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Priests bless water to make holy water and they bless the faithful at the end of Sunday masses. The Pope has a special apostolic blessing that he gives out sometimes. I know that it is good to be blessed in this way. But why? Does anything change in the receptor of the blessing? If so, what exactly changes?

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We all want to be blessed, especially by someone from a higher spirituality. –  Mawia Jul 26 '13 at 8:19
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Related: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/5707/… –  svidgen Jul 26 '13 at 14:23
    
From a related answer, "a blessing is just the minister of the Church invoking a Divine Benediction upon a person or thing." This seems clear. But what is a "Divine Benediction"? –  Andres Riofrio Jul 26 '13 at 16:30
    
There's actually a lot of information to fuel an answer here. I need time and energy to compile and condense it without missing any important details or misrepresenting anything. If someone else wants to put something together, here are two helpful sources: ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/WHATBLES.HTM and usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/… –  svidgen Jul 26 '13 at 22:15
    
Also related: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/16175/… –  svidgen Jul 29 '13 at 15:59
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1 Answer 1

Blessing of an item is sort of a "package for prayer". The blessing is essentially a prayer for something to remind us Christ and our faith. For example, water reminds especially baptism and everything Jesus did about it in the events recorded in Bible (not only in New Testaments, there are some images pointing to baptism in Old Testament, like passage through Red Sea), in history and in our lives. Another example: a blessing of a cross means a prayer for its wearer to be connected with Jesus, who died on a cross, with all its consequences.
EDIT: Similarly, blessing of a person is a prayer for someone aiming not just to a "one-shot" benefit, but to a longer benediction - so that the person gets closer and closer to God, performs well in their job or just enjoy good luck in general.

Catholic Church take all the blessings of water, crosses and other things and people by priests as sacramentals - they are not powered by God's promise as directly as sacraments (Eucharist, baptism etc.), but prayers of whole church somehow "power" the sacrament. Prayer is "better" when two or three agree on it - but in sacramentals, all the Body of Christ agree on it, even though most of us Christians (or at least Catholics) are not present or even don't know about it.

And what exactly changes? It's the same as with any other prayer - a clear miracle may occur, but usually nothing apparently changes. But we know God heard the prayer, and we believe that He will answer somehow.

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