pane e vino

The men and women of the Bose monastic community gathered in prayer

Il Monastero di Bose was founded fifty years ago by a Catholic layman named Enzo Bianchi. The community describes itself thus: “Bose is a community of monks and nuns belonging to different Christian Churches, seeking God in obedience to the Gospel and living in fraternal communion and celibacy. We live in fellowship with men and women and at their service.”

Recently I saw a series of tweets from the Italian publisher Einaudi Editore describing a talk given by Enzo Bianchi. In one of them he’s quoted as saying — and I do not know the specific context — “Il pane è il bisogno, il vino è la gratuità.” My Italian is Dantean and formal, not contemporary and idiomatic, but when I read that I see: The bread is the need, the wine is the grace. Bread fills the hungry belly; wine gladdens the heart. What a glorious description of the Eucharistic meal, which is given both to feed us and to delight us.