Christians the world over recognize this line from the Lord’s prayer, a prayer I learned in catechism (the Gospel of Matthew version) when I was a child and continue to pray to this day.
Rev. Dr. Robert Hansel wrote an eight-part series exploring the meaning of this prayer, line by line. I believe the very essence of what the Lord’s prayer is all about is contained in this one line.
The following is an excerpt from Rev. Hansel’s series; Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread: “The bread of life, without which none of us can continue on-and of which God is the only source-is measured out one day at a time, ours to use or misuse in any way we decide.
We can try to keep and hoard it in a miserly narrow existence, or we can let it flow into and through us to touch and enrich the lives of others. It is a gift that is intended for us to unwrap and discover with joy and wonder each and every morning, something to excite us with the ever-changing potential it brings for living generously and victoriously. That’s the opportunity we’re asking God to give us each time we offer this prayer.”
The image of the man praying is a picture my mother had hanging for years over our small kitchen table. It now resides at my sisters in a prominent position … over her kitchen table.
Bread; the Staff of Life is fundamentally important to Sicilian life. Bread is a symbol of hospitality. When we “Break Bread” with family, friends and even strangers, we are not only sharing food, but we are also savoring our faith.
As I continue to offer recipes and insight into Meranda, (snack) the common denominator IS the bread. It could be the base as in foccacia or pizza, the snack itself like a thick slice of bruschetta, (toasted garlic bread) or a crusty country roll to go with a few olives.
Years ago, when my mother and I were in Sicily, we could not get our fill of the local breads! We enjoyed a roll (with jam) for breakfast (colazione), panino (sandwich) for lunch (pranzo), and puccia (olive-studded rolls) for an afternoon snack (Merenda), and of course appetizers before dinner (cena) in the form of crostini (little toasts).
The bread is different there, not like any bread I’ve ever eaten in the states. It is thick and rustic, crunchy and chewy, nourishing and sustaining, it is soul-satisfying … it is heavenly!