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Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed

The New English Translation of the Roman Missal in English speaking countries is nearly to be used officially. Some churches in Sydney I know have started introducing and practising it during Mass. The translation is revised in order to reach the closest meaning of its Latin original text. After a while experiencing it, I feel that the new translation is deeper in meaning and richer in theology. I believe that if it is practised properly, the new translation will invite the congregation to be more meditative during the Mass.

One text which attracts my attention is the prayer before receiving the Holy Communion: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

We may recall that this text is taken from the story in the Gospel of the faithful Centurion who came to Jesus to save his servant (Luke 7:1-10). I found two things to ponder when I read this text.

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

There is a significant change compared to the current text, from not worthy to receive you into not worthy that you should enter under my roof. Not only the text is now closer to the Gospel reference, it has greater emphasis: the roof. The roof refers to the house which means everything inside the house or in this case everyone. Like the centurion caring for his servant, we too bring the need of our family as a part of us. Like the centurion who asked for Jesus’ mercy to heal his servant, we too bring the hope of our family to Jesus, the Answer of all hopes.

In addition, the servant might only have a professional relationship with the Centurion. Despite of this, the centurion still cared for him as if he was his own family member. The centurion was concern about those related to him. Therefore, to look at the bigger picture, not only we have to care for our blood-related family also our spiritual family: the Church. We are to bring our family prayer in ourselves and put them at the foot of God.

But only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

Jesus was surprised when hearing the saying of the Centurion. He was amazed by his faith and that was the only reason his servant was healed. When queuing for Communion, do we as Catholics have that strong a faith? Do we really acknowledge and believe that the bread and wine we are approaching to receive are truly the Body and Blood of our Lord? It is the only food which can heal our soul; the food for eternal life.

To conclude, this prayer is perfectly said before receiving Communion. It truly represents the three virtues: faith, hope and love (or charity); the virtues we have to always bear as Christians. When receiving the Source of Life, and in full communion with the Church, we pray that we may always be the testifier of God’s love through our daily lives.

© Christian Rosario

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