PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section Two: The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”
Article 3, The Seven Petitions (cont’d)
IV. “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”
§ 2828 “Give us”: The trust of children who look to their Father for everything is beautiful. “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). He gives to all the living “their food in due season” (Psalm 104:27b). Jesus teaches us this petition, because it glorifies our Father by acknowledging how good He is, beyond all goodness.
§ 2829 “Give us” also expresses the Covenant. We are His and He is ours, for our sake. But this “us” also recognizes Him as the Father of all men and we pray to Him for them all, in solidarity with their needs and sufferings.
§ 2830 “Our bread”: The Father who gives us life cannot but give us the nourishment life requires – all appropriate goods and blessings, both material and spiritual. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus insists on the filial trust that cooperates with our Father’s Providence (cf. Mt 6:25-34). He is not inviting us to idleness (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13), but wants to relieve us from nagging worry and preoccupation. Such is the filial surrender of the children of God:
- “To those who seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, He has promised to give all else besides. Since everything indeed belongs to God, he who possesses God wants for nothing, if he himself is not found wanting before God” (DDO 21: PL 4, 534A).
§ 2831 But the presence of those who hunger because they lack bread opens up another profound meaning of this petition. The drama of hunger in the world calls Christians who pray sincerely to exercise responsibility toward their brethren, both in their personal behavior and in their solidarity with the human family. This petition of the Lord’s Prayer cannot be isolated from the parables of the poor man Lazarus and of the Last Judgment (cf. Luke 16:19-31; Mt 25:31-46).
§ 2832 As leaven in the dough, the newness of the Kingdom should make the Earth “rise” by the Spirit of Christ (cf. AA 5). This must be shown by the establishment of justice in personal and social, economic and international relations, without ever forgetting that there are no just structures without people who want to be just.
§ 2833 “Our” bread is the “one” loaf for the “many.” In the Beatitudes, “poverty” is the virtue of sharing: it calls us to communicate and share both material and spiritual goods, not by coercion but out of love, so that the abundance of some may remedy the needs of others (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:1-15).
Tomorrow – “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” (to be continued)
(Part IV, Section 2, Article 3 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “AA” – “Apostolicam Actuositatem [Apostolate of the Laity]”, Vatican Council II
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
- “DDO” – St. Cyprian, “De Dominica Oratione [The Lord’s Prayer]”
- “PL” – “Patrologia Latina [Latin Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Latin language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1841‑1855 A.D.)