18 September 2009

Benedicamus Domino

The usual dismissal at Mass here is "Let us bless the Lord," with the response being "Thanks be to God." I've been asked more than once, "Why are we being asked to 'bless' the Lord? Isn't that something God does to us? Isn't He already blessed?"

The word “bless” comes from the Old English word “blēdsian,” which had to do with a sacrificial offering of blood (thus the word “blood” from the root word “blēd”), and to bless was to exalt or glorify by offering sacrifice. The original idea of a blessing was directed toward God, indicating that we should offer Him a sacrifice of praise, not only with our lips, but with our lives.

When you think about it, it's a very appropriate dismissal: "Get out of here and go do something sacrificial for God!"