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 Post subject: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:02 am 
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In another thread someone wrote:
Quote:
Grace before meals is a laudable practice; however when we say this prayer, the food is not blessed. The prayer of Grace does not impart any blessing upon the food--it is no different afterwards than it was before; even though saying this prayer is certainly a good thing. For the food to become "blessed food" it has to be blessed by a priest or deacon.


According to the Internet, this is the standard Catholic meal before eating:
Quote:
Bless us Oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


Why would we say the above prayer if the food is "no different afterwards than it was before"?

Why is saying the prayer a good thing?

At least in the US asking God to "bless the food" appears to have become the custom, but I wonder if that custom is a good one, or if there might be a more appropriate prayer before eating.

I was looking at various prayers on the internet, and the ones that I really liked, actually, were the Jewish ones:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Je ... ing_a_meal

Apparently they have different prayers for each item of food that is brought to the table, but the following seems to be pretty representative:
Quote:
Blessing over the bread

This blessing is made only for bread made from one or all of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt.
ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו, מלך העולם, המוציא לחם מן הארץ.‏

Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, hamotzi lehem min ha'aretz.

Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth."


If I rolled with a prayer like that before eating would I be a heretic?! Honestly, I like the prayer. It seems like more of a "thank you" than a "please do" type of prayer.

I don't really have a problem with the standard Catholic prayer, but I don't quite understand what we are asking God to do if priests are the only ones who can really bless food in a strict sense. . .

In general, what are the general purposes that we should aim to achieve when we choose a prayer to say before a meal?


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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:14 am 
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http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14554c.htm

So apparently, the prayer comes from (the Roman Breviary) here:
http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus ... ensae.html

Is that a prayer that only priests are supposed to pray? Or is that a prayer that laity are meant to pray as well?


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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:26 am 
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The "Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts" prayer? Everybody prays that.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:34 am 
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Don't forget the prayer of thanks at the end! We give thee thanks Almighty God for these and all Thy gifts which we have received from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen.

It's weird that we're the only people who pray before our meal at the KofC fish fry. At restaurants I know that's going to be the case.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:59 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The "Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts" prayer? Everybody prays that.

But why? For example, after I bought a rosary I took it to my parish priest and he blessed it. Priests can bless things, from what I understand, because they have a special ability to do that comes from Holy Orders.

I could not have just been like "I will bless the rosary myself" right?

So why is it different with food?

When I ask God to "bless the food" exactly what is it that I am asking for? Am I asking God to clean the food if a demon happens to be attached to it?

Put another way, why are praying what seems to be a prayer of petition, rather than a prayer of praise/thanks?


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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:18 pm 
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You are asking God to bless your use of the food.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:33 pm 
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Bombadil wrote:
Don't forget the prayer of thanks at the end! We give thee thanks Almighty God for these and all Thy gifts which we have received from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen.

It's weird that we're the only people who pray before our meal at the KofC fish fry. At restaurants I know that's going to be the case.


Perhaps the group prayer happened before you arrived? At our Lenten suppers (including 2 K of C meals), there is a group prayer at the beginning - in some parishes the priest blesses the food before the community meal begins- here, Father has asked that those gathered go ahead and pray it together and not wait on him because he is often delayed in arriving.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:57 pm 
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Peace wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The "Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts" prayer? Everybody prays that.

But why? For example, after I bought a rosary I took it to my parish priest and he blessed it. Priests can bless things, from what I understand, because they have a special ability to do that comes from Holy Orders.

I could not have just been like "I will bless the rosary myself" right?

So why is it different with food?

When I ask God to "bless the food" exactly what is it that I am asking for? Am I asking God to clean the food if a demon happens to be attached to it?

Put another way, why are praying what seems to be a prayer of petition, rather than a prayer of praise/thanks?



I think it is a prayer of petition but also of thanks, though it doesn't specifically use the word "thanks." In the prayer, we are stating we know that these gifts are from God, that He provides for us. It is from, "Thy bounty," not ours, that the food is provided. I think the "thanks" is implied in that acknowledgement of those gifts from God. Of course, you could always add a "thank you" in there someplace, if you desire. Or use your own prayer.

In our home, we sometimes pray the "Our Father" before meals, and that is a prayer of petition, too. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:04 pm 
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I don't get the problem. Why NOT say the prayer. It's like that old saying. I believe in God...if I am wrong, then I have squandered my own life and hurt no one. If I'm right, then those who do not believe have squandered their eternity.

