Book Club Bonus: Blessings in the Home

Book Club Bonus: Elizabeth M. Kelly and Robin Davis - Blessings in the Home

Editor’s note: In our online book club, we’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. Each Tuesday through August 7, 2018, we’ll bring you Book Club Bonus Days—sharing additional stories of family prayer, continuing the weekly conversation, and more. Find all the book club posts here.

Blessing Before Bed

A few years ago, my brother married a widow. Her husband died in a car crash—a crash that two of her young girls survived. My brother is now in the process of adopting them.

Last month, while my brother and sister-in-law went out for the evening, I babysat my new nieces and their newborn sister. We had a wonderful evening together, and after endless games of Go Fish and Twister, they went to bed without the least fuss. But just a few minutes later, I heard little footsteps coming through the kitchen, and the girls reappeared in their jammies.

“Would you bless us?” they asked. My brother always blesses them before bed, and they didn’t want to go to sleep without it. He uses the blessing of Aaron: “May God bless you and keep you, let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God look upon you kindly and give you peace.” I didn’t know it off the top of my head, so I suggested they bless one another and I would stand as witness. I watched as these two precious souls offered a benediction, making the sign of the cross on her sister’s forehead, first one and then the other, followed by a big bear hug.

Fathers, don’t think for a moment that your blessing is ineffectual or unnoticed. It is a guarantor of protection, identity, and sweet, holy dreams.

Elizabeth M. Kelly is an award-winning speaker and author of books including Jesus Approaches: What Contemporary Women Can Learn about Healing, Freedom, and Joy from Women of the New Testament and 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic. A spiritual director and popular retreat leader, she has appeared on National Public Radio, EWTN, Salt and Light Television, and is the author of the nationally syndicated column “Your Heart, His Home.”

Grace Before Meals

When our children were growing up, we prayed together every night at the dinner table. It was always that moment to reset, to breathe, to bow our heads and look at our empty plates before we put food on them. It was a reminder to express our gratitude for the earth, for the hard work of the farmers who grew and raised the food, for the family gathered together, and—most importantly—for God’s grace.

We are blessed in so many ways that we often take for granted. There is an old saying: “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.” Grace before meals is that gentle reminder.

Robin Davis has been a food writer for almost 20 years. The author of Recipe for Joy: A Stepmom’s Story of Finding Faith, Following Love, and Feeding a Family, she is a wife to Ken and stepmother to Ben, Molly, and Sarah.

If you missed it, read Jane’s reflection on chapters 13–15 of The Prayer List, and add your thoughts to the discussion. #prayerlist

1 Comment

  1. I always gave my daughters a blessing before bed (God bless and keep you + [kiss on the forehead] now and always.) When the second daughter came 3 years later I must have been busy and didn’t get to the first daughter fast enough. She came to me, lifted her bangs and presented her little face to me. I said, “What did you do my darling, bump your head?”. She answered, “No, I want my blessing!”
    How important shared little traditions are to our dear ones. I now share that same blessing with each of her four daughters when I go to visit (along with their bedtime prayers).

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