What does it mean to ‘bless’? It is not an easy word to define. The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives a range of meanings, which include
A blessing is a form of grace; it is invisible. Grace is the permanent climate of divine kindness.
To bless is certainly similar to being loving towards, to think well of, and to do good for others. In the midst life, whatever it throws up for us, God blesses us, but sometimes that can be hard for us to recognize. The disciples found it difficult to recognize the blessing in Jesus’ death until after the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The philosophers at Athens were unaware of the blessings offered to them by the ‘unknown God’ until Paul’s impassioned oration on Mars Hill.
We, too, are called to be like God in blessing others in both the good and the hard times, in all the ordinariness of life. To bless is like O’Donohue’s phrase, ‘the eucharist of the ordinary’:
We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
God has blessed us so much, and God’s blessing far outweighs and out performs any blessings we might give. But in seeking to bless, to be loving no matter what life is throwing at us, we behave like God, like Jesus. And when we bless, even in difficult times, says Peter, we will find ourselves blessed as well!