One of the most beautiful and profound things I get to do as a parent, is bless my children.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Para. 1669: Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a "blessing," and to bless (Cf. Gen 12:2; Lk 6:28; Rom 12:14; 1 Pet 3:9). Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry [bishops, priests, or deacons](Cf. SC 79; CIC, can. 1168; De Ben 16, 18).
Para. 1671: Among sacramentals blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) come first. Every blessing praises God and prays for his gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father "with every spiritual blessing" (Eph 1:3). This is why the Church imparts blessings by invoking the name of Jesus, usually while making the holy sign of the cross of Christ.
Para. 1672: Certain blessings have a lasting importance because they consecrate persons to God, or reserve objects and places for liturgical use. Among those blessings which are intended for persons—not to be confused with sacramental ordination—are the blessing of the abbot or abbess of a monastery, the consecration of virgins and widows, the rite of religious profession and the blessing of certain ministries of the Church (readers, acolytes, catechists, etc.). The dedication or blessing of a church or an altar, the blessing of holy oils, vessels, and vestments, bells, etc., can be mentioned as examples of blessings that concern objects.
BLESSING A CHILD
Bless (name) and keep him (her) in Your love.
Grant him (her) a good rest tonight,
And send Your angels to protect him (her).
In the Name of the Father,
And the + Son,
And of the Holy Spirit.
BLESSING OF SEVERAL CHILDREN
Heavenly Father, lover of all,
we praise you for giving us Jesus as our Saviour:
He blessed the children who came to Him,
and welcomes those who come to Him now.
Look with love upon these children.
and protect them with Your love.
May they grow in wisdom and age and strength
in Your presence and in the sight of all.
We ask this blessing, Father,
through Your beloved Son, Christ our Lord.
A website with a slightly different approach, summed it up well.
Use your thumb or forefinger and trace a cross on your child's forehead. Say "God bless you" or "God be with you" while you are blessing them. You can bless a child before he or she drifts off to sleep, before he or she leaves for school in the morning, or at any other time during the day.
Melissa Musick Nussbaum of Colorado Springs, a mother of five children, says the gesture of a blessing reminds a child that he or she belongs to God. "In a world that calls them by many other names, or that labels them with brands like Adidas, Nike, and Gap, this is a way of reminding them: ‘This is your true name. You are a child of God.' It is a powerful way to remind them over and over that this is who they truly are."
The words of a blessing, says Nussbaum, are an expression upon which a parent can rely on both the good and bad days. "We can say these words honestly and truly to our children, even if we've fought, even if there is some distance there," she says. "It is an amazing thing, blessing a child."
Blessing my children is kind of new to me. My parents set good examples, but they never blessed my brother and me. I'm sure they prayed A LOT for us though. Now that I'm a parent, this idea of "free will" isn't something I would have created. I would have kids be programmable well into their twenties. Experience is a good teacher and kids need to learn from their choices, but I'm getting a bunch of grey hair and my kids are only 3 and 1.
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