Lord I'm not worthy

That you should enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed?

Doesn’t this prayer negate any reason to deny anyone the Eucahirst for any reason?

It is sometimes interpreted like that, yes.

That’s what my own church does.

But the problem is that it is not what tradition tells. The Didache, one of the most ancient Christian writings (contemporary of the Gospels) already underlines the importance of confession before communion.

That sentence can also be understood as meaning a simple thing : whatever we do, we only receive the Eucharist by God grace. But that doesn’t necessarily dispense us from desiring it, and acting in a way that translates that desire into our lives.


But the problem is that it is not what tradition tells. The Didache, one of the most ancient Christian writings (contemporary of the Gospels) already underlines the importance of confession before communion

True, but with the congregation before receiving Holy Communion, which is what we do in the Penitential Rite in the Sacred Liturgy.

. 14. In the congregation thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and thou shalt not betake thyself to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.



Quite. But the point is that “just receive, no conditions needed” probably never was how it was done.


The repentant heart is what the Didache and St Paul emphasized.

Private confession to a priest as we know it, didn’t exist when the Didache was written.

I dont think the pray negates the need for confession, the Holy Spirit with in you should be leading you to confession, not the fear of being denied the Eucharist.

This prayer is humbling you before God, telling Him you know you have faults, you are not worthy but your faith in His Word changes that, heals you… isn’t that what the prayer is saying?


Jim, I agree with you - and I’m not specifically talking about private auricular confession.

What I’m trying to say (rather badly, apparently) is that I know contexts (specifically, Protestant contexts) where the humble access prayer is used as a way to dispense with a repentant heart or examining oneself so as not to eat and drink one’s own condemnation.

The rationale behind it is : why bother ? We’re unworthy anyway. It’s up to God to do something about it. We do not need to do or be or desire anything in order to receive communion.

As a result, in such contexts, everybody is welcome to communion - baptized people, non-baptized people (including non-baptized toddlers and children), Christians, non-Christians, non-religious people. They literally think that the humble access prayer negates any reason to have guidelines concerning who may receive, or any need for desire and self-examination.

That position is not what tradition holds - and, as you pointed out, it’s not biblical either.

But it happens in some parishes of my own Reformed church.


No. The prayer is still an acknowledgment of faith in Jesus and the Eucharist. The Scripture passage which speaks of the Centurion and his dying servant, illustrates the faith that the Centurion had in who Jesus was.

This faith is what Jesus praises and then immediately heals his servant. On a practical level, as Catholics, we should have that same faith when approaching the Eucharist. Because it’s not just a symbol, but it is truly Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

Most Protestants and even many Catholics today, sadly, no longer have that faith. We no longer discern Jesus for who He truly is and therefore we don’t approach the Eucharist as the Centurion approaches Jesus.

Instead we have become like the rest of the unbelievers during Jesus’ time.

When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.
Matthew 8:10


Remember where that prayer comes from, though.

The original plea was said by a Roman centurion who is asking for Jesus to heal his servant. Were Christ to come into that house in person He would have had to purify himself. The centurion arguably had the power to force Jesus to attend his servant, instead he abased himself to keep Christ clean.

That prayer isn’t there just for humility, it is an plea for Christ to heal us rather than enter into our sinful selves. Indeed, where mortal sins are concerned, it is a prayer that He remain outside of us rather than be debased.

No. This does not say that any Christian (or nonChristian) somehow gets magically prepared, whether they believe in the Eucharist as Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Jesus, and whether or not they are in mortal sin. Rather, we know that even if we have ‘done all that good servants are supposed to do, IOW we are properly disposed, fully believe, and have no mortal sin, we are STILL not worthy in and of ourselves to receive.

But we should still receive because God said the word and our soul was healed. Freeing us to become one with Him, become part of the covenant and welcomed to the Lord’s table.

Though we were unworthy God saw our faith, our love and healed us, with His word. I still don’t understand how are we not denying ourselves His healing by denying the body and blood of Christ to enter our home?

The Centurion knew Jesus had the authority to heal his servant, he knew Jesus healed him just with His word. Why are we different, especially if the prayer is an acknowledgment of our faith in Jesus ability to heal us, deny ourselves His blessing, aren’t we turning from His blessing?

Because the centurion didn’t take, he pleaded. He didn’t assert his authority, he made himself a servant. He humbled himself so that his servant could be clean. The centurion seemed to naturally understand a lesson that Jesus would have problems teaching His disciples at the foot washing. No wonder Christ was amazed. The centurion we remember would not force Christ to enter physically when He could heal from a distance. Why should we?

And from a more practical standpoint, mortal sins require sacramental healing. Powerful though the centurion’s prayer is, it is not a sacrament. Yes, Christ is not limited to the seven but that doesn’t mean we should presume upon Him to make the exceptions for us.

God loves us irrespective of our worthiness.

Also, only those who believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist should receive.

St Paul address this when he address the fact that people were attending the Eucharistic celebration and making it into a drinking and eating party and there were those in attendance who did not have faith in Jesus Christ, but received anyway. St Paul said they who are not worthy should not receive. Faith is necessary to receive any of the sacraments.

