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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery


applied to man, the word “blessing” means adoration and surren-

der to his Creator in thanksgiving.


From the beginning until the end of time the whole of

God’s work is a


From the liturgical poem of the first

creation to the canticles of the heavenly Jerusalem, the inspired

authors proclaim the plan of salvation as one vast divine blessing.


From the very beginning God blessed all living beings,

especially man and woman. The covenant with Noah and with all

living things renewed this blessing of fruitfulness despite man’s

sin which had brought a curse on the ground. But with Abraham,

the divine blessing entered into human history which was moving

toward death, to redirect it toward life, toward its source. By the

faith of “the father of all believers,” who embraced the blessing, the

history of salvation is inaugurated.


The divine blessings were made manifest in astonishing

and saving events: the birth of Isaac, the escape from Egypt (Pass-

over and Exodus), the gift of the promised land, the election of

David, the presence of God in the Temple, the purifying exile, and

return of a “small remnant.” The Law, the Prophets, and the

Psalms, interwoven in the liturgy of the Chosen People, recall these

divine blessings and at the same time respond to them with bless-

ings of praise and thanksgiving.


In the Church’s liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed

and communicated. The Father is acknowledged and adored as the

source and the end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In

his Word who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, he fills us

with his blessings. Through his Word, he pours into our hearts the

Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit.


The dual dimension of the Christian liturgy as a response of

faith and love to the spiritual blessings the Father bestows on us is thus

evident. On the one hand, theChurch, unitedwithher Lord and “in the

Holy Spirit,”


blesses the Father “for his inexpressible gift”


in her

adoration, praise, and thanksgiving. On the other hand, until the con-

summation of God’s plan, the Church never ceases to present to the

Father the offeringof his owngifts and tobeghimto send theHolySpirit

upon that offering, upon herself, upon the faithful, and upon thewhole

world, so that through communion in the death and resurrection of

Christ the Priest, and by the power of the Spirit, these divine blessings

will bring forth the fruits of life “to the praise of his glorious grace.”






2 Cor