June 21, 2010

Domine Non Sum Dignus...

Lord, I am not worthy….

I’ve been thinking this week that the holiest and best priests I know, when they are celebrating Mass, always have an air of “What the heck am I doing here?” As Moses said “Who am I Lord?” As St. Elizabeth said “Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?”

I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I answered the call of the Lord, much less that He called ME to begin with.

We should all approach the altar, in my humble opinion, with a mixture of awe, disbelief and unworthiness. Who am I Lord? Why would you even want ME around? There are only two people in the Church who are fully aware of my shortcomings and sins: me and God. Yet, I approach the altar and make myself vulnerable and humble to receive Him. It is not easy to be humble and vulnerable. Our entire society and self rebels against it. It’s at that moment that I know most keenly how unlike a “little one”, how un-childlike in my Faith I really am. I’m an adult with all the baggage that entails.

I have few moments when I feel as worthy as I’m ever likely to be and those are the few heedy moments after I emerge from the Confessional; even then I doubt the depth of my Contrition. I always doubt my seperation from sin as I still find some of my sins funny; so does Satan.

What can I do?

I only know I can’t walk away. I‘ve known people, and you probably have too, who are so ashamed and unworthy that they walk away. They come back to the Church for a funeral: theirs. It’s too late then. There have been many times I’ve walked away. True love and true marriage with Christ (probably the only marriage I’ll ever personally know) means: working at it. Don’t go to bed mad. Don’t go to bed not having spoken to the Lord in prayer that day. Don’t ignore the practice of the Faith. Keep at it.

We all know we are unworthy but we do the best we can. I know some of you hate that word “unworthy” and left the Church over it. Be honest with yourself. It’s true. I admit my unworthiness and you may say “that’s good for YOU”. It is good for me. It’s good for you too.

If we were all honest with ourselves we can openly admit that there are many time we are less than we should be. There are many times we are not there for anybody but ourselves. There are many time we are a bad friend. There are times we don’t love.
What do you do then in those situations? Make it better? Make yourself better? Prove you are worthy? If you can do it for friends, family, co-workers, yourself-why not for Him too?

A holy Bishop that I know (though in his honest humility he would hate to hear himself called ‘holy’) refers to himself as “His unworthy servant”. He means it. I would disagree with his title for himself but he knows himself best. I, too, am His unworthy servant just as much as any ordained man.

Calvary’s onlookers were unworthy servants. The same audience is present today at Holy Mass.

However, the program has changed. The Lord died and rose for our sins. Let’s not die in ours.

See you in Church!


Blogger nazareth priest said...

Every time I am to approach the altar, I want to crawl there; I want everyone to know how truly awful I am...I don't deserve to be a Priest of Jesus Christ in His Catholic Church...if people actually knew me, they'd run far away from me...that is what I absolutely LOVE the traditional Latin Mass...the prayers before the altar, professing that one is unworthy, that God Alone can make this possible, that only the Lord Jesus Christ in His Holy Sacrifice makes a Priest worthy...yes...
Thank you...
"Domine non sum dignus"...absolutely and always and forever.
But HE is worthy; HE makes it possible! Praise Him!

June 21, 2010 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, NP! That is what I love about the TLM, too: that whole attitude.

Cathy, good post, hon.

love and prayers,

June 22, 2010 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Stephen said...


I have followed with your struggles, and weariness and overwhelming busyness the past few months. Just some feedback - the Holy Spirit always uses our best efforts even when those efforts don't seem to have value, at least not in our own eyes.

With that said, this posting was full of humility and wisdom. Thanks for reminding your readers once again how everything depends on God, including our simple personal worthiness. We can't stop reminding ourselves of this, because we (I) always want to get take the recognition for all the good things we do.

Once again I really think you for sharing this struggle with your readers.

June 23, 2010 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes when I do something really stupid, I feel like running away from God--mostly embarrased at my human failing. And oh, how I hate to have to go and tell the priest how stupid I've been--so far from perfection--how can He still love me? But that's exactly what Satan wants us to think--we are not worthy for God--just leave! But, duh! No one but God is worthy enough for God. But He still loves us anyway--even in our imperfections--how amazing is His love! Unworthy sinners that we are:)

June 24, 2010 6:23 PM  

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