Friday, September 27, 2019

Understanding the Lord’s Prayer (6): Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

When we ask the tho Lord for daily bread we are asking for the necessities for a spiritual life. The Greek word for the kind of bread is “επιουσιον” which implies more than simple bread but that which is necessary to sanctify, it is literally “above the essence” or “supersubstantial.”

The Orthodox Study Bible gives us this explanation.
The expression daily bread indicates not merely bread for this day, taken for sustenance of life; it is bread for the eternal day of the Kingdom of God, for sustenance of our immortal life. It is living, “superessential” bread. This bread prepared by God in the beginning of immortality of our nature, is the Bread of Life which will triumph over death brought about by sin.
We earlier have asked that His kingdom come. Jesus commands us to seek first the Kingdom of God Mat 6:33. Now we are asking for more than physical bread for our physical health, for spiritual bread which gives us eternal life. This can be see as the Living Bread, Christ Himself, that we receive in the sacrament of Holy Communion 

Saint Gregory of Nyssa interprets this as what is necessary for “moderate conduct.” He says it is “being content with little by being free from evil passions, on the same plane as the angelic attribute of lacking nothing.”

He says further,
Your obligation to human nature is only a small thing. To your flesh you owe food, a modest and easily accessible thing, if your purpose is to meet only a need, ask for bread to meet life's needs. You are obligated by nature to the body only in this regard. Bread is for our needs today. The Kingdom is for our blessedness in the future.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria says,
Let us ask of Him what suffices for life — food, that is to say, and clothing, and whatever is sufficient for us -avoiding all wish to be rich, as that which threatens us with destruction. For if this is our will, Christ will accept and bless us;
The idea of daily shows us that our spiritual needs are needed every day. The spiritual life is ongoing day by day. It is not attainable in a single day but necessary every day.

Saint Cassian says,
It warns us that we should pour out this prayer constantly, because there is no day on which it is not necessary for us to strengthen the heart of our inner man by eating this.9th Conference p 343
Saint John Chrysostom says that it says daily so we will not worry about tomorrow. 

Saint Theophylact says,
By the word daily He means what is sufficient for our essence, and our sustenance. He teaches us not to worry about tomorrow. Bread for our essence is also the Body of Christ, of Which we pray we may partake without condemnation.Theophylact on Matthew p 58

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