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Grace Before and After Meals

Saying grace before and after meals is a common practice among Christians. It is a reminder both that our very lives are a gift from God, and of our continual and utter dependence on Him for our solitary moment of our existence. In this way every meal, whether taken alone or in a group, points to the meal par excellence which sustains our existence at its very core, the Eucharist.

The following are various forms of blessings for before and after meals. The final prayer is the Extended Blessing at Table, which includes portions for before and after the meal, essentially surrounding the family meal within the blessing itself.

Grace Before Meals

Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from they bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, Revised and Updated Edition, 51)

Lord, bless this food that we are about to receive from your bounty, help us to provide for those who do not have any, and make us participants one day in your heavenly banquet, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Found in Raniero Cantalamessa, Beatitudes: Eight Steps to Happiness, 63)

Grace After Meals

We give thee thanks, for all they benefits, almighty God, who lives and reigns forever. [And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.] Amen.

(Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, Revised and Updated Edition, 51)

Extended Blessing at Table

Christians, whether alone or with companion at table, say grace before and after meals to thank God for his goodness in providing their daily food. [1030]

As they gather at table and see in the food they share a sign of God’s blessings on them, Christians should be mindful of the poor, who lack even the bare minimum of food that those at table may have abundance. [1031]

Before the Meal

When the household has gathered around the table, all make the sign of the cross.

Then Scripture is read:

Listen to the words of the Prophet Isaiah (58:10-11a):

If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then the light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday; Then the Lord will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land.

(The family’s Bible may be used for an alternate reading such as Acts 2:42-47a.)

After a short silence, the leader prays:

Blessed are you, almighty Father, who give us our daily bread. Blessed is your only begotten Son, who continually feeds us with the Word of life. Blessed is the Holy Spirit, who brings us together as this table of love. Blessed be God now and forever.

R/. Amen.

After the Meal

Leader: Blessed be the name of the Lord.

R/. Now and forever.

The leader prays:

God our Father, we thank you for the food your bounty has given us, your gathered family. Grant that we also may freely give to others what you have so generously given to us, and that we may all share in the banquet of heaven. Through Christ our Lord.

R/. Amen.

(Extended Blessing at Table found in Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, Revised and Updated Edition, 51-53).

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