“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” This part of the liturgy, which Catholics pray before receiving Communion, has always thrown me off and made me feel a bit sad and unworthy to approach the Throne of Grace.
I mean, who doesn’t have Jesus on their top three guest list for their dream dinner-party (along with Mother Teresa and Ellen Degeneres—that’s a party).
This scripture comes to us in Matthew 8, in which these words were spoken by the Roman centurion to Jesus as he begs the Lord to heal his sick servant. The prayer follows after the words of the priest, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”
THIS is a wake-up call before we receive the Eucharist (hopefully no one is sleeping at this point in Mass).
With eyes wide open, we are about to partake in the incomprehensible miracle of receiving the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice of His Body and Blood. It is also an opportunity to regularly–on at least a weekly basis–acknowledge our intentions and examen ourselves in the light of grace.
Now, this ‘unworthiness’ is not a feeling of being unloved. Instead, it’s a reminder that I’m a sinner (por mi culpa). Jesus’ grace is bestowed upon us as He delivers us from our sins, our unworthiness.
The prayer closes with the words “…my soul shall be healed.” When we recite this prayer, we are asking the Lord to heal our soul, our inmost being.
He is able to shine His light and bring healing to our darkest and most broken selves.
This Lenten season is a wonderful time for us to acknowledge our sins, ask for healing, make sacrifices, open our hearts and homes and invite those around us, especially Christ, under our roof.