Thursday, October 22, 2020

Sorrow, Comfort, & The Desire To Be Blessed (Mary's Seventh Sorrow)

Two people show up unexpectedly as Jesus dies on the cross.

They're late in coming—but not too late.

It's Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, two of Jesus' secret disciples. To this point, they've only met privately with Jesus for fear that his friendship could destroy their hard-earned reputations and high rank on the Council. However, in the final hours of Jesus' life, something changes.

Not only do Nicodemus and Joseph publicly identify as Jesus' followers, they ask Pilate for his body and then provide everything needed for Jesus' anointing and burial. Their actions passionately declare: I know this man. I love him. I bless him.

This is the final post in a series on Mary's Seven Sorrows as reflected in our seven basic human desires. This week we consider Mary's Seventh Sorrow, Placing Our Lord in the Tomb, in light of our basic human desire to be blessed.

To be blessed is for someone to see us as special and beloved. Surely Mary always had this regard for Jesus. From the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel first described Jesus to Mary—"the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God"—she believed in the unique goodness of her Son. How deep her sorrow as she buries the One who blessed her, who knew her and loved her better than any other. And now, as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea help with the entombment, they confirm a similar deep friendship with Jesus: yes, this is someone special, and we love him.

Are you blessed by someone in your life, someone who sees you, knows you, and loves you just for who you are? 

"Affirmations are about what we do, [and] blessings are about who we are," Mark and Debra Laaser write in Seven Desires, explaining how our desire to be affirmed differs from our desire to be blessed. "...This desire to be blessed may be our deepest, most primal need."

When we realize we are blessed—known and loved exactly for who we are—it's a nourishing comfort deep in our souls.

At Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan River, He receives a blessing from God the Father. Jesus is blessed, not for any miracles He's performed or wisdom He's shared, but simply for who He is:

"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Our first experience of blessing should be from our parents. Do you remember your parents delighting in you?

When we're unsure if we are blessed, unsure if we're loved for who we are, we might question if we're really worthy of love. It can lead to sadness, anger, and insecurity over whether we are enough.

Did you know God blesses you? God knows you and likes you. God delights in you.

Did you know we can bless the Lord? God is blessed by our desire to know him, our love for him, and our delight in him.

"Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name!"

When life is difficult—seasons of discouragement, loss, disappointment, isolation, sickness, even death—may we experience blessing, God's interminable love for us, as a deep, sustaining comfort.

When life is joyful—like the party that Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and Mary must have hosted when their friend Jesus, whom they so lovingly buried three days earlier, came back to life on the first Easter Sunday—may our celebrations spring from the comfort of blessing deep in our souls, the assurance we are seen, known, and loved by God.

Do you believe you are blessed by God—seen, known, and loved? As a parent, how can I comfort my children with the assurance they are blessed—seen, known, and loved—by both God and me?

Posts In This Series:

Sorrow, Prophecy, & The Desire To Be Affirmed

Sorrow, Comfort, & The Desire To Be Blessed

For more information on the seven basic human desires, check out: Seven Desires: Looking Past What Separates Us to Learn What Connects Us by Mark & Debra Laaser.

*Also published October 2020 at Sacred Heart Parish and May 2021 at CatholicMom.

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