When we sat down to a meal during the week, we seldom said a blessing at the table. But on Sundays, we always paused, for a brief moment – and I mean brief - while my husband rattled off the typical Catholic blessing. The glare from his mother and from me didn't faze him. His excuse was that the food would get cold if he didn't say it quickly enough.

One evening, we had invited our parish priest to the house. We ordered pizza to keep it simple, and asked Father Orr to say the blessing. I had a hard time not letting my chin drop to the floor as HE rattled off the same blessing, shaving a second or two off of Denny's record time. And his excuse was the same as Denny's. Food's getting cold.

I kept my granddaughter for a week while my daughter was on a business trip a couple of years ago. Allison was only 18 months old, and had a repertoire of a few nursery rhymes and silly songs from daycare. She mostly knew the hand motions, so as we sat down to eat lunch with my friend Karen, I asked Allison to put her hands together as in the Baby Bumble Bee song. We began a blessing, with our heads lowered, and as I peeked at Allison, she also had her head lowered, with her hands still folded.

In the year that I lived with my daughter and son-in-law, I never witnessed them offering a blessing at the table. It wasn't my house so I didn't make a big deal about it. But at my house, I try to say a blessing especially when I have my granddaughter for lunch or dinner.

The other day, we were playing in her room with her dollhouse. Allison, now four, sat the little family around the table, got down on her knees, folded her hands and began, "Dear God,..." I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Quick and expedient or slow and referent, a prayer's a prayer. May we feel comfortable praying anywhere and in any way.

Playful Prayer

Now I sit me in a chair.
Help me not play with my hair.
Give me hands that fold to pray.
Don't let me think too much to say,
"thank you, Lord for earth and sky."
Make me laugh when I want to cry.
Fill my days with thankfulness.
Take my "No" and make it "Yes."
Let me play when work is done.
And allow me to make prayer fun.

-Mary Boscaino



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