Catholic women claiming their blessings

5 Wilson zoom

Women, often, find it hard to receive blessings, and American inspirational Catholic speaker, Emily Wilson believes it takes work, effort and intentionality to claim one’s blessings. 

Ms Wilson, a US-based YouTuber with more than 125,000 subscribers and 12 million-plus views, spoke to Kiwi Catholics at a Zoom event called “Blessed: A Women’s Morning” on September 25. The event was hosted by Auckland Youth and Young Adult Ministry mission coordinator Felicity Meijer. 

“Foundationally, as women we do not bless ourselves in that root sense of the word,” Ms Wilson observed. 

“It’s so easy to hear the voice that calls us evil, bad and rotten and worthless and useless, because, my sisters, it’s easier to believe that we are cursed rather than blessed. Because it’s difficult to claim our belovedness,” she added. 

She said negative self-talk is so common.  “Why can’t you get it right?”, “you should really be working harder to lose that weight”, and “why doesn’t your house, your hair, body Instragram look like hers” are just a few of the let-downs women give themselves. 

“We do not bless ourselves this way. In doing so, we block the voice of the Beloved. We block the voice of God,” she said. 

She compared God’s blessings to a bouquet of flowers given by a husband to his wife, but the wife failed to see the flowers. 

“Sometimes, we are so busy looking at other women’s bouquets. We look at things that other women have that we don’t have,” she said.  

She said we need to look at the ways we are blocking the blessings from God and let God heal us so that we can “claim our bouquet”. 

She suggested two ways to “claim our blessedness”. The first is prayer. 

Ms Wilson quoted Dutch Catholic priest, writer and theologian Henri Nouwen who wrote: “The real ‘work’ of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me. To gently push aside and silence the many voices that question my goodness and to trust that I will hear the voice of blessing– that demands real effort.” 

“A solid prayer life takes intentionality, and it takes finding the way that you connect with God the best,” Ms Wilson said. 

She said that, for some, prayer can take place while in nature, while for others, prayer could be done by attending daily Mass. 

“Wherever you can find that space of prayer, the Lord invites you to do that. When we make that time for silence and solitude, we learn what the sound of God’s voice sounds like,” she said. “Sometimes, prayer can feel like nothing is happening in the silence, but God meets us in the silence. God is not a feeling. He cultivates (us) and, with the discipline of prayer, we can discover his voice.” 

The second way to claim one’s blessedness, said Ms Wilson, is through presence. 

“Presence is attentiveness to the blessings that come to us day after day and year after year,” she said. “It’s so important to remember when we practise presence that blessings are good things spoken, but they are also the beautiful things in our lives.” 

Ms Wilson said that, sometimes, women find it difficult to receive gifts or compliments. They try to diminish the compliments given to them in an effort to appear humble. 

“When someone is blessing you, in that moment, they are speaking your belovedness to you, and God is speaking your belovedness to you through that person. We have to be receiving that rather than diminishing it or blocking it or pushing it away. God blesses us,” she said. 

However, she said, while it is important to receive a blessing, it is also important to bless others. 

Again quoting Fr Nouwen, Ms Wilson said, “’to give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer. It is more than a word of praise or appreciation. It is more than pointing out someone’s talent or good deeds. It is more than putting someone in the light. To give a blessing is to affirm, to say yes to a person’s belovedness”. 

Ms Wilson said there is no better time to give other people blessings than the present, while the pandemic is ongoing. 

She said that blessing other people could be done simply by texting or sending an email and letting people know that you are thinking of them and praying for them at this time. 

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Rowena Orejana

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