Archive for September 2010

Blessing the Lord After a Meal

September 2, 2010

A few weeks ago, after a particularly nice date-night dinner it just felt “right” to offer a prayer of thanks, so I did (ad hoc).
That triggered a flicker of a memory about there being an official Catholic “after meal” prayer. I have vague memories of distant relatives closing Thanksgiving Day meals with a brief, formal prayer.
I filed the idea for future reference. It came up again a time or two in the next few weeks, but never strongly enough for me to stop what I was doing & go looking for prayers. Then, today, part of my morning Scripture reading (I’m still working my way through the Haydock Bible and its commentary by the Early Church Fathers) was this verse:

“That when thou hast eaten, and art full,
thou mayest bless the Lord thy God,
for the excellent land which He hath given thee” -Deuteronomy 8:10

That did it. Giving thanks to God after a meal is Scriptural! And what better time to look up a prayer than when in the midst of praying?

I went digging.

I found variations on a theme. The first part is pretty standard, but the add-ons vary. I chose the ones I felt most called to pray, and left the Old English for my husband’s sake. I typed up & printed out little stand-up cards with the prayer and Deuteronomy 8:10 and put them at our places at the table (I know better than to think I’m going to memorize this overnight!):

We give Thee thanks, almighty God, for all Thy benefits,
who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to reward with eternal life,
all those who do us good for Thy name’s sake. Amen.
V. May the Lord grant us His peace.
R. And life everlasting. Amen.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

My husband did indeed enjoy the language (“When do you get a chance to use a word like ‘vouchsafe?!'”) and we’ve been trying to pray this for every meal at home. I emphasize “trying” because although I do ok when I’m eating alone, I’m finding that when eating together we finish eating at different times & tend to get up to put things away, start dishes, look something up, etc., which makes it hard to coordinate to pray together at the end of the meal. That’s a work in progress.

All in all, I think it’s an idea whose time has come…at least for us.

And…all of you who “do us good for [God’s] Name’s sake”
(even a brief prayer for us counts 🙂 ,
know that we’re praying you Home!

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