I admit, it is an unusual topic for this, or any, Catholic blog.
But bear with me a second, because I have to get something off my chest.
You see, in the northeast United States, when someone sneezes, most will quickly respond with a "blesh you".
I looked it up, and Mr. Webster does not recognize it as a word. (Even my autocorrect is furious I won't replace it in this post.) Which means most of us are just speaking nonsense to our fellow sneezers.
And that got me thinking about why we even bless them anyway.
Turns out there are many theories.
A long time ago, people believed a sneeze released a person's soul for a short time. Thus, people blessed sneezers so Satan did not grab their exposed soul. Others believed the opposite ... that a sneeze released a demon from the body. A blessing on them was to keep the demon from reentering.
When plagues ran rampant, a sneeze was believe to be an indication of contamination, and thus, death. So a blessing was necessary for them.
At one point it was even believed a person's heart stopped when they sneezed. A blessing here was to get the heart pumping again!
In any case, none of the theories I came across carried much weight, and I was left feeling the "bless you" was merely an old habit just passed on from generation to generation.
Nonetheless, we can all use more blessings! So my request for the world is as follows ...
If you are going to bless someone ... then BLESS them, don't Blesh them!