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Ask the Patriarch 187
On secular grace

from: Leah Senarighi

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I am a proud Agnostic and belong to this awesome Church of ours. I am the only one in my family besides my intelligent 10 yr old son that is Agnostic and I sometimes feel "left out" or "put on the spot" when it comes to family gatherings, especially during Holidays and my question is this:

When it comes to my turn for dinner "prayer/grace" I would like to participate and express my Agnosticism. Is there a "prayer" I may use as to be true to my belief and not offend my family? (my belief on offense is that if people are offended, it's their problem not mine, but this is my family whom I respect and love.)

Thank you so much for your input. And if there is already a question regarding this and I have not found it, I apologize. Thank you!

The Patriarch replies:


I'm glad you enjoy being in our Church and that your son is an agnostic too.

The issue of agnostic grace has come up before on this site, mostly as an aside to another question rather than directly addressing the issue as you have done. Given that Thanksgiving is coming up in the USA, followed a few weeks later by Christmas everywhere, each of which creates family and social gatherings, it would be timely to repeat the suggestions offered earlier.

In Ask the Patriarch 65 it was suggested:

And in Ask the Patriarch 122, the following links were offered

What you have to do is prepare yourself so you can recite a secular grace calmly and comfortably without any special emphasis to flag what you are doing - just let it come out routinely and automatically - in the same way as most religious graces are recited. As Paul Sharkey wrote elsewhere on the site...