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Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Blessing Before and After Meals: Christmas Season (2nd Plan)

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1030 Christians, whether alone or with companions at table, say grace before and after meals to thank God for his goodness in providing their daily food. This practice is also a reminder that the Lord Jesus combined the sacrament of the eucharist with the ritual of a family meal and showed himself to his disciples as their risen Lord in the breaking of the bread.

1031 As they gather at table and see in the food they share a sign of God's blessings on them, Christians should be mindful of the poor, who lack even the bare minimum of food that those at table may have in abundance. By their moderation they will therefore try to provide help for the hungry and as a sign of Christ's love will on occasion invite the poor to their own table, in keeping with the words of Christ recorded in the Gospel (see Luke 14:13-14).

1032 The plans, texts, and formularies provided in the present chapter are to be regarded as models for the use of families or of any type of community. But the blessing at table should be given a tone that is in keeping with the festive or penitential character of the various days and seasons of the liturgical year.

Prayer:

BEFORE MEALS

1038 The person who is presiding at table says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All make the sign of the cross and reply: Amen.

1039 Then one of those present reads a brief text from sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah:

58:10-11a If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday; Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land.

1040 Or: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the Acts of the Apostles:

2:42-47a The believers devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.

1041 Or: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians:

9:8-10 God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

"He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

1042 Or: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians:

5:19-20 Address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

1043 Or: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the first letter of Paul to the Thessalonians:

5:16-18 Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

1044 Or: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the letter to the Hebrews:

13:1-2 Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.

1045 Or: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the holy gospel according to Matthew:

6:25ab, 32b-33 Jesus said to the crowds: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides."

1046 After the reading, the one presiding says the following prayer (a priest or a deacon makes the sign of the cross). Let us pray.

Blessed are you, Lord God. Through the fruitful virginity of Mary you fulfilled the long expectation of the poor and oppressed.

Grant that with the same faith with which Mary awaited the birth of her Son, we may look for him in our brothers and sisters in need.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

AFTER MEALS

1049 The one presiding says: The Word became flesh, alleluia. R. And dwelt among us, alleluia. Let us pray.

All-holy Father, your Word made flesh is the Son who is born to us, the child who is given to us. Grant that we who are committed to serving him in our brothers and sisters may satisfy their needs of body and soul.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

Prayer Source: Book of Blessings by Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops' Conferences, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1989
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