Recently, I rediscovered a book, now out of print, 99 Blessings by Br. David Steindl-Rast. I thought about writing just about one or two of these short poetic gifts, but I realized that the book contains wonderful words of thanksgiving for this time of year. So below is something you can use at your Thanksgiving Day table —whatever form it takes —- and with whomever you spend time. I hope that it helps you express your own gratitude for all that we have, in all the ways we are gifted, and all that we are called to be.
You can also download it here. (Green bold type indicates the work of Steindl-Rast)
Thanksgiving Day Prayer
[READER] Let us pray in gratitude for all that has been placed before: through the work of our hands, the hands of farmers, truck drivers, store clerks and cooks. We begin by remembering the source of all blessings.
SOURCE OF ALL BLESSINGS, you bless us with breath. In and out, in and out, ever-renewing us, ever anew making us one with all who breathe the same air, may this blessing overflow into a shared gratefulness, so that with one breath [we] may praise and celebrate life.
- As we continue to navigate this season of pandemic, may we know the gift of the breath, of life, of all living creatures with whom we share life.
SOURCE OF ALL BLESSINGS, you bless us with kitchen noises—with the sound of chopping carrots, the rumbling from washing pots and pans, the clinking of silverware, the clang of glass on glass, the whistling of the teakettle, and all the homey rattle and clatter produced by preparing food and washing dishes. May [we] drink deeply from the blessing of being at home that rings in these sounds and make all whom [we] meet today feel a bit more at home in the world.
- In this circle we share today, may we know the peace and blessings of having a welcoming place, a home, and a shelter from the storms around us.
SOURCE OF ALL BLESSINGS, you bless us with angels— those spirit messengers who come in ever new and surprising forms. To the ancients they were “the Powers,” overawing presences. No image can do justice to their mystery, but when we are alert, we meet them everywhere. May [we] sense them, heed them, and myself become a messenger, for we are all meant to be angels to one another.
- As we share this meal and time of gratitude, may we be mindful of the angels who surround us, both visible and invisible.
SOURCE OF ALL BLESSINGS, you bless us with friendship— life’s supreme gift, rare, precious, and fragile. May I show myself worthy of my friends by being faithful, patient, and affectionate while I have time to do so, aware that all things are passing, even firm friendships.
[READER: Take a moment to remember friends, those present, and those afar, and those who have passed to eternal life.]
- All: On this Thanksgiving Day, may we breathe deeply of all of life, grateful for the gift of breath, grateful for kitchen noises and sounds of home. May we know the angels around us as messengers of a loving God. May we treasure the gift of friendship that nourishes us more than food. And on this Day, we acknowledge and celebrate the meal that is before us, thanking God, the source of all blessings, for all good gifts that surround us.
All green bold are quotes from 99 Blessings by Br. David Steindl-Rast. Copyright © 2013 by Br. David Steindl-Rast All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Image, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.