Monday, May 05, 2008

Poll-Release Monday #49

Continuing with the USCCB's Quiz on the Catechism, here is this week's poll question:

True or False? Prayer is directed primarily at Jesus
Once you vote, don't forget to click the "Comments" link at the bottom of the poll and explain your vote. If True, why? If False, why?

As for the previous poll, here are the results:
  • True or False? It is appropriate for man to bless God
    • True: 45 (78%)
    • False: 13 (22%)
Ashamedly, I got this one wrong. Here is the correct answer:
  • True. See CCC, no. 2626-2627:

    2626: Blessing expresses the basic movement of Christian prayer: it is an encounter between God and man. In blessing, God's gift and man's acceptance of it are united in dialogue with each other. The prayer of blessing is man's response to God's gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing.

    2627 Two fundamental forms express this movement: our prayer ascends in the Holy Spirit through Christ to the Father - we bless him for having blessed us (cf.
    Eph 1:3-14; 2 Cor 1:3-7; 1 Pet 1:3-9); it implores the grace of the Holy Spirit that descends through Christ from the Father - he blesses us (cf. 2 Cor 13:14; Rom 15:5-6,13; Eph 6:23-24).
Despite that answer, I can see why this may still be confusing. What does it mean to "bless" God? Usually when I think of "blessing" I think of setting something apart for holy use or making something holy, like when a priest blesses oil or water. But, we can't set God apart for holy use or make Him holy, He's already holy!

What I found is that blessing has a wider meaning than that. It can also mean "favor" as when God blesses us with every blessing (cf. Eph 1:3) or when he says that Abrahams descendents will be "blessed." This type of blessing is like a gift of joy and prosperity that God gives to us.

When we speak of blessing God, we have in mind a gift of praise to God, usually in return for the blessings that he has poured out on us. The Psalms are full of examples of man blessing God, and there are examples in the NT as well:

Psa 16:7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

Psa 26:12 My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the LORD.

Psa 34:1 A Psalm of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Psa 68:26 "Bless God in the great congregation, the LORD, O you who are of Israel's fountain!"

Psa 103:1-2,20-22 A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! 21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will! 22 Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psa 104:1,35 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty, 35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!

Psa 115:18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD!

Psa 134:1-2 A Song of Ascents. Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! 2 Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the LORD!

Psa 135:19-20 O house of Israel, bless the LORD! O house of Aaron, bless the LORD! 20 O house of Levi, bless the LORD! You that fear the LORD, bless the LORD!

Rom 1:25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

Rom 9:5 to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.

2 Cor 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed for ever, knows that I do not lie.

Pretty cool, huh? I hope that helps. For more on blessings see the following resources:
  • Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Blessing
  • Modern Catholic Dictionary: Blessing
  • New Advent Encyclopedia: Blessing
Pax Christi,


  1. I was just going to say that the verb "to bless" has multiple meanings, like you said.

    And also that in the Liturgy of the Hours, the Sunday canticle of morning prayer is all about blessing the Lord...

    "sun and moon bless the Lord, etc...(lists different aspects of creation and tells them to bless the Lord)"

    This is taken from the book of Daniel.

    Once again, awesome blog! Truly a beacon of truth in the vast wilderness of the internet.

  2. Just wanted to be sure you got the message that balloon hats are a common grace.

    Thanks for giving my brain a break for a few days, for Pete's sake.

    Can you say that on Phatcatholic?
    "Pete's sake"??? :)


  3. Amy,

    Things have been pretty busy here lately so I haven't had the time to continue our debate. However, I hope to respond to your latest comments sometime today.

    Pax Christi,

  4. I have welcomed the break. I have many responsibilities with my family and church. So, thanks.

    I'm interested in your response.

  5. There are two reasons I got this question correct.

    1. I had just read Psalms 135 that morning.

    2. MatisYahu, who is an Orthodox Jewish Rapper sings about it in one of his songs.



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