Praying before dinner issue

Hi, im very new as catholic and was taken into the full fellowship (if you can put it in that way) on 11/24/2010.

I have a question regarding praying before dinner. My family which is very anti-religious and some members of them has stated that they strongly dislike the catholic church and my choice of lifeway. One of the issues they seem to have is that i quietly fold my hands before dinner, whisper quitly (inner) and say the grace.

The argument i`m getting is: this is not normal and very disturbing. Is it? I thought that all catholics should do that before eating, but should i not do this in their company and hide my christian identity as a catholic? Or am i wrong and just unreasonable?

My cousin is also a catholic, but more on terms with them because he is pro-choice, dont mind if we had women priests and so on, i dont mean to put him down, not at all, but he is just on better terms with them as i am it seems.

Any suggestions or ideas? I just feel like they ask me to play a game and not being myself. Any kind of response is very appreciated.


Congratulations and Welcome Home.

As for your question. I think you probably know that it’s not disturbing or abnormal to give thanks. As a Catholic you are called to give thanks for all your blessings.

It’s not even uncommon for agnostics etc. to give thanks for the abundance in their lives.

However, it sounds like you are dealing with hostile people who are going to find fault with your new faith and anything you do in regards to it.

I’d just smile and continue on as you are. It doesn’t sound like you are being obnoxious or in their face about it, so just continue to give thanks, and don’t let them see you getting upset by their disapproval and hopefully eventually they’ll just let it go.

Perhaps if you made light of it… Something like “I’m going to pray now… cover your ears or you might catch some holy cooddies…” being sure to smile the whole while. Perhaps they will see how silly they are being. If they say anything about how it offends them for some reason, just smile and say something like “… to each their own” or “… different strokes for different folks”… If they still have a problem, turn to the host and start to thank them for dinner, stop in the middle and ask “Is anyone offended if I give thanks to the cook? will that offend anyone?”

These folks are trying to stop you from doing something that causes them no harm whatsoever. It is perfectly reasonable to ask them why they care, and since they are family, to poke a little fun at them for it :slight_smile:

God bless and Welcome home!

Hi - you’re doing great.
Hope this link works.

It shows a copy of Norman Rockwell’s famous painting.
“Grace Before Meals” - the pic speaks for itself.,r:4,s:0

Padraig: I know exactly what you mean. My family is very hostile to prayer too. Don’t give up! Jesus Christ is more important than our parents rolling their eyes. We need to communicate with Him in prayer to intercede for them.

You’re being human to feel nervous about expressing beliefs rejected by your family. Do your family hide away expression of what they believe from you? I somehow doubt it, so I wouldn’t feel so embarrassed yourself.

On the other hand…

To be honest, my entirely Catholic family have never been especially scrupulous about saying grace - we used to say it on Sundays, I think, but I can’t remember the last time I witnessed it being said (when visiting) - I always thought it was a nice social custom rather than anything obligitory or crucial, so I suppose I can understand they may see it as unneccesarily ostentatious display of religiosity, and perhaps see it as rubbing their noses in it?

I can’t understand why anyone would have a problem with this. As you can see I am not religious but I would not care if someone in my life chose to follow this path. To each his own I say!

First i would like to say a big thank you for your kind response. The last week has been a bit hard and with some thinking to do. But i am feeling much better as it was good to come back from early nightprayers and find such nice responses.

For me Christ, comes first and i love my family no matter what. Their hostileness is of course a bit disappointing to handle, but maybe at the other hand, they are scared? It could be, but i forgive them.

Christ has shown me his mercy and grace. My life has been much richer and i have a great catholic family all around me that cares and are devoted. That makes me smile now and so on.

Pax to you all. :slight_smile:

I can see this, but i`m wondering - why is my 15 seconds quietly prayer a problem for them? Just being quiet, polite, eat my food, thank for it and being of no bother.

For them it is uneccecary sure, but i mean no harm to no one.

Believe me it is normal and should be done by faithful Christians. May our Lord bless you with many graces because of your suffering and witness to Christ. Keep doing what you are doing I’m sure you are not the only one in this situation. Do not lose heart and offer your sufferrings up to Christ. I will say a prayer for you.

