Saturday, March 20, 2010


How to pronounce it? Just "blest?" One syllable? Or "bles - sed," two syllables?

What a beautiful word, either way. It means various things, but among the more common are "consecrated by a religious ceremony . . . hallowed, holy . . . enjoying supreme felicity . . . happy, fortunate . . . enjoying the bliss of heaven." Oxford English Dictionary.

Bliss = your own copy of OED.

Last night EO woke up in the middle of the night, thinking. It happens often enough that I wonder if I should form a pre-dawn support group, consisting of people I can reliably email or phone at zero-dark-thirty to discuss what is keeping my eyelids open, even though I am very tired.

Early this morning my thoughts happened to be a frequent - though not a welcome - guest. Up through my bubbling subconscious came the sense of having not been enough: not enough for my children, not enough for my wife, not enough for God, not enough for my friends.

Now this may have been fueled by the wine I had at supper, but these thoughts have been frequent enough visitors that I cannot blame alcohol entirely. Alcohol is simply a facilitator, not a cause.

I was not feeling bles-sed, or blest; quite the opposite. I was feeling a failure for not being enough. I was thinking of what a small and inadequate life I have led.

But through the haze of weird chemical reactions, odd personality disorders and bad memories came a very short and quiet thought, the kind I have come to believe is the "word of God" that people write about hearing.

"Aren't small lives the ones Christ was talking about in the Beatitudes?"

Region of the Beatitudes. Not a lot of big stuff here.
So this morning I read the Beatitudes again, after Mrs. EO gave me a pep-talk (she is, fortunately, a life-long cheerleader for the wounded and sad).

I noticed that nowhere in the Beatitudes did it say "blessed are the rich and powerful" or "blessed are the famous." Nope.



Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who
hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean in heart,
for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted
for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew chapter 5.

No matter how small and insignificant my life may be, and no matter how poor my decisions may have been, at this moment and at every moment of my life these doors to blessedness are available to me on exactly the same terms as to every other human being, whether great or small.

And in God's economy, in His society, these are the things that count. Fame and beauty, power and prestige, wealth and privilege: all of it "withers and fades," in the words of Isaiah.

"The Prophet Isaiah."

He wrote in the 8th century B.C., but his words still strike home, because they are true:

The grass withers, the flower fades
but the word of the Lord stands forever.

Isaiah chapter 40.

So, as the noted philosopher Carl Spackler once said,

"I got that goin' for me. Which is nice."

Philosopher King Carl Spackler.
Photo credit


  1. ahh yes. and when we are awoken at those crazy hours I believe it is our guardian angel nudging us to pray for those in need. I find myself awoken between 0300 and 0330 more often than not. I start the prayer that comes to mind and trust that my angel finishes when I drift off once again no matter how long it takes.
    Cling to your faith and believe!

  2. Prayers are the only comfort, most times. The Rosary is much better than Ativan. This I know from careful comparison.

  3. I also wake but around 5am. Don't phone me at your 3am I'll be trying to get to work at 8am. Lost? I'm in Scotland. But what I'd suggest for imsomniacs is a prayer or mantra you'll never use when awake. If you say the Rosary to get to sleep, you'll always fall asleep when you say the Rosary during the day.
    The music is really beautiful. Our previous parish played it during Communion, which was perhaps a little distracting from the intimacy but certainly focussed the mind on what you were to receive.
    I liked Stephen Covey's books on 7 habits for aligning what we think is important to us with how we live out our lives so we act out of principle and so are people of integrity. It's often reassured me when I've had so many of those self-critical thoughts, which are really from the devil to lead us to discouragement. If I don't stop typing now it WILL be 3am.

  4. Wonderful to hear from Celtic! Thanks for the generous thoughts.