blessing

Anglo-Saxon: bloedsian, redden with blood

From the custom of sprinkling the altar with blood in sacrifice, as used in the Scriptures, has several meanings: praise; expression of desire that good fortune go with a person or thing; dedication of a person or thing to a sacred purpose; and a gift. In a strictly liturgical sense a blessing is a rite of ceremonies and prayers by which an authorized minister sanctifies persons or things to Divine service or invokes Divine favor upon them. The prayer usually mentions the object of the blessing and is accompanied by the sign of the Cross. In the Appendix of the Roman Ritual there are over 200 such blessings of everything imaginable: of the sick, fields, flocks, archives, libraries, food, cheese, beer, carriages, railroads, homes, airplanes, electrical machines, fire-engines, elevators, lifts, women pregnant and after delivery, organs, pilgrims, wells, schools, seismographs, horses, printing presses, vineyards, etc. In the Divine Office the blessing pronounced by the officiant upon the reader is known as the benediction. See also, Apostolic Blessing.