S2E3 – Blessings

  • In this episode, we move on from everyday things that serve as kinds of “secular sacramentals” to everyday Catholic items and practices that point us toward God. We begin with blessings. Sacramentals, which are often blessed, remind us that every baptized person is called to be blessed and to be a blessing, as described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • The Sign of the Cross is a fundamental, iconic statement of Catholic blessing with deep roots in history. St. Cyril of Jerusalem talked about it, as did Tertullian. Here’s more historic context for the Sign of the Cross and the role of Pope Innocent III in establishing it more firmly in the Church.
  • Details rounding out Ken’s mention of St. Benedict of Nursia and the Jubilee Medal of St. Benedict, one of the most popular sacramentals.
  • Out of the mouth proceed blessing and cursing. Here’s a description of the history of a habit, saying “God Bless You.” Also, this book, a dictionary of interjections such as “Zounds!”, walks you through “minced words”—which may derive from blessings or curses—mostly from the colorful past of our English language.
  • Presidents and other prominent citizens often invoke blessings on the United States, and “God Bless America” is a song that regularly appears in our public discourse. Here’s a clip from a pro hockey game that Bill remembers from the 1970s in which the great Kate Smith belted out her signature song, leaving Bill with a memorable impression of how powerful the blending of a spiritual message with a sporting event can be.

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