It’s Time for Grace at Meals

Sep 17, 2013 / Written by: America Needs Fatima

A celebrated economist, LePlay, once wrote “Until I can say grace at meals without astonishing any of my guests, I will not believe that I have done enough for the return of good habits.”

Grace at meals seems to be a simple detail. Am I not perhaps attaching too much significance to it? Consider it a detail, if you wish, but it is a detail which proves much.

Author Rene Bazin relates how edified he was while visiting in the north of France as a preparatory study for one of his novels, to observe how the family of an industrialist said grace faithfully before meals, assigning each child a day to lead.

Another author relates the profound impression made on him by his visit to the home of an outstanding businessman. Before and after dinner, the eight children stood with their parents around the table while the father devoutly recited the meal prayers.

Child praying before meal

Where the practice of saying grace is found in a family, there is also found true family life blessed with children and with solid piety; there will be no selfishness; instead there will be found a love for tradition, respect for authority, and an undisputed reign of Christ over the home. The saying of grace may be a small thing, but it is an indication of great things.

The Christian family will not be restored, nor will it be maintained, without the restoration and the maintenance of Christian practices—the noblest practices surely, and the most obligatory, but likewise the most insignificant in appearance. However, are there any which are truly insignificant?

“But these things will embarrass our visitors,” one may object. Nothing forces them to pay you a visit, and if they want to, they will undoubtedly respect all customs of the house: the crucifix on the wall, the normal acts of Christian life, as well as the menus prepared for them. No one is obliging them to adopt your conduct, but they can at least accept it while they are with you.

The real motive for not wanting to say grace before meals, if you are truly honest, is not charity for others, but human respect and a concern for yourself. You are afraid; you do not dare.

The fact is that your visitors will be either Christian or non-Christian. Why among Christians should one blush because of Christ? If the guests are not Christians, will they be astonished at Christian acts, knowing the atmosphere of the home and the character of those who dwell in it? It is good to wish that the homes of our nation become Christian again. But to realize this, we must begin with our own.

Blessing Before Meals:

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

(Preceded and followed by the Sign of the Cross.)

Blessing After Meals:

We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for these and all Thy benefits, and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

(Preceded and followed by the Sign of the Cross.)

Note: Adapted from Raoul Plus, S.J.’s Christ in the Home (Colorado Springs, CO: Gardner Brothers, 1951), pp. 243 – 245. This book is a treasure chest of advice for Catholics on the practical and spiritual concerns of raising a family.