... in saying grace at mealtimes

Published on 17 Feb 2017
The Romero Cross from Southwark Cathedral depicting the Lord's Supper and loaves and fish.

Pope Francis is a great communicator. He speaks to us simply and directly, using everyday experience. In his encyclical Laudato Si’ Pope Francis brings together many aspects of the way our world is being abused ‘like a sister crying out’, how we should respect it, how those of different faiths and no faith, and how scientists and politicians too, need to dialogue and work together to prevent the devastation humanity is causing.

He asks that we should care for this earth and for each other, especially those poor nations and people who suffer most from our exploitation and neglect. But what can ordinary people do? Pope Francis says we can do a lot simply by changing our attitudes through our awareness, our reflection and prayer.It is a long encyclical, but easy to read in bits, giving us time to think about what it is saying.Pope Francis talks about the value of doing something very simple and traditional, saying grace before and after meals. I would like to quote the Pope’s words which come near the end of the letter.

One expression of this attitude is when we stop and give thanks to God before and after meals. I ask all believers to return to this beautiful and meaningful custom. 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.