At the end of last year, I set an intention to return to “saying grace” before I eat.
When I was a child, my parents taught me of prayer to say at mealtime. Each night, before supper, my father would ask one of the diners “would you please say grace?” I had two older brothers and an older sister, so for a long time, they did grace duty. I don’t remember what they said, but my grace was:
God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for this food. Amen
When I was a young teenager, I began to say more free-form prayers, but the tradition of saying grace continued whenever my parents sat down to eat.
I let go of the tradition as soon as I headed for college, except for gatherings of my family of origin.
More than 40 years – and some theological evolutions – later, what calls me to return?
I want to remind myself that every moment of life is sacred. Ideally, I would like to be conscious of the Holy every moment. That seems unrealistic. (Am I right thinking that Brother Lawrence Was made of stronger stuff than I? Perhaps that’s an excuse…)
What seems doable is to scatter remembrances of the sacredness of life throughout my day. I already do loving kindness meditation in the morning, breath awareness meditation during the day, and list my gratitudes at night. “Saying grace” will add three more reminders to drop in to holy space.
Even after almost a year, saying grace is not automatic for me. Perhaps that’s a good thing. It helps me make recognizing the blessing of food a conscious choice. I’m connecting with the holy universe and my support system, reminding myself that I am not alone. I am surrounded by blessing, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment.
Eating [or anticipating or remembering] breakfast [for lunch or dinner],
I see the universe, smile, and give thanks for earth, sun, and rain,
farmers and factory workers, truckers and grocers, cooks and caregivers.
May all beings be well-nourished, body and soul.
In your journal:
- Write memories of childhood prayers
- How do you express your gratitude?
- Do you long to connect with the sacred? Write about it.