Continued here are Father Schouppe’s meditations on the Lord’s Prayer, based on the second manner of prayer taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola.
“Give us this day our daily bread”
“A father is bound to feed his children. Our heavenly Father who has given us life and so many other blessings, is certainly disposed to give us our bread. Nevertheless, He wishes us to ask it, for children ought to be dependant on their father.”
“In teaching us to ask our bread, our Divine Master does not mean to dispense us from working for it. He only wishes to make us understand that what we gain by our industry still comes from Him, and that all our labours would be fruitless without the blessing of our Heavenly Father. If the Lord buildeth not the house, if He giveth not fruitfulness to the earth, if He ripeneth not the harvest, man laboureth in vain (Ps 126).”
“He wishes us to ask bread of our heavenly Father, to show us that this good Father provides for our wants, that we ought to have confidence in Him, and cast away all excessive solicitude about the things of earth. . . . ‘Seek ye, therefore, first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Matt 6:33).”
“He makes us ask our bread, to cure us of an error which is only too common, and very prejudicial to salvation—that of believing our temporal affairs depend solely on our own activity and industry.”
“All men, even the richest, ought to make this petition: (1) because God, who has given them their fortune, can alone preserve it to them; (2) because, besides material goods, they also require personal blessings, such as health and spiritual strength, which requires to be renewed every day; (3) because they ought not to ask daily bread for themselves alone, but also for their neighbour.”
“Our Divine Master does not make us ask our bread once for all, nor for several days in advance, but only for to-day, this present day, in order that we may repeat our prayer every day; and to show us that on every day, even the most prosperous ones, we are depending on our Heavenly Father.”
“‘Be not, therefore, solicitous for tomorrow: for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof’ (Matt 6:34). Our Divine Master does not mean to forbid a prudent foresight; nor does He even hinder us from asking for to-morrow: provided we be free from the spirit of covetousness, and that excessive solicitude which is opposed to confidence in God.”
“Let us not be solicitous about tomorrow, which perhaps we shall never see. What folly to think so much of an uncertain future, to amass riches for the days, for the years, when we shall no longer be in the world.”
Quotations from Francois Xavier Schouppe, An Easy Method of Meditation (Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son, 1883).