Wit's End . . . notes from the principal
Feeling blessed. Blessing another. Which of these phrases resonated with you immediately? Some form of the word ‘bless’ is uttered innumerable times each and every day. The word is used to request, to implore, to provide, to thank, to bestow. It frequently invokes God as an intercessor, but can also be a communication shared person to person, regardless of age.
Consider a most common usage. There is an expression in most languages that suggests a blessing of sorts as the reply to one who has sneezed. The phrase, “God bless you” or “Bless you” is often attributed to Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century. The bubonic plague had reached Rome and the Pope requested prayers be offered immediately to anyone who sneezed, as sneezing was considered a first sign or symptom of the plague to come. Certainly, many years later as this phrase became customary, it continued as a wish for intercession and improved health, sneezing still rightfully associated with a possible cold or allergy. Over time, many other superstitions evolved as explanation, including that a sneeze expelled the soul, or opened the body to invasion by evil spirits, or even that it marked a moment when the heart actually stopped beating. None of these have merit. Nice to know, however, that in some cultures a sneeze is believed to be a signal of good fortune to come. Take your pick. Whatever you consider the response to mean, I gladly accept anytime a blessing is thrown my way.