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Blessed, Blessedness and Blessings

“Our Lord Jesus Christ entered into this world to endure its suffering. He did not simply remove it from us, He shared in it. And as a result, He transformed it. Now, when we approach suffering with faith, it can become a source of blessings. When we introspect through the prism of suffering, rooted in prayer, we learn its meaning for our own lives. In one instance, it points us toward repentance, and in another it presents us with an opportunity to trust God. It is in this way that we can respond to suffering the same way St Paul did, that whatever we experience, “all things work together for good to those who love God.” (Rom 8:28).” (Priest Joseph Lucas)

“We must not be distressed by anything that happens to us, even if it affects our present weaknesses. For although we don’t know why everything that happens to us is sent by God as a blessing, we should be convinced that everything that happens to us is for our good.”(St. Basil the Great)

“We have a light fixture over our front door that glints in the sun and is attractive to birds. Every year without fail, a bird tries to build its nest on that light. Because I know that any nest that is built there is bound to fall, I always break up the nests just as the birds begin to make them. After several frustrating attempts, they move to a large maple tree in our garden, and there safely build their seasonal home far from any danger of falling. Like those unknowing feathered creatures, we too, oftentimes find that our dreams and plans are frustrated and lead to failure. We cannot help but wonder why God allows the earthly nests that we struggle so hard and work to build to fall apart and crumble before us. But the fact is that we cannot see as God does; if we too could judge events from the perspective of eternity, we would come to understand that God seeks for us a higher destiny, and a place of true serenity and provision for our deepest needs. How wonderful it would be if we could each learn to trust God in those times when we too experience the dark passages that enter our lives. How reassured we would be if we never questioned God’s wisdom and goodness, even at those times when we find him disturbing the nests that we try to build. When we come to accept the providential care of God with childlike simplicity we soon discover that the barriers we encounter in our lives, can in retrospect, come to be numbered among our greatest blessings.” (Rev. Andrew J. Demotses)

“…the Lord helps us prepare for spiritual trauma by reframing our perception of His Cross: “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you” (Jn 16:7). The Lord’s departure (by means of His Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension) sets in place the necessary, eternal foundation of our salvation. We receive an ineffable blessing from God, for Christ has trampled down death by death once and for all. He bestows life upon all of us who take His hand, allowing the Savior to raise us up from spiritual death.” (Dynamis 6/2/2020)

“For thousands of years it has been common knowledge that we feel better when we take time to count our blessings. But only recently have we begun to understand the important role gratitude plays in helping to preserve mental and physical health, strengthen the immune system, and promote resiliency…Gratitude gives us the power to look pain straight in the eye and to be at peace instead of despairing. It gives us the ability to derive genuine enjoyment from small blessings even when evil, suffering, and pain are crowding in on us.” (Robin Phillips)

“You need an attitude of gratitude!” This was the response that an amazing prisoner gave me, when I asked him how he maintained a positive spirit inside the medium security prison where he lived.…when I asked…what was his secret to living a Christ-centered life in prison, he surprisingly responded, “An attitude of gratitude. You need to always see things for which you can be grateful, and then consciously thank God for them. Never focus on what you don’t have, or on how unfair life is, but thank God for what you do have, and for the blessings He gives us each and every day. Such an attitude of gratitude changes one’s perspective on life.” (Fr. Luke A. Veronis)

“…each one of us experiences unpleasant things in our lives that we cannot change. Sometimes the circumstances of our lives can make us feel like we’re stuck in the trenches, confined to conditions from which we would prefer to escape. For some, their prison bars might be an unpleasant job or the lack of any job at all. For others, it might be a family member who is a source of difficulty or irritation. For others, it might be a physical infirmity or the memory of past mistakes and squandered opportunities. Whatever our particular challenges may be, the choice remains the same: we can focus our attention on what we wish were different about our lives, or we can practice gratitude for the blessings that are still available to us, looking to God to help us grow through our challenges.” (Robin Phillips)

