Pan de Vida . . . Bread of Life

Celinda says, "I love to make bread!" Her family and friends know by the taste.

Celinda says, “I love to make bread!” Her family and friends know by the taste.

Chileans eat a lot of bread. In fact, among all the world’s peoples, only the Germans eat more bread than the people of Chile. Every day, morning and evening, bakery trucks bring fresh bread to our little “mom and pop” groceries, where people line up to buy just enough for their breakfast or simple supper.

Home-baked bread is a special gift . . . for example, when Julia or another of our women arrives early with two round mini-loaves for our breakfast, still warm from the oven!

Like the English “bread,” the Spanish “pan” is an ancient word that basically means “food.” It’s one of the oldest prepared foods in the world. There’s evidence that humans were making some sort of bread over 30,000 years ago. No wonder Jesus chose bread as the human nourishment that would become our spiritual food   . . . his very self!

Father Ronald Rolheiser writes:

The Eucharist, as sacrifice, invites us to become like kernels of wheat that make up the bread and the clusters of grapes that make up the wine, so that we can become part of the communal loaf and single cup . . . by sacrificing the things that divide us, [we] should become the body and blood of Christ.

In her beautiful hymn, “Bread for the World,” Bernadette Farrell gives us a prayer that arises out of gratitude for the incredible gift of Jesus in the Eucharist.

May we who eat be bread for others . . .

                             may we who drink pour out our love. 

What a wonderful prayer this would be for us each time that Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist, our Bread of Life!

The words from Ronald Rolheiser are from Our One Great Act of Fidelity: Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist. Bernadette Farrell’s hymn appears in the hymnal Breaking Bread.


  1. Sister Martha Keller

    Thanks Ruth for the beautiful reflection on bread, I join you in praying that we may be united as the Body and Blood of Christ and overcome all that divides us as the People of God.

Comments are closed