Lent.jpgMatthew 6:11 (ESV)- Give us this day our daily bread…

Christianity is a disciplic religion, and because of this, Lord Jesus established the Sacrament of Holy Baptism as the rite of initiation for those who answer his invitation to follow Him and mold their lives according to His instructions. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Since the beginning of our venerable religion, the disciples of our holy Apostles (Apostolic Fathers) have passed down the life-transforming mysteries and insights that the teachings of Christ contain.

The “Lord’s Prayer” was Christ’s own personal prayer through which he himself molded his mind and founded his life. The foundational mystery of the “Lord’s Prayer” is that it is in fact a condensed outline of the essence of Christ’s teachings.

A common trait within Jesus’ teachings was the use of parabolic language, which oftentimes hid the true meaning of the Truth he was trying to convey. The deliberate purpose for this was so that the earthly-minded man would not understand his teachings, and hence, desecrate them. (Matthew 7:6; 13:13)

The Lord’s Prayer is prayed by millions of persons each day…yet the majority do not understand what they are saying. The reason why they do not understand is because they live under the assumption that they know the meaning of the word-pictures that Christ is conveying. In fact, because most think they understand what they are saying, they never stop to ask the meaning of such words- even though the words do not make sense to rational thinking.

For instance, Christ teaches us that since God feeds the sparrows of the air and clothes the flowers of the field- then why should we worry about bread or clothes? (Matthew 6:25-34)

On the other hand, the Lord instructs us to pray to the Father saying: “Give us this day our daily bread…”

In the midst of this apparent contradiction, the Apostolic Fathers pass down the meaning of this, most beautiful of spiritual prayers ever composed by any mystic that has ever existed on the face of this planet.

st-cyprian-of-carthage.jpgSt. Cyprian of Carthage (Bishop), who lived between the years 200-258 A.D. explains the true meaning of “Give us this day our daily bread…” in his Fourth Treatise on The Lord’s Prayer , sections 18 and 19.

The following is a translation of his work… The quoted Bible passages are linked to sections which offer the passages in English, Greek and Latin. Other underlined references will take the reader to other sources that are useful when trying to understand the Christian Faith without a bonafide teacher.

18. As the prayer goes forward, we ask and say, Give us this day our daily bread. And this may be understood both spiritually and literally, because either way of understanding it is rich in divine usefulness to our salvation. For Christ is the bread of life; and this bread does not belong to all men, but it is ours. And according as we say, Our Father, because He is the Father of those who understand and believe; so also we call it our bread, because Christ is the bread of those who are in union with His body. And we ask that this bread should be given to us daily, that we who are in Christ, and daily receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may not, by the interposition of some heinous sin, by being prevented, as withheld and not communicating, from partaking of the heavenly bread, be separated from Christ’s body, as He Himself predicts, and warns, I am the bread of life which came down from heaven. If any man eat of my bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. John 6:58 When, therefore, He says, that whoever shall eat of His bread shall live for ever; as it is manifest that those who partake of His body and receive the Eucharist by the right of communion are living, so, on the other hand, we must fear and pray lest any one who, being withheld from communion, is separate from Christ’s body should remain at a distance from salvation; as He Himself threatens, and says, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall have no life in you. John 6:53 And therefore we ask that our bread— that is, Christ— may be given to us daily, that we who abide and live in Christ may not depart from His sanctification and body.

19. But it may also be thus understood, that we who have renounced the world, and have cast away its riches and pomps in the faith of spiritual grace, should only ask for ourselves food and support, since the Lord instructs us, and says, Whosoever forsakes not all that he has, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33 But he who has begun to be Christ’s disciple, renouncing all things according to the word of his Master, ought to ask for his daily food, and not to extend the desires of his petition to a long period, as the Lord again prescribes, and says, Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow itself shall take thought for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34 With reason, then, does Christ’s disciple ask food for himself for the day, since he is prohibited from thinking of the morrow; beJesus teachingcause it becomes a contradiction and a repugnant thing for us to seek to live long in this world, since we ask that the kingdom of God should come quickly. Thus also the blessed apostle admonishes us, giving substance and strength to the steadfastness of our hope and faith: We brought nothing, says he, into this world, nor indeed can we carry anything out. Having therefore food and raiment, let us be herewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many and hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have made shipwreck from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:7