On New Year’s morning, a priest and his catechist were going through the busy streets of a big city to celebrate Mass in a church attached to his parish. Since he was diabetic, suddenly he got exhausted and stood before a tea-shop to take a cup of tea with some snacks. In front of the tea-shop was a person with developmental disabilities sitting on a heap of waste with a few bags of rags and waste papers around him. He was seated all alone laughing and talking to himself. The priest had pity on him and wanted to offer him a cup of tea. He asked the catechist to buy a cup of tea and offer it to him. The catechist was afraid that person would react violently. So, he first approached him and asked him if he would take a cup of tea. The person with developmental disabilities nodded his head and the catechist gave him a cup of tea. The priest had all the more sympathy and he bought two ‘buns’ and approached him. The man got up and looked into the face of the priest and asked the priest with concern, “Did you eat?” He continued, “You are tired.” He received the two ‘buns’, took one and returned the other to the priest and said, “You take this.” These three sentences with three words each and the grace-filled eyes on the dirt-covered face of the “mad man” touched the priest and disturbed him very much that day. In his sermon, he narrated this story and said, “even if there is no one in this world to be worried about my welfare and concern, God will send a person with disabilities to inquire about my health and well-being and would tell me that he is concerned for me’. The man in rags and dirt, with developmental disabilities, was a source of blessing for the priest because he offered the “God-experience” to the priest.
The Hebrew word for blessing is “barak” or “berakah” which means to kneel down. A blessing is to bring a gift to another on bended knee. When we say, “be a blessing”, it means make a gift of oneself to the other. A gift is the symbol of a love relationship, a symbol of peace, respect and recognition. In this offering, the other experiences the concern and love of the parent God. For persons vowed to live in community and fellowship, there is no other way to experience “God” except in the self-gift of one to the other. Only those who can kneel (in humility), those who can offer themselves (as a sacrifice), those who esteem and honor others (in relationship) can be a blessing to others. Our holy founder St. Louis Guanella said, “God’s grace and blessing must be the whole treasure of our hearts”.
The New Year, 2013 is now here with newness, dreams, visions and reality; a time for us to become blessings for others. In the religious context God-centered, other-centered outlook, bless what’s good and beautiful; we can even throw away the negative experience of our “egoism” because God does not keep a record of our failures. God has given to us a blank check with his signature and it is up to us to write the amount of forgiveness, compassion and God’s love. Our Blessed Mother, in this Year of Faith, is the best example- her “Divine Motherhood” is the source of every blessing and a sign of God’s love.