Expressing appreciation for a nourishing meal has been practiced by people of all cultures and faiths throughout history. Saying grace not only leads to a more present and pleasant experience but also helps us appreciate the effort that goes into preparing a meal from farm to table. Before breaking bread with your family or friends, consider using one of these ways to show gratitude.
Hoʻonani i ka Makua mau
Ke Keiki me ka ʻUhane nō
Ke Akua mau, hoʻomaikaʻi pū
Ko kēia ao ko kēlā ao.
Kūnou haʻahaʻa ko ka honua
Nō uliuli o ke kai
Na ʻano lani kau hōkū
Nā nani o ka ʻōnaeao
Let us give praise to the eternal Father,
To the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
To God everlasting, let there ring praise
Both in this world as well as the kingdom
All the earth bows in tribute,
As do the riches of the sea,
The celestials among the stars
And the splendors of the universe.
Buddhist Meal Gatha
We receive this food in gratitude to all beings
who have helped to bring it to our table,
and vow to respond in turn to those in need
with wisdom and compassion.
The food is Brahma (creative energy).
Its essence is Vishnu (preservative energy).
The eater is Shiva (destructive energy).
No sickness due to food can come to one who eats with this knowledge.
Zen blessing from Thich Nhat Hanh
In this plate of food,
I see the entire universe supporting my existence.
A variation on a Native American Thanksgiving
We give thanks for the plants and animals
who have given themselves so that we can enjoy this meal together.
We also give thanks for our friends and family who have traveled here today.
May this meal bring us strength and health
Secular mealtime prayer
Dear earth who gives to us this food.
Dear sun who makes it ripe and good.
Sun above and earth below,
our loving thanks to you we show.
Blessings on our meal.
Saying grace is a heart-felt, conscious practice that brings friends and family together in a sacred space. Whether they are said in the name of a faith or not, words full of gratitude and grace are a beautiful beginning to any meal.—RG