As child in a Catholic school, we said grace before every lunch break. As a child in a Catholic school, I paid little attention, racing through it to get to my sandwich. But I've changed. I have a renewed interest in blessing my food for a few reasons.
Blessing my food, means taking a moment to notice that I am eating, that I have stopped doing everything else and I am about to bring something into my body. It's a reminder to become aware, to become more mindful of what I am doing.
When I returned to blessing my food, I remember being bowled over by how miraculous it is that we have food at all. We take for granted that seeds know how and when to grow, or even what to grow into, not to mention the complex dance of rain, earth and sunshine that all food depends upon. The creation of food is a mandala of Life, of the goodness of this exquisite planet. It's easy to forget that.
The second reason I bless my food is because I genuinely believe that it increases the nutritional value of the food I eat. So much of our land, not to mention our seeds, are depleted from decades of over-chemicalisation, from pesticides to fertilizers (the downers and uppers of the agricultural world) that I don't believe it's all zinging with vitamins, bursting into radiant good health within me. But by blessing it, I think I open a window of opportunity for the 'impossible' to happen, for those nutrients and that goodness to be reawakened in my food, alchemically. After all, look what they have discovered happens when you pray over water: the composition of its crystals change to reflect the energy of the prayer.
I have a wonderful friend who thinks I may as well believe in magic. And fairies. I think she gave up discussing these things with me when she discovered I believe in both! This world is miraculous. We are naive if we think we are the masters, that we know it all.
Too often, we take the seen, as much as the unseen, for granted. Pausing for a moment to bless, to give benediction (literally, saying good things) engages the bridge between what we can see and what we believe and opens the doors to all sorts of miracles.