Questo articolo è disponibile anche in: Italian English

Dear father Angelo, my name is Alessio and I am 29 years old.

I am writing to you because I would like a clarification on blessing.

In ancient Semitic thought, blessing (Berakhah) was something objectively existing and verifiable. The “blessing” represented a real activity, which produced direct and immediate consequences. This concept of Berakhah is well documented by several passages contained in the books of the Old Testament.

As in Genesis in chapter 27 when Jacob by deception takes for himself the blessing that was meant to be for his brother Esau:

<<“Esau exclaimed, He has been well named Jacob! He has now supplanted me twice! First he took away my birthright, and now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he pleaded, “Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?

Isaac replied: “I have already appointed him your master, and I have assigned to him all his kinsmen as his slaves; besides, I have enriched him with grain and wine. What then can I do for you, son?”>>.

<<But Esau urged his father, “Have you only that one blessing, father? Bless me too!” Isaac, however, did not reply; and Esau wept aloud>>.

My question is if this was the blessing in ancient Semitic thinking, how did we get to the spiritual blessing we have today?

While awaiting your reply, I give you my best regards.


Answer from the priest

Dear Alessio,

1. What you have pointed out is true. The blessings in the Old Testament are effective and mostly material. The promised land is the strip of land where Jacob’s 12 tribes later lived.

2. However, even in the Old Testament there is the announcement of a blessing of a spiritual order. And that’s what God gave to Abraham when he said to him: “All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you”.

In you, that is, in your person and in your offspring.

All nations will be blessed through your offspring especially in Christ.

St. Paul will say it clearly when he writes:

“Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his descendant. It does not say, “And to descendants,” as referring to many, but as referring to one, “And to your descendant, who is Christ” (Gal 3,16).

3. Now the blessing that Christ came to bring us is above all of a spiritual order: “But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God” (John 1,12).

“Children of God!”, Which is equivalent to becoming by grace or divine adoption what Christ is by nature.

4. Jesus asks us to seek this blessing which lasts forever, for all eternity, while the goods of this world are fleeting and sooner or later we must leave them:

“But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness (that is, holiness), and all these things will be given you besides”. (Matthew 6,33).

This spiritual blessing is an inestimable grace

5. Saint Paul expresses very well the contents of this spiritual blessing especially in the letter to the Ephesians where he explicitly says:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens”. (Ephesians 1,3).

“every spiritual blessing”: these spiritual blessings are of various kinds.

6. The first blessing consists in the vocation “to be holy and without blemish before him in love” (Ephesians 1,4).

In love, because through love God lives personally in us and we in God (1 Jn 4:16).

The second blessing: “he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will” (Ephesians 1,5).

The way chosen for this holiness is that of a divine sonship, of which Jesus Christ, the only Son, is the source and model (see Rom 8:29).

The third blessing: “In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1,7).

Here Saint Paul refers to the historical work of the redemption accomplished by Christ through the cross.

The fourth blessing: “he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him” (Ephesians 1,9).

It is the revelation of the mystery of which St. Paul speaks in Rm 16:25 and above all concerns the call of all pagans to participate in the supernatural life of God.

The fifth blessing: “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,

so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ” (Ephesians 1,11).

«Chosen by God», the absolute good is the greatest of all because it is eternal and infinite!

The sixth blessing: “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1,13).

St. Paul is speaking to the Ephesians, who were considered pagans. Well, they too are called to share the salvation already reserved for Israel.

They are sure of it because they have received the promised Spirit.

Wishing you all the benefits of this eternal spiritual blessing, I bless you and I’ll remember you in my prayers.

Father Angelo