Reflection: Two Kinds of Blessing
by Father Don Thomas
There is nothing magical or superstitious about blessings . God is the One who does the blessing. One blessing is for people and the other is for things, such as rosaries, bibles, medals, and similar items. The blessing for people is called an Invocative Blessing and the blessing for things is called a Constitutive Blessing.
This is the the one for people. It is like the blessing at the end of Mass, or like the one the priest would use when he visits you in the hospital or in your home, or when you ask the priest for a blessing prior to surgery, a trip, and similar things. The word "invocative" comes from the word "invoke" which in turn comes from the Latin word "voco" — to call. Through the Invocative Blessing, the priest or deacon is calling upon God to bless you as a person or family. "May the blessing of God come down upon you and remain with you forever. Amen." This is an example of the Invocative Blessing.
This blessing is the one for things. The word constitutive Coming from the Latin verb "constituo", which means to determine, to establish, or to set aside. The purpose of this blessing is to set aside the rosary or the medal or the bible as something special and to be respected as something blessed and sacred. Here is an example of the Constitutive Blessing: "Almighty God, we ask your blessing upon this Bible. May it be a source of learning and blessing for all those who read it. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen"....
Another example: "Almighty God, we ask your blessing upon this home. Bless it and protect it from all trouble such as fire, storms and floods, and may the peace of Your Son, Christ, be in this home and in the hearts of those living here. Amen".
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