross is a sign of His great love for us His creatures.
Another of His great blessings is that He founded and established the Holy Church, which is meant to sanctify us and gradually change is into gods like God, His image and likeness. He founded it and established hismelf as the Head of this wonderful house of truth and eternal life. He made the Church indestructible and it has been in existence for almost two thousand years, renewing countless men and moulding them to be holy members of the kingdom of God. In the Church the greatest blessing of all, a blessing beyond all blessings is given to us as our food and drink, for in Holy Communion we eat and drink the Godman himself and thus are enabled to become like Him and He fills us with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
If God has given us such rich and wonderful blessings, it is very proper for us to go to Him, just as He desires, to ask for and receive all of His lesser blessings for our families and friends. Man is poor but the Lord wants to make him the richest in creation. Man is sinful but the Lord wants to make him pure and holy like himself. Man is weak but God gives him strength and the ability to do anything. He spoke to us oconcerning His intentions for us: “Be holy for I am holy. Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” What could be more generous and amazingly beautiful than the Lord’s plan for us! For it His desire that we lowly and humble creatures become more and more exalted like Him, our Creator!