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Christian Prayer

681

2837

Daily

” (

epiousios

) occurs nowhere else in the New Testa­

ment. Taken in a temporal sense, this word is a pedagogical repe­

tition of “this day,”

128

to confirm us in trust “without reservation.”

Taken in the qualitative sense, it signifies what is necessary for life,

and more broadly every good thing sufficient for subsistence.

129

Taken literally (

epi-ousios:

“super-essential”), it refers directly to the

Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the “medicine of immortality,”

without which we have no life within us.

130

Finally in this connec­

tion, its heavenly meaning is evident: “this day” is the Day of the

Lord, the day of the feast of the kingdom, anticipated in the

Eucharist that is already the foretaste of the kingdom to come. For

this reason it is fitting for the Eucharistic liturgy to be celebrated

each day.

The Eucharist is our daily bread. The power belonging to this

divine food makes it a bond of union. Its effect is then

understood as unity, so that, gathered into his Body and

made members of him, we may become what we receive....

This also is our daily bread: the readings you hear each day

in church and the hymns you hear and sing. All these are

necessities for our pilgrimage.

131

The Father in heaven urges us, as children of heaven, to ask

for the bread of heaven. [Christ] himself is the bread who,

sown in the Virgin, raised up in the flesh, kneaded in the

Passion, baked in the oven of the tomb, reserved in churches,

brought to altars, furnishes the faithful each day with food

from heaven.

132

V.

“A

nd

F

orgive

U

s

O

ur

T

respasses

,

as

W

e

F

orgive

T

hose

W

ho

T

respass

A

gainst

U

s

2838

This petition is astonishing. If it consisted only of the first

phrase, “And forgive us our trespasses,” it might have been in­

cluded, implicitly, in the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer,

since Christ’s sacrifice is “that sins may be forgiven.” But, accord­

ing to the second phrase, our petition will not be heard unless we

have first met a strict requirement. Our petition looks to the future,

but our response must come first, for the two parts are joined by

the single word “as.”

128 Cf.

Ex

16:19-21.

129 Cf.

1 Tim

6:8.

130 St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad Eph.

20, 2: PG 5, 661;

Jn

6:53-56.

131 St. Augustine,

Sermo

57, 7: PL 38, 389.

132 St. Peter Chrysologus,

Sermo

67: PL 52, 392; cf.

Jn

6:51.

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