"Blessed are you among women," says Elizabeth to her cousin Mary, who carries inside her womb the Son of God, "and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Mary later claims this word for herself, singing the verses of the Magnificat: "Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed."
First Elizabeth, and then Mary, use this word "blessed" to describe the circumstances surrounding the life of Jesus, even when he is an unborn child in his mother’s womb.
Jesus advances in wisdom and age and favor. Many years later, as a young adult, he passes the blessing on to a crowd of people he encounters in his ministry:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land."
Again and again, he uses the word "blessed" to describe the children of God. "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are the clean of heart. Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.
"And when people insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me — rejoice and be glad. You are blessed. And your reward will be great in heaven."
"Blessed" means more than lucky or fortunate or even happy. When Jesus tells us we are "blessed," he’s telling us we are not only members of the human family, we are members of God’s family through our baptism. We are chosen and highly favored children of God.
Parents of children of all ages would do well to follow the example of Elizabeth, Mary and Jesus: telling our children they are chosen and highly favored. We are blessed.