Epiousion (Greek) and quotidianum (Latin) in the Gospels means “daily.” “Give us this day our daily bread,” as is said in the Lord’s Prayer has two meanings according to Saint Augustine of Hippo (354–430 A.D.). It is not the bread you get at the bakery; rather the “daily” bread, Augustine says, is the Word of God and the Word made flesh.
Jesus said “one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Augustine said the revealed Word of God is our “bread,” and we should therefore partake of it daily.
Catholics, contrary to what some believe, are encouraged to read the Bible daily. At daily Mass and daily praying of the Breviary (Liturgy of the Hours), Sacred Scripture is read. Listening to and reading the Word is food for the soul.
Augustine also understood “daily bread” to mean the Word made flesh, the consecrated bread which Catholics believe is the real, true, and substantial body of Christ. Jesus said in the sixth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel that He is the “bread of life,” and he who eats this bread will never die. The daily bread for Catholic Christians is the Holy Eucharist (Blessed Sacrament or Holy Communion), which can be received each day if the person is properly disposed (by being in the state of grace).
It is because of this connection that the Church inserted the Lord’s Prayer into the Mass (Eucharistic Liturgy), and it is prayed just before Holy Communion is given to the congregation. Jesus also mentioned in the sixth chapter of John that just as God gave the Hebrews manna in the desert to keep them physically alive, Jesus Himself was the “bread from heaven,” and He commanded that we “eat His body” and “drink His blood.”
Daily Communion is a privilege, honor, and blessing many Catholics wish they could have. Mother Teresa of Calcutta spent a holy hour before the tabernacle containing the Consecrated Host each day before she began her work in the streets of Calcutta among the poorest of the poor.