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Article # 288
The Grace

Author: Bro.M.Narendran.    Posted on: Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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The Grace

Bro. M. Narendran

(Paper presented in the Masonic Retreat in Mahabaleshwar in 2009)


The Ancient practice of reciting the Grace is much older than its adoption in Freemasonry. W.M invokes the Grace before the commencement of the Masonic Banquet. Some differences are noticed in the pronunciation of the two words, now constituting the Grace. My enquires about the meaning, origin and proper pronunciation of the Grace were no doubt answered, but I was instructed to do some research and find out the answers myself. In obedience to such instructions, a study about the origin and practice of Grace was made to ascertain the history, the meaning and as to what is the correct way of reciting the Grace. I narrated the matters collected by me and I was advised to prepare a paper with all the matters collected by me, which in all earnestness I completed and submitted the same to the senior brethren. After some discussions, some corrections were made and this paper emerged as the result of my maiden endeavour, which I am now submitting to this august gathering of highly evolved Freemasons to seek your kind acceptance of what little, I have learned and what I am now sharing with you.

The Benedictus, given in Luke 1:68-79, is one of the three great canticles in the opening chapters of this Gospel. Benedictus was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zacharia on the occasion of the birth of his son, St. John, the Baptist. The whole is of two parts. The first part is a song of thanksgiving for the realization of the Messianic hopes of the Jewish nation for deliverance. The deliverance pointed out by Zacharia  as the fulfilment of God's oath to Abraham was not for the sake of worldly power, but was for, serving " Him without fear, in Holiness and Justice all our days". The second part of the canticle is an address to his own son, who was to play an important  part in the scheme of the Redemption, as a prophet and to preach the remission of sins before the coming or the Orient, or Dawn, from on high. It is being used in various other liturgical offices, including funeral, at the moment of interment, when words of thanks giving for the Redemption are specially uttered. It is also part of the hour of Lauds in the Divine Service every morning.

The first part commences as follows. “Benedictus  Dominus Deus Israel, quia  visitavit, et  fecit redemptionem  plebes  suae”. The translation is as follows.

               “Blessed  be the Lord, God of Israel, because  He  has visited us and

                 wrought  redemption for His people

Grace was always recited before the meals in the various Inns including the Middle temple, from which the qualified were called to the Bar and in the various colleges of Oxford and Cambridge Universities and in ceremonial banquets. The Grace originally consisted of the following five lines

“Benedic Domine, nos et dona tua,

Quae de largitate tua sumus sumpturi

et concede, ut  illis  salubriter nutriti

tibi debitum  obsequium praestare  valeamus

per Christum Dominum nostrum.”


The meaning is  : -

Bless, O Lord, us and your gifts,
which from your bounty we are about to receive,
and grant that, healthily nourished by them,
we may render you due obedience,
through Christ our Lord.


As years rolled by, the Grace was reduced to first two lines meaning,

 “Bless, O Lord, us and your gifts, which from your bounty we are about to receive”


Still later the Grace was reduced to just two words “Benedictus  Benedicat.”,

meaning  “May the Blessed One give a blessing.”

After the dinner, thanksgiving is mentioned as “Benedicto benedicatur”,

  which means  “Let praise be given to the Blessed One”.

May be we can introduce this thanksgiving in our Lodges also.

Several Lodges in England and America have the practice of the Chaplain reciting the Grace for which purpose, the W.M calls upon the Chaplain or the brother chosen to recite the Grace, which   however was not confined to the said two words alone.

The following are some of the Graces so recited.

“We thank Thee. Architect Above, for good food and brotherly love. Relief  for all  in need,  we pray, Thy Truth, our Aid from day to day.”

“Bless O Lord before we dine, each dish of food, each glass of wine, And make us evermore aware, how much O Lord, we're in Thy care.”

“Bless us, 0 Lord and these your gifts, which we are about to receive of your kindness, and keep us mindful of those in want.”

“May the Lord bless the food and drink laid before us.  May we always remember the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves.”

“May the Great Architect of the Universe, bless that which His bounty has provided.”


Grace at the Installation :-

“Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, You give us summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, the assurance of food, providence and Fatherly care. Accept our thanks for this meal. Meet the needs of those who are facing the insecurities of life today and grant us - in our Good Companionship tonight, one more provision - the gift of a thankful heart.”


It is common knowledge that considerable number of the Rulers in Craft do not pronounce the Grace properly and it is a pitiable scene to find several of our past Masters prompting the W.M. The Chaplain at the time of his investiture is instructed to discharge his duty properly in the devotional portions. Masonic Banquets or dinners are part of the Masonic meetings and hence, the Chaplain may be entrusted with the duty of reciting the Grace for which purpose, it will be a good practice for the Chaplains of the Lodges to prepare a short prayer to be recited as Grace in our Masonic Banquets and dinners. Numerous Lodges in the world are following that practice, which is not opposed to or is contrary of, the tenets of the fraternity , but will add solemnity and serenity.


We find that the second word is pronounced  in some Lodges as Benedictii, which does not appear to be correct. Benedictii  is the name of a fish belonging to the Family Pectinidae and classified as Phylum: Mollusca and Genus: Chlamys. It is a type of Shell Fish.


The proper way of reciting the Grace therefore appears to be Benedictus, Benedicat                                                                                                                                                               

 Thank you.




The Author Bro.M.Narendran, is an Advocate, He is II generation Freemason in his family and was initiated as a Lewis in 2005. He is evincing much interest in studying Masonic books. His maiden attempt in presenting papers commences with this paper on The Grace.

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