There is nothing wrong with taking a minute before eating to say thanks.

My family doesn’t wear our religion on our sleeves and growing up in my parents house, we never said grace before meals. However, when I got married, my wife and I thought it would be nice to have another positive ritual in our lives, so we decided to take a moment before supper to say thank-you to God. We don’t have a formal prayer, even though I know there is a published Grace for saying before meals. We just make up our own prayer each day:

Thank you God for the food we are about to receive and for making the day go as well as it did. Please continue to make our days go well. Give us guidance and the strength to follow that guidance. . . .

Or something like that. Each day we might improvise to include a comment regarding an occurrence in that particular day. Nothing too formal. It is just our way to say a personal “Thank-you” to God.

Many of your “faith” are zealots and want to cram your “religion” down everyone’s throat :slight_smile: It is refreshing to hear from a more rational and tolerant Athiest…

God bless you

I agree that that is the general assumption. I think that the majority of atheists are largely silent and most people would have no idea of their religious views.

I really don’t see the big deal with the praying issue. When I have a group dinner I like to have a toast before the meal, generally wishing will to all those attending. I don’t see much of a difference here.

I think that you will soon find out that many people are hostile to the faith. This is perhaps a good opportunity for you to get used to being surrounded by people who hold such views, and to learn to be comfortable expressing your faith regardless of their criticism. My family used to be like this when I converted and it seems to me that your family is being rude about this particular issue because they don’t approve of your religion. They are focusing on something small because they are not happy with the big issue.
Don’t worry about them. Pray and be faithful and all will be well.

As they are using the ‘it’s not normal’ gambit you are free to use the traditiona response which is to ask them to define what is ‘normal’. Is it normal in an objective sense or only within a certain cultural context? There are many people who grew up in families where grace was said before meals on a regular basis, were these families by this argument dysfunctional or abnormal would be my question to them.

why is my 15 seconds quietly prayer a problem for them?

precisely my thoughts. i wouldn’t engage. i’d simply smile and say to their complaints, “if my praying was the worst ten seconds of your day, then you’ve had a pretty good day!!!”

and then i’d leave it alone.

if i had to wrap my meal up to eat later in quiet, i would.

Are you a teenager living at home? If yes and this is a daily thing, my heart goes out to you. But to be honest, I wonder how they notice you are doing it?

If on the other hand you are an adult and you are visiting someone’s home… It is their home and their rules apply (sad but true). To ease my conscious before going over, I would pray something like ‘Dear Lord, you know Bill and Barb don’t like it when I pray at their house, so how about I thank you now for the great meal they will serve me and please have mercy on me for respecting their house rules’

At work, I will often put my lunch down and say in my head ‘God, thank you for this meal’ and then touch the cross around my neck. I am sure if anyone notices they probably think it is a nervous tick


Im in my late thirties, so not much of a teenager here. How they noticed, im not sure. But i brought this whole matter up recently with my priest and he adviced me to just close my eyes, take my hands under the table and do the cross sign there.

Like i stated in the thread start, i try to be as discrete as possible.

The ones pointing this out do not even live there it happened and since i started the thread, all parts come to realize that understanding and giving each other time is the key thing.

This is new to some of them and they do not even like it. But i will be gentle and discret, but will keep saying grace before the dinner, when it`s family dinner.

Except from that, life goes on, i`m very happy and proud to be a catholic. :slight_smile:

I would again like to say a big thank you to everyone that has responded in this thread so far. Most of family, except from my cousin and me are very anti-religious. So they have expressed.

Being discussing it with some of them, they do realize what it means to me and that i wish to be in harmony with them. But i believe now that they will by time realize that hostility won`t affect me or my faith.

At confession recently i asked my priest for advice and his word that this is the reality for many catholics and that we can be hated, threathened or bullied for us faith, i did know, but him encouraging me to go on, never go back on my christian identity and just be gentle, do good and keep going on was so inspirational.

So are your words, advices and thoughts on the subject.

Peace and all good from me to you. :slight_smile:

I LOVE this line and will look for an oppurtunity to use it. None of my Athiest friends have any issue with me praying at their house, so I’ll have to make some less tolerant friends :slight_smile:

God bless

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