So what's the problem here? It sounds like you want us all to stop saying that prayer, because you don't believe something about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:47 pm 
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kage_ar wrote:
Bombadil wrote:
Don't forget the prayer of thanks at the end! We give thee thanks Almighty God for these and all Thy gifts which we have received from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen.

It's weird that we're the only people who pray before our meal at the KofC fish fry. At restaurants I know that's going to be the case.


Perhaps the group prayer happened before you arrived? At our Lenten suppers (including 2 K of C meals), there is a group prayer at the beginning - in some parishes the priest blesses the food before the community meal begins- here, Father has asked that those gathered go ahead and pray it together and not wait on him because he is often delayed in arriving.

Maybe they do at 5, but almost a thousand people turn out between 5 and 8. There's just a line you go through.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:32 am 
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Peace wrote:
In another thread someone wrote:
Quote:
Grace before meals is a laudable practice; however when we say this prayer, the food is not blessed. The prayer of Grace does not impart any blessing upon the food--it is no different afterwards than it was before; even though saying this prayer is certainly a good thing. For the food to become "blessed food" it has to be blessed by a priest or deacon.


According to the Internet, this is the standard Catholic meal before eating:
Quote:
Bless us Oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


Why would we say the above prayer if the food is "no different afterwards than it was before"?
Firstly, I am that "someone". I was quoting another person. You should read the entire post. The prayer you found is the traditional Grace Before Meals. There is nothing wrong with that prayer. It is doctrinally sound, and can be prayed by laypeople too. St. Dominic Savio refused to eat with a person who did not say grace.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:48 am 
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Peace wrote:
I was looking at various prayers on the internet, and the ones that I really liked, actually, were the Jewish ones:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Je ... ing_a_meal

Apparently they have different prayers for each item of food that is brought to the table, but the following seems to be pretty representative:
Quote:
Blessing over the bread

This blessing is made only for bread made from one or all of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt.
ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו, מלך העולם, המוציא לחם מן הארץ.‏

Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, hamotzi lehem min ha'aretz.

Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth."


If I rolled with a prayer like that before eating would I be a heretic?! Honestly, I like the prayer. It seems like more of a "thank you" than a "please do" type of prayer.
The prayer you posted above is perfectly fine. You can say it, and you would not be a heretic. It actually reminds me of the Latin rite Catholic prayer of the Holy Mass, said during the preparation of gifts.

Quote:
I don't really have a problem with the standard Catholic prayer, but I don't quite understand what we are asking God to do if priests are the only ones who can really bless food in a strict sense. . .
As you have been told, the Grace before meals gives thanks implicitly, by acknowledging that food is his gift that we receive from his bounty. Laity may say the prayer. The same prayer may be used by priests to bless food too. But the priest makes the Sign of the Holy Cross at the word 'bless' while laity keep their hands joined. If priests bless something, it is blessed in the name of, and with the authority of, the Church, the Bride and Body of Jesus. Blessings by laity are simply humble supplications to Divine benignity that has nothing to recommend but your faith, perseverance and holiness, as the Catholic Encyclopedia article on blessings says.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:03 am 
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Peace wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The "Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts" prayer? Everybody prays that.

But why? For example, after I bought a rosary I took it to my parish priest and he blessed it. Priests can bless things, from what I understand, because they have a special ability to do that comes from Holy Orders.

I could not have just been like "I will bless the rosary myself" right?

So why is it different with food?
There is a distinction between things and places designated for sacred purposes, and those that are not. In the latter case, laity may make humble supplications requesting God to bless and protect. Eg. You will not say: Almighty and eternal God, may it please you to +consecrate this chalice and paten. But you will say: Bless my family, O God. (laity should never make the Sign of the Holy Cross in the air, while blessing - it is a priestly gesture)

Quote:
Put another way, why are praying what seems to be a prayer of petition, rather than a prayer of praise/thanks?
Why shouldn't we pray prayers of petition? NOT the proper context, nevertheless, the Pharisee said thanks, but the publican petitioned. Not that thanksgiving is wrong, far from it, Jesus himself appreciated the gratitude of the healed Samaritan Leper.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:03 am 
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Gracie2004 wrote:
I don't get the problem. Why NOT say the prayer. It's like that old saying. I believe in God...if I am wrong, then I have squandered my own life and hurt no one. If I'm right, then those who do not believe have squandered their eternity.

So what's the problem here? It sounds like you want us all to stop saying that prayer, because you don't believe something about it.

