Our Daily Bread

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

-John Muir
 

I have been blessed to spend some time this month with the Lord’s Prayer, praying it line by line.  Today I am swept into the infinite possibilities of ‘daily bread.’  This might seem like a contradiction.  How can the daily become infinite?  How can the finite express a truth that goes well beyond its material self?

 

Consider the flour that is used for bread making.  It has come from a seed, planted in the earth, watered by the rain, warmed and fed by the sun and harvested by human hands.  Kernels are threshed from the wheat plant and ground by a rocky millstone.  When I hold a piece of bread I am touching into earth, water, air and fire-the elements of life.

 

This is the way the Spirit works.  Understanding my daily physical needs, God feeds me also with the eternal and transcendent.  Our Eucharistic celebration is an enactment of this truth.  The bread, made of simple earthly elements, becomes the Real Presence of Christ.  As grain was transformed into bread, we are transformed into Christ-bearers when we participate in the Eucharistic feast.

 

The daily-ness of this petition, ‘Give us today our daily bread’, reminds us of the way that God interacts with us.  The present moment, right now, is enough for us because it is enough for God.  As God gave manna in the wilderness-daily-so God gives nourishment and strength for our daily moments as well.

 

The wilderness is a place to practice the reality of living in the present moment.  It is a space to wonder about why we are not satisfied with the gifts given in the present moment.  For today is where we live.  This day is the day we are breathing and sensing and communing with God.  Today I feel the sun on my skin, smell the earth as breezes move through my study, and I am at peace.