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25th Week in Ordinary Time
The dwelling of the just he blesses. (Proverbs 3:33)
When he turned fifty, folk-music legend Bob Dylan was asked by Rolling Stone magazine if he was happy. He replied, “These are yuppie words, happiness and unhappiness. It’s not happiness or unhappiness; it’s either blessed or unblessed. As the Bible says, ‘Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.’ Now, that must be a happy man. Knowing that you are the person you were put on this Earth to be—that’s much more important than just being happy. Anyway, happiness is just a balloon—it’s just temporary stuff.”
Dylan’s comments are very much in line with the Book of Proverbs. This wonderful collection is a series of sayings about how to acquire wisdom. It’s about knowing how to be the person you were put on this Earth to be.
As we can see from today’s reading, a big part of gaining wisdom lies in understanding the difference between being blessed and unblessed. Growing in the knowledge and love of God means blessing. But focusing too much on what is passing can take us away from blessing.
While Proverbs does show us what a blessed life should look like, it is not a book of rules that must be followed or else. It’s written as if a loving father were speaking to his son or daughter.
Our Father can’t help but love us, and the more we follow his ways, the more open we find ourselves to the blessings that are constantly streaming from heaven. The opposite of blessing—the curse—isn’t God striking someone down. It’s the condition where he’s unable to bless because we have blocked the flow of his mercy.
Do you understand how much God wants to bless you? He wants it so much that he died to pour out his blessings. The fruits of his Spirit—things like love, joy, peace, patience, and gentleness—are what make for a truly happy life, and they are what God delights to shower on you. It’s up to you to accept them and to cooperate with his grace. So follow the wise words of this inspired book, and become a generous, open-hearted receiver of everything God wants to give you!
“Father, I need your wisdom. Come teach me how to conform my will to yours.”
Psalm 15:2-5; Luke 8:16-18
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