Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Improving my car-ma: blessings

I have a new car (Holy Spirit red, though I opted out of flames down the side), and after the last six months (in which I have had 4 car accidents), my community was taking no chances.

This morning after Lauds, one of the Augustinians whipped up a new batch of holy water, we gathered up the Book of Blessings and the aspersorium (the bucket in which you put holy water to be used in an asperges — sprinkling — rite, the sprinkler itself is called an aspergillum) and processed (perhaps meandered would be a better word?) out to the parking lot to bless my car (and a couple of others as well):
"All-powerful God, Creator of heaven and earth, in the rich depths of your wisdom you have empowered us to produce great and beautiful works. Grant, we pray, that those who use this vehicle may travel safely, with care of the safety of others. Whether they travel for business or pleasure, let them always find Christ to be the companion of their journey." — from The Book of Blessings
I feel better, not necessarily because I think the car has been crash proofed (though please God, we're done with this game of bumped cars), but because I'm reminded that the boundaries between sacred and quotidian are permeable. God is present, in my car, as I drive, as inside the church walls.  And I love the reminder to have a care for others as I drive...

PrayTell today has a post about a story in the NY Times regarding spiritual cleansing of houses.  I was struck by two lines in the Times article:
"Running off the fumes of the big four religions, with a lacing of indigenous ritual and a dash of early 20th-century palaver — Madame Blavatsky by way of L. Ron Hubbard — the shamans and healers, mystics and mediums of the last century’s not-so-New Age have become indispensable exterminators for certain homeowners in New York and other big cities..." 
"Anyplace that sees a lot of traffic, she said, 'you really have to do it, just like you’re going to clean your carpets. You have a party, and you feel drained. Now we can explain it; we understand quantum physics.'"
I am a quantum physicist, and (a) I don't think we completely understand quantum physics (for example, there are these fascinating experiments that show that quantum mechanics applies to systems far larger than we thought) and (2) I don't think quantum physics explains the blessing of my car or the spiritual cleansing business.  But I still bless things.  For years (until Crash went to college) I blessed my children's heads with the sign of the cross before they went to bed.  Loaves of bread before I put them into the oven.  And remembering a priest friend who without fuss blessed my car before a late night trip back from a retreat, I blessed the car before the Boy departed for his first long solo trip (2 hours down to the beach).

Does anyone else bless the every day stuff of life? (The Book of Blessings has almost a thousand blessings in it...bridges, power stations, boats and fishing nets...)

What Crash was shocked to discover long ago about where holy water comes from....


  1. All good wishes for that new car!

  2. May the car live a peaceful existence. I have asked God to bless some glass from time to time. Especially some projects for people experiencing grief.

    1. What an incredibly beautiful thing to do!

    2. I'm hoping the car lives a mild mannered existence, too.

      The idea of blessing what we create and send on, glass or writing or casseroles or pizza is a lovely one.

  3. What a fun car! Enjoy!

    1. It is a "great and beautiful work" to quote the blessing :)