Thanksgiving Grace for Vegetarians

The New York Times offers its wonderful Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2013 in time for any Orthodox Christians who want to keep both our nation’s holiday of giving thanks to the Creator for all blessings received and the Nativity Fast.

The Christian poet Prudentius (d. ca 405AD) wrote a Hymn of Grace for Christian vegetarians to be said before meals.  It is offered here as a grace for all of those vegetarians and pious Orthodox who are not eating meat this Thanksgiving Day but who want to offer a thankful prayer to God who provides us with ever good and perfect food.

Kind Lord who bore the cross, Source of all our light.

All-creative, Gracious, Word-begot, now made flesh within the Virgin’s womb, yet mighty in your Father, first, before the stars, or earth, or seas, were made: Turn your saving face, I pray, upon this copious scene, that with your peace, and in your light, and under your ennobling name, we may enjoy this food.

Without you, Lord, is nothing sweet. All that we taste is dust: Unless our food and drink are flavored first by sanctifying faith, tinged with Christ’s sweet favor. So, let our simple bread bear God’s own salt; May Christ flow within our cups, may the threefold holiness above direct our sober words and jests, our laughter and our talk, all that we do and all we are.

Such opulence for Christians is enough and satisfies all needs. Far from us that hungering lust that craves a bloody feast, and tears apart the flesh of beasts. Such wild banquets, made from slaughtered flocks, are fit only for barbarians. For us, the olive, wheat, and ripening fruits, and vegetables of every kind: These compose our righteous feast.  

(John McGuckin,  Prayer Book of the Early Christians, Kindle 2061-74)


See also my blog Thanksgiving (2013).