I ask all believers to return to this beautiful and meaningful custom (of giving thanks to God before and after meals). That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labours provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.
--Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ 227, 2015
As part of his Every Life Matters initiative, Archbishop Smith is asking us all to heed the invitation of our Holy Father and embrace the custom of praying at mealtime. "To the traditional meal prayers, I'm proposing that we add one line from the Sunday Gospel and one line of prayerful response to it," says the Archbishop..
"We have prepared cards for everyone to use (available at your parish). Before the words of grace, the card offers the Scripture verse at the heart of this Year of Mercy, "Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful," and gives a prayer in response that we be merciful toward one another. That Scripture verse and prayer can be used throughout the year.
"In addition, I shall tweet out each week (@archbsmith) an alternative Scripture verse for the week's meal prayers, a verse that will be taken from the Sunday Gospel. For those not on Twitter, the verse and prayer will also be sent to parishes for inclusion in the weekly Sunday bulletin."
Before the meal, begin with a brief excerpt from Scripture:
Leader: Lord, Jesus we thank you for your Word. You call us to be merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful (cf. Luke 6:36).
All: Help us, Jesus, to share your love and mercy with those in need.
Together: Bless us, O Lord,
and these Thy gifts,
which we are about to receive
from Thy bounty.
Through Christ our Lord.
After the meal:
We give you thanks, Almighty God,
for all your gifts,
who live and reign now and forever.
This Week's Scripture Suggestions
From the Readings for February 12
Leader: Lord Jesus, we thank you for your Word. You came not to abolish but to fulfil the law of God (Matthew 5:17).
All: Help us, Lord Jesus, to be faithful in all things to the commandments of God.
Leader: Lord Jesus, we thank you for your Word. Through St. Paul you teach that the Holy Spirit "searches everything, even the depths of God.” (1Corinthians 2:10).
All: By the gift of your Spirit, Lord Jesus, search our hearts and make us your faithful disciples.