Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Eighth Day of Christmas: Blessed Are. . .

From A Catholic Notebook blog

From the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, today, the first day of 2012, is the 8th day of Christmas, represented by eight maids a milking.

Although it is discounted by much modern scholarship, there has been a suggestion that each ‘day’ of the song represents a teaching from the Bible, particularly for Catholics during the time of their persecution in England.  Wikipedia: The Twelve Days of Christmas

In that understanding, putting aside for the moment the historicity of the claim and the distaste at remembering persecution, today would be the day to recall the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5.3-10 (NIV)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are those who mourn, 
   for they will be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek, 
   for they will inherit the earth. 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
   for they will be filled. 
Blessed are the merciful, 
   for they will be shown mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart, 
   for they will see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers, 
   for they will be called children of God. 
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, 
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The practice of blessing is one we might do well to adopt in this year of 2012 mythology of cataclismic endings, Mayan predictions of the end of time and Christian crazies continuing to presume to tell all the date and time of our collective end.

For the practice of blessing is one that reminds us that in our creaturliness, we inhabit the here and the now and while Jesus’ beatitudes may be promising future reward, they speak most eloquently, I think, not to reward in a distant horizon we can barely imagine, but rather to our present circumstance, telling us that no matter how challenging, no matter how bleak, our poverty, our sorrow, our humility, our hunger, our mercy, our focused hearts, our passion towards peace, even our suffering for the cause of justice in the here and the now have meaning . . . cosmic meaning.

Blessings are not blow-out-the-candle birthday wishes . . . rather, blessings speak something into reality.  Blessing are an act of creation.  And as such, blessings are incredibly brave and faith-filled things to offer . . . the creation of comfort where there seems to be none to be had . . . the creation of hope where things seem hopeless . . . the creation of rest right smack-dab in the middle of unrest . . . the creation of peace in the midst of violence . . .

My blessing offered for us all this year some of us name 2012 . . .

Blessed is the human as it struggles and writhes in its own birth, life and dying pangs, for it will find creativity . . . and solace . . . meaning and purpose . . . life and all its attendant joys . . .

May it be so, O Lord, may it be so.

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