Excluded from Blessing?

Q. Why does the priest, in the final blessing at the end of the Divine Office, for example, exclude himself from the blessing?


A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:  

When he presides at a liturgy, whether the Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours, a priest undertakes a number of responsibilities. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) remarks that in the Mass a priest prays in the name of the entire Church, as well as on behalf of the local assembly gathered for the particular celebration; he also offers prayers for himself (see No. 30). Each of these responsibilities is accompanied by an appropriate vocabulary, action and posture.

The same is true when a priest participates in public recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours. As a member of the faithful gathered for prayer, he appropriately says “my” and “our” when the psalms or prayers describe things common to all the faithful. However, if he presides at the gathering, his role changes as the liturgical hour draws to its close.

At this point he no longer speaks for himself, or the group, but in the name of Christ. In Jesus’ name he greets the assembly, saying, “The Lord be with you,” and then offers a blessing. He is not named among those blessed because he is, momentarily, outside the group, taking the place of Christ.