Sleeping With Bread

by Ray Reuter on July 23, 2015

During the bombing raids of WWII, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”


BreadI heard this story at a recent Ignatian Spirituality Conference. This story was shared as a simple foundation for the popular Ignatian prayer method called the Examen or the Examination of Consciousness. At the end of each day, ask yourself two questions:

  • For what am I most grateful?
  • For what am I least grateful?

The outcome is clarity regarding what brings us joy and consolation in our lives, and what brings us desolation and unhappiness. Variations of these questions include …

  • When was I most free? Least free?
  • When did I feel most alive and engaged? Least alive and engaged?
  • When did I experience peace? Unrest and anxiety?
  • When did I feel whole and good enough? Less than and not good enough?
  • When did I feel most connected and a sense of belonging? Least connected and isolated?
  • When was I most creative? Least creative?
  • When did I feel most fully myself, living on purpose and in mission? Least myself, not on purpose or in mission?
  • As of course, when did I feel unfettered? Fettered?

Beyond deepening our spiritual relationship, this practice can enhance other significant relationships such as … Husband & Wife, Parent & Child, Leader & Employee / Associate, Friends.

So … What are you grateful for? What is your bread today?

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