By Susanna Bolle
Etymology is rocking my world! (Etymology is the study of the sources of words.) “Why” is etymology rocking my world you might you ask? Because of the word eulogeo (yoo-log-eh’-o). This is the Greek word for “bless.” Break that down even further and you will find that the origin of the word “bless” comes from eu (yoo) and logos. Eu meaning well done, good, or rightly and Logos meaning a word, or a divine announcement. This research was prompted after reflecting on a passage in Luke chapter two on the Presentation in the Temple.
In this passage, we learn of Simeon’s eagerness to see the face of Christ. His anticipation represents the hope which the devout Jews clung to, the hope that Jerusalem would one day be restored to God’s law. Simeon awaited meeting his Savior face to face, for “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord” (Luke 2:26). The Holy Spirit accompanied him in his patience, and finally, the day came when the humble parents brought their child Jesus to present him to the Lord. Upon entering the temple, Simeon’s hope was fulfilled. He took Jesus into his arms and “blessed God.”
Wait. How does that work? Simeon “blessed” God? How can one bless God? God is the bestower of all blessings. Isn’t it prideful for one to believe that they can “bless” God? Well, let’s take a closer look at his blessing to find out.
Simeon says aloud to God, “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
Now, eu means rightly. There is no question that what Simeon said was rightly. Jesus is a light to the world, a glory for all people. What Simeon said is good; what he said is well done. Logos means a divine announcement. With the Holy Spirit as Simeon’s companion, it gives his words profundity. He speaks eloquently, with the Holy Spirit as his guide, as he proclaims the divine announcement that his eyes have seen the salvation which has been prepared for all people.
Jesus, the one to bring salvation to all people, was brought to the temple by his parents, Mary and Joseph. Tomorrow we celebrate the great Feast of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Unlike Simeon, Joseph is not known for being a man of many words, yet his silent humility and selflessness have proven that he was a virtuous husband to Mary and formed his son well. Indeed, we are blessed by the example of both of these holy men, Simeon’s divine announcement and Joseph’s silent virtue.
About the Author:
Susanna Bolle is the Evangelization Manager with the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis in the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis and a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry program with the School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas. When she’s not reading and writing you can find her brewing French press coffee in her kitchen, spending sunny mornings and starry evenings with friends on her porch, and reading wine labels in an effort to discover the perfect Pinot Noir. You can follow her travels at: http://fiatandalily.blogspot.com/.