If you or anyone else desires to say that prayer it is perfectly fine by me.


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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:08 am 
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Catholic Rose wrote:
Peace wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The "Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts" prayer? Everybody prays that.

But why? For example, after I bought a rosary I took it to my parish priest and he blessed it. Priests can bless things, from what I understand, because they have a special ability to do that comes from Holy Orders.

I could not have just been like "I will bless the rosary myself" right?

So why is it different with food?

When I ask God to "bless the food" exactly what is it that I am asking for? Am I asking God to clean the food if a demon happens to be attached to it?

Put another way, why are praying what seems to be a prayer of petition, rather than a prayer of praise/thanks?


I think it is a prayer of petition but also of thanks, though it doesn't specifically use the word "thanks." In the prayer, we are stating we know that these gifts are from God, that He provides for us. It is from, "Thy bounty," not ours, that the food is provided. I think the "thanks" is implied in that acknowledgement of those gifts from God. Of course, you could always add a "thank you" in there someplace, if you desire. Or use your own prayer.

In our home, we sometimes pray the "Our Father" before meals, and that is a prayer of petition, too. :wink:

I think so, if the intent is to give thanks by the acknowledgement. Thanks.


Last edited by Peace on Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:18 am 
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Jack3 wrote:
Peace wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The "Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts" prayer? Everybody prays that.

But why? For example, after I bought a rosary I took it to my parish priest and he blessed it. Priests can bless things, from what I understand, because they have a special ability to do that comes from Holy Orders.

I could not have just been like "I will bless the rosary myself" right?

So why is it different with food?
There is a distinction between things and places designated for sacred purposes, and those that are not. In the latter case, laity may make humble supplications requesting God to bless and protect. Eg. You will not say: Almighty and eternal God, may it please you to +consecrate this chalice and paten. But you will say: Bless my family, O God. (laity should never make the Sign of the Holy Cross in the air, while blessing - it is a priestly gesture)

Quote:
Put another way, why are praying what seems to be a prayer of petition, rather than a prayer of praise/thanks?
Why shouldn't we pray prayers of petition? NOT the proper context, nevertheless, the Pharisee said thanks, but the publican petitioned. Not that thanksgiving is wrong, far from it, Jesus himself appreciated the gratitude of the healed Samaritan Leper.

Well. I don't have a problem with petitionary prayer. It seems that when you do not have something it would be natural to petition, and that when you receive something the natural response is to give thanks. It strikes me as a bit more natural that a prayer said after receiving food would be a prayer of thanks, rather than petition. But I suppose there is no reason to limit prayer types to particular situations. You could say a prayer of thanksgiving when you have something to ask for, so I guess the opposite is also good.


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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:47 am 
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So, Peace, have we answered your question sufficiently and satisfactorily?

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:03 am 
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I've always thought, and more so now that I have children, that it is best to stick with standard practice and prayer. It makes things easier. There's no harm in doing your own thing as far as prayer is concerned, we have a rich and diverse prayer tradition with all sorts of stuff to choose from. The prayer before meals and the rosary for instance are more communal prayers, we get together and say these all the time, that's why standard form is best.

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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:30 am 
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Bombadil wrote:
I've always thought, and more so now that I have children, that it is best to stick with standard practice and prayer. It makes things easier. There's no harm in doing your own thing as far as prayer is concerned, we have a rich and diverse prayer tradition with all sorts of stuff to choose from. The prayer before meals and the rosary for instance are more communal prayers, we get together and say these all the time, that's why standard form is best.

Well, just because the majority of people may be doing something is no reason to believe that it is right. The question was not why do we use a standard prayer, but why do we use the particular prayer set forth above, as opposed to another.

But as to using a standard prayer, I think that makes sense if everyone is speaking the words of the prayer (like with the Our Father, you would not want people using different translations of it). But with the table prayer typically one person speaks the prayer on behalf of the group, so I don't think that reason really applies. But if the particular group/family typically speaks it together your reason makes sense to me.

As far as adhering to "the standard" (whatever or whosever standard that may be) more generally, I think you know how I already feel about that.


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 Post subject: Re: Bless This Food
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:35 am 
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Jack3 wrote:
So, Peace, have we answered your question sufficiently and satisfactorily?

Well, now that you ask I would also like the following as well:
1) A full bibliography of works relating to the issue
2) A summary of said works, no more than 20 pages.
3) A check for a thousand dollars.

:laughhard J/K yeah, I am good I think. Thanks!


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