Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer – Part 8 of 12

Institution of the Eucharist by Justus van Gent

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.

“Our daily bread”

“Give us our bread: our spiritual bread. ‘Man liveth not by bread alone’ (Matt 4:4). The soul must also have its food.”

“The spiritual bread by excellence is Jesus Christ himself: ‘I am the living Bread, which came down from heaven’ (John 6:51). Our souls are nourished by it not only at the eucharistic banquet, but by every interior act of faith, hope, and charity.”

“If we ask our bread, it is only with a view to our salvation. Bread is the means appointed by Providence to maintain our corporal life, in order to be able to work out our salvation. Under the name of bread we include not only food, but in general all things necessary, as well for our spiritual as for our corporal life. We mean food, clothing, lodging, health, success in temporal affairs, and everything else necessary for the suitable support of man and his family. We ask necessaries, not superfluity or opulence. Our Divine Master, who became poor for our sake, does not teach us to ask riches. ‘Having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content’ (1 Tim 6:8).”

“We ask our daily bread, the common, ordinary bread of every day, in order to learn to content ourselves with necessaries, without seeking dainties or any of those things which only gratify the senses and feed the passions.”

“One condition for obtaining from God what we ask is, that we also give to our neighbour according to our means: ‘Give and it shall be given to you’ (Luke 6:38).”

“We have not been taught to say give me, but give us, to show us that we must ask the gifts of God in the spirit of fraternal charity, not for ourselves alone, but for all men, even our enemies. God gives his gifts, especially temporal blessings to man, not for himself alone, but also for others: in order that he may share them with his neighbour, and cast an abundant alms into the lap of the poor.”

“Although the bread we ask is a gift of God, nevertheless we call it ours, because it corresponds to our wants, and is destined for us by our Father. It is already ours: we are entitled to it in virtue of the merits and promises of Jesus Christ.”

“We shall not taste on earth the bread we shall eat in heaven. ‘Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God’ (Luke 14:15).”

“Our bread. . . . Ought it not to be like that of our Master? ‘My food,’ said He, ‘is to do the will of Him that sent me, that I may perfect his work’ (John 4:34).”

Quotations from Francois Xavier Schouppe, An Easy Method of Meditation (Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son, 1883).

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