TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MONSEIGNEUR DE LA BOUILLERIE, Archbishop of Perga, Coadjutor of Bordeaux.
Ah! it is especially in the sacrament of the altar that this solicitude appears.
It is remarkable that in the beautiful prayer which comes to us from the Saviour Himself, and which we should repeat every day, whereas S. Luke writes simply, " Give us this day our daily bread," the Evangelist S. Matthew adds: ''Give us this day our supersubstantial bread."
Wherefore this different version ? It is most certainly the same prayer, and dictated by the same Divine Mouth. Is it the same bread, however, which is spoken of?
The holy Doctors who comment upon the Gospel tell us unanimously that the Lord exhorts us here to ask of our Heavenly Father our nourishment of every day.
But also they recognise in the words of S. Matthew a formal expression which refers to the holy Eucharist. O beautiful and — if I may so express myself—divine confusion of language, in which the Eucharistic Bread and our common daily bread become, together, the object of the prayer which we should address to God! But especially consider, I pray you, how encouraging to the poor is this thought which I propose for your meditation. One would say that the Eucharist Itself willed to be their merciful Providence, and to supply all their needs. When nourishing our souls, It is the Eucharist ; when nourishing our bodies, It is Providence ! The Eucharist and Providence —it is always the same God, the God Whom we invoke, and Who every day answers our prayer.
So I willingly apply to the poor who remain faithful to the Eucharist these consoling words of the Psalmist: "I have been young, and now am old, and I have not seen the just forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
This just man is the poor who sits faithfully down at the Eucharistic Table. This just man begs not his bread. He first asks for the celestial Bread, the Bread which is super-substantial, and the Heavenly Father, hearing his prayer, knows that He owes him also his daily bread. I add that the Eucharist procures unceasingly for the poor wonderful resources, because It is the divine torch whence is kindled in all souls the beautiful fire of charity.
I will not repeat here, O Christian soul, the instruction which I have already taken care to give you elsewhere.But remember, I pray you, the close relations which God has been pleased to establish between charity and the Eucharist, and you will acknowledge, with me, that the great and innumerable works instituted in the Church to subvert all misfortunes have nearly always owed their origin, their virtue, and their success to Eucharistic influence.