Catholics pray before meals (sometimes referred to as “saying Grace”) to follow the example of Jesus, who prayed before eating (see Matthew 14:15–21). We say this prayer to ask God’s blessings on those present and on the food we are about to eat. Reciting this prayer together as a family is a wonderful tradition that strengthens the faith of all who gather to eat. It reminds us of our need for God’s blessings and to trust in God for these gifts.
Many Catholics also say a prayer after each meal. The prayer after a meal is a one of thanksgiving. We thank God for all the gifts he has given us, including the food we just ate, as we acknowledge that God is eternal. This practice helps to bring the ritual of a family mealtime to a beautiful close, encapsulating the event with prayer at the beginning and again at the end. By this spiritual habit we remind ourselves that God dwells within our homes.
Grace before Meals
Bless us, O Lord, and these your gifts
which we are about to receive
from your bounty,
through Christ our Lord.
Prayer after Meals
We give you thanks for all your gifts,
almighty God, living and reigning
now and forever.