Are you #blessed? On social media, the term has become so trivialized that many in my circles have begun to use it superficially, or even ironically. In a recent post, one friend shared a photo of several pints of ice cream, hashtagging it with “#blessed.”
The trend, however sacrilegious it may seem to some, has prompted me to think more deeply about what it means to be blessed. While the term has come to express a sort of surface-level gratitude in today’s cultural conversations, part of the definition of “blessed” points toward a meaning that’s much more profound. To be blessed is not merely to be happy or contented, but to be holy, sanctified. To be divinely or supremely consecrated. In other words, the fact of being blessed is powerful, revealing the presence of God in our lives and our connectedness with the Divine.
Perhaps the most noteworthy example of true blessedness can be found in the New Testament, in Christ Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes, the declarations of blessedness included in this sermon, outline some demands that may seem pretty intense, but that also promise some amazing rewards (see Matthew 5:3-12). Those who are meek will inherit the earth. Those who are pure in heart will see God. And, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
What I love about the Beatitudes is the way they take blessedness to a level beyond partial or superficial satisfaction. Jesus taught that to be blessed isn’t just to possess some measure of good. To be blessed is to know who we are and where we live: that we are actually the spiritual sons and daughters of God, and that we live in His kingdom, the kingdom of heaven. The book of First John puts it this way: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.... Beloved, now are we the sons of God” (3:1, 2).
Now that’s blessedness! God, our Father-Mother, loves us because we are made in His, Her, image; we are God’s treasured sons and daughters now. Just think! We aren’t miserable mortals, doomed to struggle endlessly after good, after health, after wholeness. Right now, we are children of the one God, as Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Jesus taught but one God, one Spirit, who makes man in the image and likeness of Himself, – of Spirit, not of matter” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 94).
This precious fact of our spiritual heritage, origin, and being – as taught in Christian Science – had practical effects for me when I was struggling with the symptoms of a heavy cold. Admittedly, feeling blessed while I was also feeling miserable probably seems incongruous; it did to me at first. But as I started with gratitude for even a few basic truths – that God, divine Love, loves me infinitely; that infinite Love, which embraces all of us, excludes pain, suffering, or evil of any kind – something began to shift. Instead of feeling doomed to misery, I realized that each of us, as God’s child, is supremely cherished. That God loved His children too much to ever allow me, or any of us, to suffer. What a blessing!
With this recognition of these spiritual facts, a deep feeling of blessedness replaced my misery, and I was quickly healed.
What I took away from this experience is that while there may be many individual definitions of what it means to feel #blessed, what’s universal is the fact that being truly blessed involves God’s affirmation of His tender love for us, of His grace, mercy, and constant care. As our thought yields to this sacred truth, God’s goodness becomes real to us, becomes all to us. And the power of blessedness comes to light – supporting tangible, undeniable healing.