Bless us, O Lord

About three years ago, my son, my daughter-in-law and my two-year-old grandson started having dinner with my husband and me on Sundays.

Before we would dig into the food, we would pray the Catholic blessing — you know, “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts.” As we were heading towards the end of the prayer, the four adults would all take deep breaths and then we would finish with an exaggerated “A-MEN!”

It was wonderful, standing in the kitchen and praying together as a family.

About the same time, I had a few friends from the Catholic Center over for lunch. Before we ate, I suggested that we pray together. We did, and at the end of the prayer I paused and then did the big “A-MEN.”

My co-workers looked at me, and then we all laughed. It was a nice moment.

When I was a writer for The Message, the Evansville Serra Club members held a luncheon in the middle of winter. The purpose of the annual luncheon was to recognize the winners of their essay contest.

The gym at the Catholic Center was filled with eighth-graders, teachers, principals, pastors, parents, even proud grandparents. I can’t begin to tell you how lovely it was to hear hundreds of people praying the Catholic blessing together.

I think it really is one of my favorite prayers.

We all know the words: Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, Our Lord, Amen.

The word bounty means good things, which are provided freely and in large amounts.

God’s bounty is so vast! We can’t begin to figure it out or measure it, but we each know a little bit about it because of the blessings and the mercies in our own lives.

Sometimes for me, in the deepest part of winter, it’s hard to recognize His bounty.

We look out of our windows, and we see fallow fields and barren gardens. The trees look so stark. There isn’t even a glimmer of the delicate green foliage that will appear before Easter.

The winter skies are often grey, and so are the rivers and the ponds.

Sometimes our spirits get that way too.

Maybe what we are missing during these gloomy days are hearts radiating with gratitude.

The year 2020 is now upon us, and I think it’s time – it’s most definitely the time – to be thankful for God’s bounty.

Listen to the words from the Psalms: Oh, how great is Your goodness … for You have stored up great blessings for those who trust and reverence You.

This year, let’s open up our hearts and begin to count our blessings. Let’s make an effort to see God’s bounty in every part of our lives. It’s time.