Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof

Today is officially one year that the English-speaking Catholic Church began using the Third Revision of the Roman Missal. Since the announcement by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 2000, it has been the hope of the Church that the revised translation would be an opportunity for everyone to grow closer to the Lord through a more  "full, conscious, active participation" in the Mass.

One of my favorite revisions is

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
Have you ever heard someone say. "I just don't get anything out of Mass."? Perhaps you have even said or thought this before? One of the beauties of the Catholic Mass is that it is true worship of God. Worship is directed toward God, not toward one's self. Why do we think there has to be "something in it for me" to go to Mass? Do we think we actually deserve some benefit or are "worthy" of such on our own accord?

Remember where those words come from. In Matthew 8:8, the centurion says to Jesus, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed." He doesn't think Jesus owes him anything. He sees himself as not being worthy of the presence of the Lord.

Jesus responds by saying, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” Wow! Jesus recognizes that "the chosen people" have become dry, lacking in faith, and perhaps complacent. I think we can and have become like that too. Jesus rewards the centurion's faith by healing his servant.

Well, we also are not worthy, and we don't deserve anything. But here's the thing; God wants to give it all to us anyway. What all? Himself, His life, and all that that implies.

We say these words just before receiving Him in Holy Communion, the Eucharist, and having properly prepared ourselves to receive Him, we receive the Grace which He desires for our lives.

This is from the Commentary on the Order of Mass:

Nonetheless, despite these Biblical origins, speaking of “my roof” may seem strange before Holy Communion, since Christ is coming to us in the form of food – not literally entering into our houses. Certainly, the clear association with Matthew, chapter 8, has a figurative intent, but it may also be helpful to recall that Saint Paul says, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you” (1 Cor 6:19). 
We are therefore to make our bodies into fitting homes for God’s grace to dwell within our souls. The Eucharist is true food that provides spiritual nourishment, which is why we will refer more specifically to “my soul” in the last line. But this sacramental strength for our souls in turn informs both our mental and physical deeds (recall the Confiteor also incorporates both types of action – “in my thoughts and in my words”), such that the totality of our bodies, souls, and lives may become suitable instruments of the Lord.

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