Nikodemos 1John of Damaskos says: “This bread, which is called superessential, is the first-fruits of the future bread.

“For ‘superessential’ means either of the future, which is to say, of the future age, or that which we receive for the constitution of our essence (that is, our body).

“Whether it be the former or the latter meaning, it is obviously to be called the body of the Lord.”

[…] Because the Fathers say that the body of the Lord is called superessential bread does not mean that they dismiss the common bread which is given for the sustenance of our body, for this also is a gift of God.

[…] However, this common bread is called superessential in a secondary, not primary, sense, for it strengthens only the body and not the soul.

But the body of our Lord and the word of God are called superessential bread primarily and in every respect, because they strengthen both soul and body. This is apparent from the example of many men.

The Prophet Moses fasted forty days and nights without eating any bodily food. The Prophet Elias likewise fasted for forty days. Under the New Grace a great number of Saints, with only the word of God and Holy Communion, have lived without food for many days.

For this reason, as many of us as have been deemed worthy to receive spiritual rebirth through divine Baptism have the need to frequently eat, with fervent love and a broken heart, this spiritual food, in order to live a spiritual life and to keep ourselves unharmed by the poison of the noetic serpent, the devil.

If Adam had eaten of this food, he would not have died the double death of the soul and of the body.

We must not eat this spiritual bread, however, without preparation, for our God is called a consuming fire that burns. Holy Communion purifies, illumines, and sanctifies those who eat the Master’s body and drink the immaculate blood with a pure conscience and true confession.

[…] We have spoken, then, about the third and final meaning of the superessential bread, which is as necessary and beneficial to us as Holy Baptism is necessary and beneficial.

For this reason, we must frequently run to the divine Mysteries and partake of the superessential bread that we ask for from our God and Father, with fear and love, while it is still “today.”

And “today” has three meanings. First, it means every day. Second, it means the whole life of each person. And third, it means the entire present, seventh age. For in the future age there is no today and tomorrow, but that entire age is one eternal day.

Nicodemus the Hagiorite (1749-1809): Explanation of the Lord’s Prayer.

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