Question: Father Andrew, your blessing. I asked a priest to bless me to read the Psalter on behalf of my newly-reposed mum. He said, “I won’t give you my blessing!” I was taken aback. He added, “You can’t carry that burden. Remember your mum during morning prayer and send prayer notes to the altar to be prayed for at the Liturgy.” I’m positively shocked by his response. Please, Father, tell me why the priest didn’t want to bless me and what shall I do about it? Helena.
Answer: You were asking for the priest’s blessing, totally convinced that he will bless you and you will start reading the Psalter. He didn’t bless you, though. What should you do now? You can go to another priest and ask his blessing—or you can obey the priest who didn’t bless you. I’d choose the second option and pray for my mother during my morning and evening prayers. If the priest didn’t bless your reading the Psalter, you can read an akathist for the newly-reposed and add some prostrations.
It’s wrong when we ask for a blessing as if it’s a given: “Father bless me to go there…” “Bless me to do this or that…” Actually, the priest is free to reply, “No, I won’t bless you.” Is he crazy or something, huh? Why? How dare he not bless me if I’ve arranged everything already?! That’s our attitude to God’s blessing.
If you have doubts, don’t ask for a priestly blessing. People take the blessing and then don’t follow it or change the course of their action as they please. Will we be able to follow the blessing if it doesn’t correspond to our desires? Will we humble ourselves down? That’s the question of our faith.
Of course, you must pray for your mum. You can remember her at the Liturgy, take communion and pray for her, or you can ask someone else to read the Psalter for her in the church. You must work as hard as you can to help your mother’s soul.
December 17, 2018
St. Elisabeth Convent