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Grace at Meals

In Apostolic times St. Paul counsels the faithful: "Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor., x, 31). This precept did not cease to be observed. "Before taking nourishment", says Clement of Alexandria, "it is fitting to praise the Creator of all things, and it is fitting also to sing His praises when we take as nourishment the things created by Him" (Paed., II, iv).

Tertullian, a contemporary of Clement, shows us the Christians of the beginning of the third century making the sign of the cross on taking their places at table (De cor. milit., iii). "Our repasts", says he , refering to the Agape, "are in nothing vile or immodest. We do not recline until we have prayed to God. In like manner prayer concludes the feast" (Apol., xxxi).


Grace before Meals

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


Grace after Meals

We give you thanks, almighty God,
for all your benefits,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.