In Thy fullness , Oh Lord
Filled with Thy grace,
And for the purposes of union with Thee
And to satisfy and glorify Thy creation,
With thanks to Thee with all our hearts
And with all our love for Thee,
With all adoration for all Thy blessings
We accept Thy gift as it has come to us.
The food is Thy blessing and I in Thy service
We accept in all gratitude, my Lord.
This beautiful prayer of thanksgiving sits sweetly in my memory. My mother sat in stillness and said this particular grace before meals and anyone in attendance felt fully satisfied and in a state of gratitude as we began our meal. This tradition has long since passed and I completely forgot about this prayer until it appeared in an Ayurvedic cookbook from Germany. The author, Frank W. Lotz, was a chef for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation, or more commonly known as TM, and he wrote a wonderful cookbook, Heavenly Cooking With Ayurveda.
My parents must have learned that prayer from their days of intense practice and participation in the TM movement. Those were wonderful times in my childhood and I revel and constantly try to recapture that sweetness and sense of wonder and awe. Life was full of the celestial focus of healthy eating, meditation and the pursuit of God’s purpose for each of us.
As a busy, working wife and mother of three, I have found the connecting element between the importance of grace at meals and an overall gratitude in life. In our fast-pace world, right now, we are usually rushing meals or just shoving food into our mouths and forgetting to stop and give thanks. We forget entirely the gift of getting to nourish our bodies. My husband has always insisted on grace before meals. We usually only each dinner together and by that time, I am too tired and frazzled to be fully present. I am usually more focused on how hungry I am and if everything is on the table for the meal.
However, recently, my mind was drawn to the fact that Jesus, the Good Lord, always gave thanks. Always! In fact, in my favorite of His miracles, the miracle of five loaves and two fishes, first He gave thanks. He held the food, which was not even close to enough to feed 5,000 men, and God-knows how many women and children, and gave thanks. He gave thanks for this inadequate amount of food. If Jesus can take a moment and give thanks, which he also did at The Last Supper, then we can certainly take a moment and give thanks.
Since my attention has been directed to the importance of giving thanks, I have found a real experience of heart-filling gratitude. I feel calmer and more present at mealtime, I really feel like my food “does me some good.” Saying grace at mealtime is an important and valid tradition for a reason. It connects us from the life-giving nutrients to the giver of all life and goodness; our Creator.
This attention to gratitude has bled into the rest of my life. When I find myself driving or doing dishes I make an effort to give thanks for the many wonderful things that fill my life; my family, my possessions, my many comforts, my health, etc. I am even working on giving thanks for the things that are challenging and that I don’t understand. This focus on gratitude fills my heart connects me to my foundation. It brings about a state of presence and a joyful mood. The corny statement, “an attitude of gratitude”, really does wonders to improve our mood and slow us down enough to see the beauty in our lives.
I encourage you to look at your full life with a mind-set of gratitude. Give thanks for the good, the hard and the inadequate, and perhaps we may get to experience a miracle too. If the most influential man in history, Jesus, can reside in a state of gratitude, no matter what the circumstances looked like, then we can certainly take a moment and give thanks.
“Give thanks to the Lord
For He is good.
His love is everlasting.”