Giving thanks. November 25, 2010Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourette, giving thanks, gratitude, LocalHarvest, mealtime prayers, prayer, thanksgiving
Silence Dogood here, wishing everyone a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!
Does your family have a favorite mealtime prayer? I grew up with “Bless us, o Lord, in these Thy gifts, which, of Thy bounteous mercy, we most gratefully do receive. Amen.”
I continued to say this prayer into adulthood, when I discovered the wonderful mealtime prayer of Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourette, a monk and chef who knows a great deal about the sanctity of prayer and the sanctity of food. Brother Victor-Antoine’s prayer is so delightful that I just had to add it to our pre-meal repertoire: “For this good food and joy renewed, we give Thee thanks, o Lord.”
Just this past Tuesday, I discovered another wonderful mealtime prayer in the LocalHarvest newsletter our friend Ben and I receive online. (Check it out and sign up for the free newsletter at www.localharvest.org. Their motto, “real food, real farmers, real community” says it all.) Erin Barnett, LocalHarvest’s Director, shared a prayer she’d first heard at a friend’s table and now says with her own family: “We are thankful for this food, and that we are together.”
Erin goes on to say in the newsletter, “All told, our blessing takes just a few seconds, but those few seconds are important to me. In them I arrive more fully at the table, after rushing around preparing food and taking care of the business of the household. In them I really look at my family and at the food in front of us and in seeing them and it more deeply can move into the evening with more grace than I otherwise would.”
What beautiful, and beautifully expressed, sentiments. The power of prayer is that it moves not just up but out to those around us and inside to transform us. The power of gratitude is that it opens our eyes to our true blessings and bounty. When we give thanks, we are thrice blessed: for the gifts for which we offer thanks, for the realization of how blessed we are, and for the sacrament of blessing itself, which has the power to transform all that it touches.
Our friend Ben and I have discussed these brief but beautiful prayers, and decided to recite them antiphonally before each meal that we enjoy together, so that one of us starts with “Bless us, o Lord…,” the next adds “For this good food…,” and we end by reciting together “We are thankful for this food, and that we are together.” Believe me, we certainly are (most of the time, anyway!).
If you have a favorite mealtime prayer, please share it with us. Perhaps we’ll add it to our list! And see if you can feel that precious moment of peace that Erin describes descend on you as your family gives thanks this Thanksgiving.
‘Til next time,