) occurs nowhere else in the New Testa
ment. Taken in a temporal sense, this word is a pedagogical repe
tition of “this day,”
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.
Taken literally (
“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.
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
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.
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
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.”
130 St. Ignatius of Antioch,
20, 2: PG 5, 661;
131 St. Augustine,
57, 7: PL 38, 389.
132 St. Peter Chrysologus,
67: PL 52, 392; cf.