“Give us this day our daily bread.”
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10
In the fourth petition of the Our Father we humbly recognize our need for the Lord and ask Him to supply us with not just the basic necessities of life, but the riches of a full life abundantly lived. “The Father who gives us life cannot but give us the nourishment life requires — all appropriate goods and blessings, both material and spiritual” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2830).
We ask, in the fourth petition, for God to provide us with all our needs, both material and spiritual. It is easy to understand the need for God’s blessing in the physical realm, especially when looking into the eyes of the poor. There is a hunger and want that needs to be satisfied. The Church, through her social teaching, helps us to be mindful of our physical needs, but more importantly, the needs of the poor.
What of the spiritual needs that God will provide for? In the Scriptures, Jesus speaks of three kinds of spiritual food: the will of God, the Word of God, and His own flesh, the Eucharist.
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.” – John 4:34
God wills that each of his sons and daughters live a life fully alive. He desires for each of us to be happy. He longs for us to be with Him in heaven. If we do what God wills, is that not a spiritual feast?
“One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4
The Scriptures — the Word of God — help us to know who God is and what He wills for our life. And we are pointed to the greatest of all foods: the Word made flesh!
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” – John 6:35
Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, is our spiritual food in the Eucharist! We ask for this spiritual nourishment every day and have the opportunity to receive Him at every Mass!
The spiritual life within our souls, grace, is the most important and valuable life we could desire and ask for. When filled with God’s grace, we are filled with Life itself and all our needs are cared for.
There have been saints throughout history that have lived for many years solely on the Eucharist, consuming no other food or water. We are told that both St. Catherine of Siena and St. Joseph of Cupertino lived the last few years of their life without any physical sustenance other than the Eucharist. In our own time, Blessed Alexandrina da Costa lived for 13 years without consuming anything but the Eucharist, baffling all the doctors who examined her.
Questions for Discussion
What are some physical needs you pray for?
What are some spiritual needs?
How do you discern what is God’s will for your life?
How might you use the Scriptures to pray? (Lectio Divina)
What are some ways that you can better prepare yourself, each week, to receive Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist?
What kind of prayers do you pray after you receive Communion?
Read Part One and Part Two and Part Three of this series.
JAMES BLANKENSHIP is the director of religious education at St. Francis De Sales Church in Purcellville, Virginia. He is founder of the St. Isidore Project, dedicated to the poor by growing food and offering education and community.
Image credit: JORISVO/SHUTTERSTOCK