Patriarchal blessings are given by the Stake Patriarch. This is a man who is called to this position and then holds it pretty much his entire life. The same Patriarch that I saw 20 years ago for my blessing is the same man who recently pronounced the patriarchal blessing for one of my nieces who lives within that same Stake or geographic region.
So what does a Patriarchal blessing contain.
- declares linage (Which tribe of Israel do you belong. Each tribe has different responsibilities in the kingdom of God)
- Personal cousel from the Lord
- Guidance, comfort, protection
- Lord can point out your strengths, weaknesses and eternal potential
- Learn what he expects personally from you
- contains promises, admonitions and warnings.
It was the end of April, I was 16 and a Junior in High School when I recieved my Patriarchal Blessing.
Here is a picture of me, my mom and sisters at about that time. That is usually about the age when a young woman goes to the Patriarch for this special blessing. It is a good time to recieve some direction from the Lord and hopefully understand more about your eternal potential as well as your strengths and weaknesses. I headed off to college a little over a year later and remember reading this blessing many times during those years when I had recently left home. While I remember being somewhat disapointed that my blessing didn't contain more details. At times I thought it would be nice if it would just spell out exactly what you should do and what would happen. There were things in my blessing that did help me make decisions and helped stear me toward things I might not have contemplated. Over the years different things have stood out and even the same phrase has had different impact.
This week I have reread through my blessing a number of times seeing if anything in particular stood out to me at this stange in my life. For some reason I started to notice the word maintain used several times. While knowing what this word means I still looked it up in the dictionary. Maintain means to keep in appropriate condition, operation or force. It also means to preserve, or retain. Another definition was to affirm, assert or declare. I guess at this point in my life I need to be reminded to keep up the good work, to stay the course or perhaps "endure to the end". I think I like the word maintain better than endure.
So now I need to maintain but how do I do that? I can't just coast or put on cruise control. In order to function long term every car needs maintanance. Periodic checks, tune-ups and cleanings help keep a cars engine running without any major maintance. So like a car I need to maintain by doing my own daily, weekly, monthly maintance so I can operate at my full potential. I will have to specifically look at the things my blessing is telling me to maintain. I know one of the things it tells me to maintain is my testimony. If I want to "affirm, assert or declare" what I know and believe, then I need to study, pray and live the principles I know to be true.
I don't study my blessing as much as should. I read it every once in awhile but haven't really studied it in quite some time. It was good for me to take some time this week to really appreciate this guidence from the Lord directed specifically to me.