“A while back I adopted a practice during my morning prayer of giving God thanks for the small blessings of the previous day. Often these are simple things such as thank you for time spent with my family yesterday; thank you for the nice walk; or thank you for my child coming home safely after a day spent with friends.’ I found that offering daily thanks for the smallest of blessings, despite my own good or bad circumstances at the time, has helped me continually understand God’s goodness and people’s goodness, and not succumb to all of the forces that would have us believe the world is disproportionately darker than it is.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“…we often lack the spiritual vision to see our blessings or ourselves so clearly. We may think that God has simply given us our due as those who are righteous. Recall, however, how Christ taught that it is simply the human condition to be the recipient of God’s blessings, “For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45)… We must name and give thanks for our blessings each day as we offer them and ourselves to the Lord for the fulfillment of His purposes for us, our neighbors, and our world. The more we fill our minds with thanksgiving, the less room there will be for the distractions of dark thoughts that serve only to fuel our passions. That is how we will gain the spiritual clarity to see that the Lord Who has conquered death is always with us and will never abandon us. How, then, can we not give thanks?” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“…let us remember the Lord’s blessings far more than we contemplate tribulations. Even when we encounter very serious challenges, God gives us countless consolations, which we often take for granted!…contentment and inner peace do not arise from having a life free from hardship, but from cultivating a disposition of appreciation for even the smallest blessings.” (Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, Robin Phillips)

“From the beginning, God has revealed Himself to mankind. He never ceases to reach out to His creation with abundant blessings, desiring all to freely partake of the personal communion He offers.” (The Right Reverend Joseph, Bishop of Los Angeles and the West)

“Being blessed or successful is not a once for all time, dramatic event, but rather a lifetime of choosing to follow God and His commandments…The Lord’s desire has always been to bless His people.” (Foundation Study Bible, Psalms 1:1, Jeremiah 3:19)

“…the Lord constantly blesses us through the gift of the Holy Spirit… We are still blessed, for Christ continues to come among us according to the pattern of the eleven Resurrection appearances described in the Gospels.” (Dynamis 5/28/2014)

“He who prays must hunger after, must ardently desire those blessings - especially the spiritual ones - the forgiveness of sins, the cleansing, the sanctification, the strengthening in virtue, for which he prays, otherwise, it will be a useless waste of words. The same applies to thanking and praising the Lord; hunger and thirst to constantly thank and praise the Lord, for everything comes from Him, everything is the gift of His goodness and mercy.” (St. John of Kronstadt)

“The blessings God intends to put into our hearts are more generous than we can possibly contain, yet this also depends on the spirit in which we ourselves give and forgive.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 6:37-38)

“Most of us are not destined to inherit vast wealth or to be blessed with unique gifts that lead to greatness. But we are, nonetheless, each endowed with the priceless opportunity to profoundly affect others for the good. We can each do our very best to live in such a way that the effect of our work, faith, and witness continues on after we are long gone. We can do this by demonstrating to others the reality of God, and the joy of being committed Christians. In this way, the next generation, through God’s grace, will come to know the lasting power of our life.” (Rev. Andrew Demotses)

“Life is blessedness, and not simply because we believe in blessed eternity; but here on earth life can be blessed, if we live with Christ—fulfilling His holy commandments. If a man is not tied to earthly goods, but will in all things rely only on God, will live for Christ and in Christ, then life here on earth will become blessed." (St. Barsanuphius of Optina)

“Evil and sin have brought violence and death into a realm that was created for peace and life. In this fallen world, violence is so prevalent that even for those who seek and do what is right and just, the response will often be persecution. But Christ calls the peacemakers and the righteous “blessed.” (Archbishop Demetrios of America)

“God has appointed many to sow the message of His blessings! Let us enter into the work and make disciples of the nations. It need not be an overwhelming task, for wherever we are we will find simple ways to enter “into their labors.” Let us never doubt how significant the work is, nor question whether we are suited to take part in this great world enterprise.” (Dynamis 5/18/2014)

“...people believe in God. But there are some who even know Him. To believe in God is good but it is more blessed to know God. Nevertheless, those who believe are blessed, too..." (St. Silouan the Athonite)

“We often think of blessings as gifts that we will enjoy. But when God blesses us, his blessings may also overflow to others—today and into eternity…Because God has showered us with his blessings, we should give generously to others of our time, love, and possessions.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 22:15-18, Matthew 10:8)

“I believe that sometimes God wants to bless us beyond whatever blessing we pray for. And sometimes what stops that from happening is us…God is more anxious to bestow His blessings on us than we are to receive them.” (Crystal McVea & Alex Tresniowski, St. Augustine of Hippo)

“You should continually and unceasingly call to mind all the blessings which God in His love has bestowed on you in the past, and still bestows for the salvation of your soul. You must not let forgetfulness of evil or laziness make you grow unmindful of these many and great blessings, and so pass the rest of your life uselessly and ungratefully.” (St. Mark the Ascetic)

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