Give us this day our daily bread.
“Daily bread” may be understood both spiritually and simply, because both meanings help us to understand salvation. For Christ is the bread of life; and this bread is not the bread of all, but it is our bread. And as we say “our Father”, because he is the father of those who understand and believe, so too we say “our bread”, because Christ is the bread of us who touch his body. Now we ask that this bread be given us today, lest we who are in Christ and receive his Eucharist daily as the food of salvation should be separated from Christ’s body through some grave offence that prohibits us from receiving the heavenly bread. For according to his words: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Cyprian, ‘Treatises, On the Lord’s Prayer’ 18, in Manlio Simonetti (ed.), Ancient Christian Commentary on the Scripture, New Testament Ia: Matthew 1–13 (Downers Grove: IVP), 135.
Even of itself the teaching of the Blessed Paul is sufficient to give you a full assurance concerning those Divine Mysteries, of which having been deemed worthy, you have become of the same body and blood with Christ. For you have just heard him say distinctly, “that our Lord Jesus Christ on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, He broke it, gave to His disciples and said, ‘This is my body’. And having taken and given thanks, he said, “Take, drink, this is my blood.”. Since then He Himself declared and said of the Bread, “This is My Body,” who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, “This is My Blood,” who shall ever hesitate and say that it is not His blood?
He once turned the water into wine, akin to blood, in Cana of Galilee, and is it incredible that He should have turned wine into blood? When called to an earthly wedding, He miraculously wrought that wonderful work; should we not much more confess that He has given the enjoyment of His Body and Blood to His wedding guests [Mark 2:19]?
Therefore, let us partake of the Body and Blood of Christ with full assurance: for in the figure of Bread His Body is given to you, and His Blood in the figure of Wine, so that by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, you may be made to be of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us, because His Body and Blood are distributed through our members; thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, we become partakers of the divine nature [2 Peter 1:4].
Cyril of Jerusalem, ‘The Mysteries’ IV.2. Adapted from Philip Schaff (ed.), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. 7 (New York: Christian Literature Publishing Company, 1893), 151.
The word cup is to be understood as the perfect grace of charity by which the strength for undergoing suffering for the name of Christ is infused. This is given in such way that even if the opportunity by which anyone may undergo suffering for Christ is lacking, there is still such great strength in the heart by a divine gift that nothing is lacking for putting up with punishment, scorning life and undergoing death for the name of Christ. This is well understood in that text in the psalm where it is said, “My cup overflows,” and he had just said before, “You anoint my head with oil.” What must be understood by “head anointed with oil” except a mind strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit? The shining quality of this oil is the unconquerable fortitude of spiritual grace by which the holy drunkenness is poured into the inner depths of the heart so that every affection of the heart, overcome, is consigned to oblivion. Filled with this drunkenness, the spirit learns to rejoice always in the Lord and to consign to contempt whatever he loved in the world. We drink this drunkenness when, having received the Holy Spirit, we possess the grace of perfect charity that drives out fear.
Fulgentius: Selected Works. The Fathers of the Church, Volume 95 (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1997), 557–8; quoted in Craig A. Blaising & Carmen S. Hardin, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture; Old Testament VII: Psalms 1–50 (Downers Grove: IVP, 2008), 182.
But see how beautifully [king David] can speak! “I am,” he says, “the Lord’s sheep; He feeds me in a green pasture.” For a natural sheep nothing can be better than when its shepherd feeds it in pleasant green pastures and near fresh water. Where that happens to it, it feels that no one on earth is richer and more blessed than it is. For it finds there whatever it might desire: fine, lush, heavy grass, from which it will grow strong and fat; fresh water, with which it can refresh and restore itself whenever it likes; and it has its joy and pleasure there, too. At this point David would also say that God had shown him no greater grace and blessing on earth than this, that he was permitted to be at a place and among people where God’s Word and dwelling place and the right worship were to be found. Where these treasures are found, there things prosper well, both in the spiritual and in the secular realm. It is as if he were saying: “All people and kingdoms on earth are nothing. They may be richer, more powerful, and more splendid than we Jews, and they may also boast mightily of what they have. Moreover, they may glory in their wisdom and holiness, for they, too, have gods whom they serve. But with all their glory and splendour they are a mere desert and wilderness. For they have neither shepherd nor pasture, and therefore the sheep must go astray, famish, and perish. But though we are surrounded by many deserts, we can sit and rest here, safe and happy in Paradise and in a pleasant green pasture, where there is an abundance of grass and of fresh water and where we have our Shepherd near us, who feeds us, leads us to the watering place, and protects us. Therefore we cannot want.”
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 12: Selected Psalms I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 160–161.