The John Paul ll Center Blog
Blog 3: Be Transformed - God’s Powerful Blessings
By: Dr. Bob Schuchts
"...You are my beloved son,
with you I am well pleased."
The Father's Blessing
We gain a glimpse of the divine power of the sacraments by observing the Father’s blessing of Jesus at his baptism. This marker event in Jesus’ life is the source and prototype for all the sacraments of the new covenant. Listen attentively to the Father’s affirming words as he blesses the Eternal Word: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22). These words of delight from the Father affirm Jesus’ true identity as his beloved. The Father then confirms his words by pouring out the gift of his Holy Spirit, who descends upon Jesus and remains with him, anointing him with power for his messianic mission. … Every sacrament, modeled after Jesus’ baptism, is a proclamation of God’s powerful word of benediction upon us, confirming our true identity and mission in Christ.
Curses are the antithesis of blessing (Lk 6:20–26). They bring death and difficulty in place of life and goodness (see Deuteronomy 28). Curses are deceptive and destructive words and actions that tear us down, weaken our resolve, and belittle us. Though originating in the father of lies, curses usually come from the sins of others, who themselves have been infected by similar wounds and curses. These sinful words and actions can leave devastating and lasting effects upon our identity, while infesting our souls with the debilitating lies of the evil one. Sowing into our souls and bodies seeds of discord and discouragement, over time the evil one’s curses can cause disease, and eventually death (see James 3:8-10, Deuteronomy 28).
The Power of Words
…. All of us know the experience of having curses hurled against us through the verbal assaults of others. Growing up in my neighborhood, we used to shield off these curses with a familiar retort: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” We were wrong, of course, about the power of words. Words can and often do hurt us, just as actions can, when they take hold in our being. And bones usually heal much faster than our wounded souls, after they have been injured by the insults and curses of another.
Choosing What We Believe
Hurtful words, received into our souls, can damage us for a lifetime. In the same way, words of blessing can transform our lives for good. We all know this from our own experience. But there is another crucial factor to consider in all of this. We are human beings with minds and wills… Most of the time, we can actively choose what we believe and what we allow to impact us. In our childhood saying about sticks and stones, we discovered a partial truth after all. We do have the ability to shield against words and thoughts from harming us, by choosing to resist or renounce their power. Our reception or resistance plays a huge role.
Receiving and Renouncing
Hurtful words and other curses impact us to the degree we allow them to take up residence in our being. Author John Eldredge contends that we can ward off the damaging impact of verbal assaults by choosing not to agree with the lies of the enemy. Mostly, it is up to us whether we allow words to find a home in our thoughts. With words that have already affected us, we can renounce them and overcome them by returning a curse with a blessing (Mt 5:44). This, I believe, is what wise Solomon meant when he said “a curse uncalled for never lands” (Prv 26:2).
Our Faith is Critical
… This truth works both ways. Just as evil words, thoughts, and actions only hurt us when we receive them into our hearts and believe them, the same is true with blessings. We only receive the powerful effects of blessings in our lives when we let them into our spirit and give them the power to take root in our minds and hearts. Do you see why faith is so crucial in our spiritual lives, including how we approach the sacraments?
Excerpts from pages 19-23 of Be Transformed
To pre-order a signed copy of Be Transformed, please visit our JPII Healing Center Store.
- What’s The Joy of The Lord All About?
- Blog 10: Be Transformed - Raised to Life
- Blog 9: Be Transformed - Pure and Undefiled
- Blog 8: Be Transformed - God’s Faithful Love
- Blog 7: Be Transformed - The Father’s Authority
- Blog 6: Be Transformed - Anointed with Power
- Blog 5: Be Transformed - Abiding Presence
- Blog 4: Be Transformed - The Father’s Beloved
- Blog 3: Be Transformed - God’s Powerful Blessings
- Blog 2: Be Transformed - How We Reflect God’s Glory