I do not remember anyone who actually teaches me the words to the prayer said before each meal. I think it was simply understood that we'd join in thanking God for "these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty." But I do remember how surprise I was when i saw that I had understood to be "Breakfast soul Lord" (which did not make senses at all) was actually "Bless us, O Lord" (which cleared it up a whole lot). And because I did not understand the meaning of the word "bounty" meant either. I know for sure was that the food on the table was a gift from God and that this short prayer was our way of saying thank you for that gift.
Gifts that God rains down upon us! I just look out my window and I see so many--from birds soaring through the sky, to the hillsides awash with a brilliant emerald green. Later this summer the grass will become dry and our hills will turn golden, but for now they look as if you could wrap yourself in their soft green-ness and live off their beauty.
It is easy to gaze at beauty and see blessings, but what about other times and other places? That is as when we need to see with what I call the "eyes of the heart."
Can we see that blessings rain down upon us in times of fear, sorrow, turmoil, exhaustion? Can we take a deep breath and realize that these times too are gifts to help us grow toward wholeness?
Can we love my little folks, family members, friends, and co-workers through times of adversity, irritation, and just plain annoyance? Can we be their strong, sure guide to help them see the beauty that lives within each of them? Can we look at the plight of poverty, over-crowding, graffiti, litter, and find dignity and value in sweeping, painting, planting, scrubbing, SERVING, nurturing?
Too often I do not really see many gifts I received or I take them for granted. If I could take a moment now to thank God for all the blessings that have rained down on my life: What beauty surrounds you? your family? hour home? Please look close to the ground and up to the sky. Look into the eyes of someone you love. Look into the corners of your home and your heart. What delights you and fills your soul with joy or challenges you to change your heart, your mind, your way of thinking?
Above all the anxiety and uncertainties of our lives, one thing remains for sure. We are blest, for we belong to you Lord. You pour your blessings down upon us and love us into wholeness. As we reach out, encircled by your love, help us to extend that loving embrace to others. And help us all come to know at the very center of our being, that your forgiveness, your peace, your love rains down upon us always.
You lift us up and set us free. You pour great armfuls of sunshine into our days. You dance with us and sit with us. You stand firm when everything seems to be falling around us. You sprinkle our lives with beauty and joy. You wait for us when we wander and comfort us when we cry. Your blessings rain down upon us all the day long and through the night. We are loved!
You planted the seeds of love within our hearts, Lord. You breathed the breath of life into those seeds. They blossomed and crowded out the fears and guilt, the emptiness, and loneliness. Love can not be contained. It shines from our eyes and sings in our hearts: We are loved, we are forgiven, we are at peace. Amen. (share a sign of peace and love with the one being near you.
In Christ, Marie Pascale.