“Our bread. Material bread. Eucharistic bread. Bread of doctrine. Bread of grace. Our bread, because it had to be gained with the sweat of our face. We have to prepare ourselves. We have to apply it. We have to co-operate. Then we will make ourselves believers in this bread and it will be ours“
(The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Mathew, annotations by…, Barcelona, 1859, p.47, Note).
THE BREAD SHOP
Fr. Claret understands ‘our bread’ so much in spiritual as in material sense: the Eucharist and meal of each day. Jesus teaches his disciples to ask the Father, “Give us today our bread of each day.” It is not a bread which the Father makes fall from the heaven miraculously. Rather according to Claret, it is the fruit of ‘the sweat of our face.’ Therefore, the petition of daily food has so much of trust in God as our commitment to go in search of it; without both we cannot bless the table.
Work is a virtue; it means fight against the hunger and death. From the farmer to the aristocratic executive, the law of work is obligatory for all. The Bible presents the work not only as curse (cf. Gen.3:18), but also as normal condition of human life (cf. Gen.2:15). Jesus, manual labourer during some time will present the Father as a continuous worker (cf. Jn 5:17). And St. Paul wishes that in his communities there be a healthy and tranquil laboriousness (cf. 1Thess.4:11).
Claret understood the work, above all the apostolic work, as a form of following Jesus Christ: “Pray, work and suffer” (Aut 494). But the work also can be vitiated searching in it only one’s own and unsupportive enrichment. The work of Claret was for and on account of others, never the mere search for a salary. Already St. Paul teaches that it is necessary to work to sustain those in need(Acts 20:35). To get a salary and the daily bread should not be at the cost of forgetting others.
In the actuality labour conditions are demanding a healthy relationship of the workers among themselves and the patron or undertaker so that the work may remain dignified through fraternity and justice. Only thus will we be able to eat with peace “the bread of every day” in community or in family.
“Give us today our daily bread” should be a prayer to Heaven and a commitment with the earth. What is your attitude towards the work? How are your labour relationships?