A Priest's Blessing

August 9th, 1992
Brother John Raymond

	Therese was born on Good Friday, April 8, 1898, in the small town
 of Konnersreuth, Germany. The Neumann family had a small farm with
 four cows. Her father helped the small family income working as a
 tailor. Therese, the eldest of eleven children, learned to do farm
 work. Therese says, "I was accustomed to hard work from my childhood
 and became tall and strong."
	At the age of fifteen Therese began thinking about becoming a
 missionary Sister to Africa. But in 1918 a tragic injury changed her
 life. During a fire Therese was helping to pass buckets of water to
 put it out when she injured her back. This injury led her to fall
 uncontrollably to the ground on succeeding days. These falls brought
 on paralysis and blindness. She developed pneumonia, digestive
 problems, abscesses formed in her ears causing a loss of hearing and
 bed sores developed. These physical sufferings continued for six
 years until she developed appendicitis. Her family and doctors
 expected imminent death.
	Therese had a great devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux. Even
 before her illness she had been practicing the Saint's spirituality.
 Now she begged the Saint to help her. She was not disappointed. One
 by one her illnesses were cured leaving the doctors perplexed. After
 seven years of intense suffering she was able to walk unaided.
	However, Therese's sufferings were not at an end. A voice told
 her, "You must suffer more and cooperate with priests for the
 salvation of souls." She mystically received Our Lord's Five Wounds
 in her hands, feet and side. "I saw Jesus on the Mount of Olives.
 Suddenly, while I was looking at Him, I felt such a pain in my side
 that I thought I was going to die. At the same time, I felt as
 though something hot was running down me. It was blood." This is
 Therese Neumann's description of how she received the wound in her
 side. All this took place during Lent of 1926.
	In November 1926, she suffered the marks of the Crown of Thorns
 in her head. A terrible wound on her shoulder, like the one made by
 Our Lord's carrying of the Cross, appeared on March 8, 1929. She
 received the marks of the scourging on her back on March 29. At
 times she would even bleed from her eyes.
	With these great sufferings came other more consoling graces. The
 most remarkable grace was for Therese to live without any earthly
 food, nourished by Holy Communion alone, for thirty-one years. The
 Sacred Host would remain wholly unconsumed within her from one Holy
 Communion to the next. Thus, Therese was a living tabernacle!
	Therese Neumann for a long time had suffered from a heart
 irregularity that caused her shortness of breath. In September of
 1962 she suffered from a heart attack accompanied by a very intense
 stab of pain. Doctors tried to help her but to no avail. A few days
 later, after Holy Communion, all alone in her room, Therese Neumann
 gave up her soul.
	One important lesson taught by Our Lord to Therese Neumann was
 the value of a priest's blessing. Jesus said to Therese:

	"My dear child, I wish to teach you to receive My blessing with
 fervor. . . When the priest blesses, I bless. . . Through the power
 to bless I have given the priest the power to open the treasure of
 My Heart and to pour out from It a `rain' of graces on souls. . . By
 recollection keep your heart open in order not to lose the benefit
 of the blessing. Through My blessing you receive the grace to love,
 strength to endure suffering and assistance for body and soul.
	"My holy blessing contains help for all the necessities of
 mankind. Through the blessing you are given the strength and desire
 to seek good, to avoid evil and to enjoy the protection of My
 children against the powers of darkness. . . You cannot comprehend
 how much mercy I extend through it to you. Therefore, never receive
 the blessing in a `matter-of-fact' or thoughtless way.
	"I regret that the blessing of the Church is so little prized and
 so seldom received. Your good will is strengthened through the
 blessing, your undertakings receive My special Providence, your
 weakness is overcome by My power, your thoughts and intentions are
 spiritualized, and all bad influences neutralized. I have given My
 blessing vast power. It proceeds from the unending love of My Sacred
 Heart. The greater the zeal with which the blessing is given and
 received, the greater its efficacy.
	"Esteem highly what has been blessed. . . As often as you are
 blessed, you are united closer to Me, sanctified anew, healed with,
 and protected with the love of My Sacred Heart. Often I keep hidden
 the workings of My blessing so that it is known only in eternity.
 Often it appears that blessings have no results. But wonderful are
 the workings of the blessing. . . These are often mysteries of My
 Providence that I do not wish to manifest.
	"My blessings often produce effects unknown to the soul.
 Therefore, have great confidence in this outpouring of My Sacred
 Heart. . . Receive it with good will and with the intention to
 become better; then will the blessing penetrate to the depths of
 your heart and produce its effects. Be a child of the blessing, then
 you yourself will be a blessing for others."