Sunday, January 22, 2012

Domine Non Sum Dignus

"Domine non sum dignus ut interes sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea."  ("Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.")

The centurion's words were also part of the Gospel at the Tridentine Mass today.  I didn't get to hear the homily due to a cetain small boy needing to go potty, but just about every homily I've ever heard on this Gospel has been about humility.  Certainly the centurion's humility is amazing, especially for a pagan in a position of authority.  Also his faith, because he did not need to see Christ come to heal his servant to know that it would be done.  Of course we repeat these words at every Mass.  Today what was amazing about them to me is that even though we are so unworthy, the Lord chooses to "enter under our roof" in Holy Communion anyway.

That doesn't seem all that humble, to accept Jesus even though we know full well we aren't worthy of it.  But this is just another one of the paradoxes of our faith.  The most humble of creatures, Mary, accepted the titles Mother of God, Queen of Angels, Queen of the Universe.  Of course she's perfect, but she is still a creature.  As his mother, she had authority over God Himself!  Certainly nobody merits that.  What makes it humility is to accept the will of God--not our own will, but His.  To say "no" to God's will, even if we say in our hearts it is because we are not worthy, is really just pride in disguise.  We are putting our own will over God's.  That was Satan's sin that cast him from Heaven:  "I will not serve."  It is not humility to say, "I can't do such-and-such duty of mine because I am so weak," and then give up trying.  It would be humility to say, "I can't do such-and-such duty on my own but since you have given it to me I will trust you to give me the grace to do it."  If God wants to make me into a saint, as he surely does, then grant me the humility to say His will be done and submit myself to the painful process of purification.  True humility will always lead us to greatness.

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