Grace Before Meals, Grace After Meals

“It would be infinitely lonely to live in a world without blessing. The word blessing evokes a sense of warmth and protection; it suggests that no life is alone or unreachable.”
~John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

When everyday moments are held sacred, there is a stillness that brings a quality of blessing not just to the moment, but to all of life. In his Book of Blessings, John O’Donohue lends words to two sacred moments, a short prayer asking for grace before meals … and after.


Grace Before Meals

As we begin this meal with grace,
Let us become aware of the memory
Carried inside the food before us:
The quiver of the seed
Awakening in the earth,
Unfolding in a trust of roots
And slender stems of growth,
On its voyage towards harvest,
The kiss of rain and surge of sun;
The innocence of animal soul
That never spoke a word,
Nourished by the earth
To become today our food;
The work of all the strangers
Whose hands prepared it,
The privilege of wealth and health
That enables us to feast and celebrate.


Grace After Meals

We end this meal with grace
For the joy and nourishment of food,
The slowed time away from the world
To come into presence with each other
And sense the subtle lives behind our faces,
The different colors of our voices,
The edges of hungers we keep private,
The circle of love that unites us.
We pray the wise spirit who keeps us
To change the structures that make others hunger
And that after such grace we might now go forth
And impart dignity wherever we partake.


~ excerpted from John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

Happy (American) Thanksgiving Day!

Read prior blog post on John O’Donohue.

Dr. Joel Ying, MD

Physician, Educator, Storyteller. He hosts this website for "Living the Present Moment" as a conscious journey of Body, Mind & Spirit. Holistic and integrative, his practice includes Tai Chi and Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy, Healing From the Core, Meditation. Always exploring his edges, he shares them in the blog, newsletter, courses, and online study group.

Latest posts by Dr. Joel Ying, MD (see all)

Leave a reply...