11.26.2014

Grace


The grace we say clears our hearts and guides the children and welcomes the guest, all at the same time...Anyone can use a grace from their own tradition (and really give it meaning) --or make up their own. Saying some sort of grace is never inappropriate, and speeches and announcements can be tacked onto it. It is a plain, ordinary, old-fashioned thing to do that connects us with all our ancestors.
~ Gary Snyder

I love the tradition of saying grace before a meal. Growing up, my family said this traditional Catholic grace:

Bless us, O Lord,
for these Thy gifts
which we are about to receive
from Thy bounty
Through Christ our Lord
Amen

Now that I have my own family, we just have a simple toast at the beginning of the meal to pause, look in each other's eyes and clink glasses. But as Thanksgiving draws close, I've been thinking about all the ways to say grace and how many traditions celebrate gathering around a bountiful table on any day of the year. I am reminded just how much I have to be thankful for and I am inspired to focus on gratitude every single day. Here are a few favorites quotes and prayers I've plucked from around the world. Have a joyful and wonderful Thanksgiving!

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
We offer thanks. Amen.
~Grace by Ralph Waldo Emerson

i thank You God for most this amazing
day...for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
~ e.e. cummings

We return thanks to our mother, the Earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.
~ Iroquois Prayer

Thank you, God, for this good life,
And forgive us if we do not love it enough.
~Garrison Keillor

This ritual is One.
The food is One.
We who offer the food are One.
The fire of hunger is also One.
All action is One.
We who understand this are One.
~ Hindu Blessing

May the love that is in my heart
pass from my hand to yours.
~ Traditional American Grace

In this food, I see clearly
The presence of the universe
Supporting my existence.
~ Serving Food by Thich Nhat Hanh

May I, together with all beings,
Enjoy the pure taste
Of kind mind, joyful mind, big mind.
~ Tassajara Grace by Edward Espe Brown

O Lord that lends me life
lend me a heart replete with thankfulness
~ William Shakespeare

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart
~ Seneca

When you eat bamboo shoots, remember the farmer.
~ Chinese Proverb

Be present in all things and thankful for all things
~ Maya Angelou

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that happiness is gratitude doubled by wonder. 
~ G.K Chesterson

All that we behold is full of blessings.
~ William Wordsworth

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.

~ Meister Eckhart
  

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