Keeping in mind the original context, it’s important to note that the centurion didn’t “receive Jesus” in that passage… :thinking:


The New Testament Eucharist/Mass was instituted at the Last Supper, the Old Testament Passover ritual meal.
The New Covenant Mass & Eucharist is the fulfillment of the Old Passover sacrifice and meal.

It is interesting to note that only members of the Jewish nation/covenant could partake of the Passover meal.

Exodus 12:43-48 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: This is the ordinance for the passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, but any slave who has been purchased may eat of it after he has been circumcised; no bound or hired servant may eat of it. It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the animal outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. The whole congregation of Israel shall celebrate it. If an alien who resides with you wants to celebrate the passover to the Lord, all his males shall be circumcised; then he may draw near to celebrate it; he shall be regarded as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it; there shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you.

If partaking of the Old Covenant sacrificial lamb(a prefigurement/type of the New) was so restrictive because of its sacredness, how much moreso is partaking of the New Covenant Lamb of God in the Eucharist.

@Inquiry, I said the Centurion humbled himself before Jesus… he also showed Jesus he had faith in His ability to heal his servant and His authority…his faith impressed Jesus so much, He gave the Centurion what he asked.

I’m still trying to understand the difference for when we humble ourselves before God… it sounds like everyone is saying is that when we pray “Lord I’m not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word my soul shall be healed” that God will not heal us, so we can participate in the Last Super with Him.

He would deny our prayer for healing?

@Gorgias, he did receive Jesus, through his faith in Jesus ability to heal his servant. Because of the Centurion faith, God granted him, His grace by healing his servant.

Why would anyone think we would be denied less, especially if we are asking God to heal our soul?

Anyway, I was just wondering…

Exactly. He did not force Jesus into his house, he did not presume that Jesus would make everything clean enough. What he did was more like making an Act of Spiritual Communion than receiving the Eucharist.

Look at it from this point of view. If the Centurion had a way of making his house pure for Christ don’t you think he would have? We have that way. Are we following the Centurion’s example if we don’t take advantage of it?

He will heal us. He’s clearly given us a path for that healing. That path is Reconciliation.

If you want an analogy, venial sin is like having a messy house and mortal sin is like having missing rooms. Inviting him in when you have only venial sins is asking him to ignore the mess. Inviting him in when you have mortal sins is saying “I don’t have any place for you but you can rest in the door frame.” Now you might say that when we pray for healing we are praying for His help in building rooms and that would be true if we had no recourse. Remember though that he’s already given us the materials and the offer to help us rebuild with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If we don’t take that option and then invite him to wait at the door…

Well there’s an old joke about a man sheltering from flood waters. When his neighbor offers him a way out he says he is waiting for God to save him. When the police come by in a boat he says he is waiting for God to save him. When the coast guard comes by in a helicopter, he says he is waiting for God to save him. He dies. When he sees God he angrily asks “Why didn’t you save me?” God’s reply is “What are you talking about? I sent your neighbor, I sent the police, I sent the coast guard. Why didn’t you go with them?”

1 Like

I like the way that @Inquiry put it: it was more a “spiritual communion” than a “reception”.

In the original context, it’s as if he’s saying “I’m not worthy for you to come to me, but I believe that you will heal my servant nevertheless.” Which is what happens: the centurion doesn’t receive Jesus into his house, but the servant is healed.

The centurion actually says this by proxy which speaks even more to the situation.

He only receives the message and the result. He doesn’t receive the Messenger Himself.

Interesting, but now makes me think whose faith did Jesus see, the friend’s, the servant’s, the Centurion’s… everyone’s? We know the Centurion knew about Jesus, he was the one who sent his friends to him, they didn’t go on their own. So, someone did receive Jesus, if not why seek Him out?

When I say receive Him, I mean someone heard the Word, believed in the Word, accepted the Word and had faith in the Word, so someone did receive the Word, Jesus.

It was because of that faith Jesus did enter the home; the was servant healed.

And I honestly believe the servant was not the only person in that house healed by Jesus that day. What happened after wasn’t mentioned, so we don’t know for sure… but we do know people’s faith have turned to Jesus because they witnessed His miracles. That house was no longer unworthy because Jesus saw someone’s faith in God in that house, it changed the second Jesus healed the servant.

Also, the Holy Spirit should be leading you to confession not the fear of being denied the Eucharist. If you go to confession for any other reason other than the Holy Spirit guiding you to confess your sins to God, then it wouldn’t mean anything other than something you’re checking off a list of things to do.

The sad part about the joke is that the man wasn’t able to recognize God in anyone God sent to help him. The man didn’t see the miracle that his prayer was answered.

God did send help but the man denied it either because it wasn’t sent exactly the way he wanted or the man couldn’t see the gift God sent him through others.

Maybe it’s the same for us, we can’t see our soul is healed on the word of God, believe our home is now worthy for Him to enter?

What to hear something even funnier than, the joke about the man sheltered from the flood? The Lord I’m not worthy prayer is only said in the Catholic church. I’ve been to like 2-3 different churches; I’ve only heard this prayer said in a Catholic church. Why say it if not to negate any reason not to be able to participate in the Eucharist. It’s like the church knows where we stand, knows we need help, gives us the help with the prayer for God, but we still don’t take it… whoaaa, just like the man in the flood… mind blown! kaboom

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.