Lord, I Am Not Worthy

Today, in most parts of the world, is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ – commonly known as “Corpus Christi”. In observing this feast we reflect upon the great mystery and great gift of the Most Holy Eucharist, Christ’s own Body and Blood, which He gives to us so that we can commune with Him in this transitory life and be with Him for ever in the next.

It is useful today to consider the Gospel account of the Centurion and the words that he said to Our Lord – words that we make our own in Holy Mass, right before we receive Him in Holy Communion:

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” – Matthew 8

Domine, non sum dignus

(Incidentally, it is worth noting that our new and better translation of the Roman Missal, which we’ve been using for about a year and a half now, helps us to recognize even more readily the connection between the words we pray and their scriptural origins.)

At Holy Mass, as the priest elevates the host and chalice and proclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God…”, we respond together: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

When we pray these words, we should think about the Centurion from the Gospel; we should consider his great faith; we should pray that the same Lord who healed the Centurion’s servant from afar will bring healing to our souls as he comes very near – indeed enters into us – in Holy Communion.

O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!

This entry was posted in Scheduled and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lord, I Am Not Worthy

  1. A Mass setting for Corpus Christi by the baroque Austrian composer Johann Joseph Fux: http://youtu.be/qAT4qPfTM3I.

    Fux’s use of brass here is more prominent by far than in any other Mass setting I’ve heard. The baroque German composer Johann David Heinichen has some use of brass in his Mass settings I’ve heard (Nos. 9, 11, and 12), but it is more peripheral than that found in Fux’s composition. Nonetheless, No. 9 does have significant use of brass, and the concluding Kyrie is perhaps my favorite Kyrie of any Mass. In it, he uses a layered counterpoint that begins in the sopranos and is built upon in succession by each of the lower voices. This is the reverse of the technique found frequently in F.J. Haydn’s Masses (e.g. the concluding Kyrie from his Missa Cellensis) – as well as in his Stabat Mater – which begins a theme in the basses and builds up to the sopranos. A somewhat similar use of counterpoint is employed by Mozart in the concluding Kyrie of his famous Requiem Mass in D Minor.

    According to the Encyclopedia Britannica article on Fux, he composed a book on counterpoint which was for a long time the standard text on the subject and was studied by many, including his Austrian successors Haydn and Mozart.

    Heinichen’s No. 9 Mass: http://youtu.be/XB4XdyigQ-Q

    The concluding Kyrie from Haydn’s Missa Cellensis: http://grooveshark.com/s/Kyrie+Kyrie+Eleison/4o7ifp?src=5

    The concluding Kyrie from Mozart’s Requiem: http://grooveshark.com/s/II+Kyrie/3Z4RMq?src=5

Comments are closed.