“Give us this day our daily (τὸν ἐπιούσιον) bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…” (Mt 6: 11-12)
Yesterday I reflected on an unhealthy, deadly kind of “bread” that is Internet porn. Today I’d like to reflect on the vital, essential, “daily bread,” suitable to our nature both now and in the life to come (according to the many explanations one finds in the Fathers, of the term “τὸν ἐπιούσιον”), which we are called to ask for and desire. One of the great things about Lent, I find, is that it teaches me to pay closer attention to my “food-choices,” both physical and spiritual.
As far as physical “bread” goes, let me gratefully note that God provides it for me today. It includes the entirety of my physical needs, like food, shelter, clothing, face-to-face human fellowship, technology, etc. Gratitude steers me away from taking this “bread” for granted, or snatching up too much of it, or desiring “more,” or desiring what others have, when I actually have enough. And forgiveness helps maintain my peace with my material situation, if anyone else “trespasses” against, or takes away, any of my “bread.”
As far as healthy and vital spiritual “bread” goes, let me note that I easily lose sight of it altogether, overindulging in the wrong kind. I often allow myself to be fed “too much information” from news-sources or other media. (Do I really need to see more reports on a recent snow storm? On a misspelling in the President’s tweets? On yet another so-and-so’s opinion of the new healthcare bill?) I may be entirely exhausted and famished, without the essential “daily bread” I need, and not even notice it.
So today let me take pause, and take care of my health, both physical and spiritual. Let me re-connect with the Giver of Life and open up to His nurturing presence and grace, so abundantly on offer today, and every day. I take a bit of time for some deep, prayerful reading as well, that I may be nourished and strengthened through life-giving words, rather than exhausting and confusing ones. “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Amen!