Vegetarian Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Vegetarian Prayer of Thanksgiving
This is a Coptic Gnostic prayer from one
of the Gnostic gospels found in Egypt included
in the Nag Hammadi Library:
Translated by James Brashler,
Peter A. Dirkse and Douglas M. Parrott
This the prayer that they spoke:
"We give thanks to You!
Every soul and heart is lifted up to You,
undisturbed name, honored with the name 'God'
and praised with the name 'Father',
for to everyone and everything (comes) the fatherly kindness
and affection and love,
and any teaching there may be that is sweet and plain,
giving us mind, speech, (and) knowledge:
mind, so that we may understand You,
speech, so that we may expound You,
knowledge, so that we may know You.
We rejoice, having been illuminated by Your knowledge.
We rejoice because You have shown us Yourself.
We rejoice because while we are in (the) body,
You have made us divine through Your knowledge.
"The thanksgiving of the man who attains to You is one thing:
that we know You.
We have known You, intellectual Light.
Life of life, we have known You.
Womb of every creature, we have known You.
Womb pregnant with the nature of the Father,
we have known You.
Eternal permanence of the begetting Father,
thus have we worshiped Your goodness.
There is one petition that we ask:
we would be preserved in knowledge.
And there is one protection that we desire:
that we not stumble in this kind of life."
When they had said these things in the prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it.*
* A vegetarian meal. This passage is also found in the Epilogue of Asclepius, in "HERMETICA," translated by Sir Walter Scott:
"Having prayed thus, let us betake ourselves to a meal unpolluted by flesh [animalia] of living things."
The G.R.S. Mead translation of the same passage says: "With this desire we now betake us to our pure and fleshless meal."
"With such hopes we turn to a pure meal that includes no living thing." (Asclepius, translated in "Hermetica", Brian Copenhaver, Cambridge University Press)