“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.”
No wonder our Lord turned to his audience and said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
There is a lot to learn from this soldier’s prayer. Those who suffer from a lack of faith also suffer from a lack of humility. He is not just any soldier. He is an officer in charge of others. He understands the meaning of authority. He recognizes the supreme authority that the Lord carries with Him. When the Lord speaks, something happens. His yes means yes and his no means no.
How far we have come! How distant we have gotten from the Lord. And it all starts by the way we worship and pray.
Few of us pray like this centurion. Few of us are capable of recognizing first and foremost our littleness and unworthiness! We have gone from one extreme to the other. From preaching only fire and brimstone, we now preach only “fluff and stuff”. Our prayers sound more like a bill of rights. Our hymns sound more like demands for equal billing. Our Masses are more like messes. I still remember how my parish priest would do everything possible to avoid using the word “Father” in reference to God but never to himself. I guess he didn’t want to offend anyone, except of course, God. Yes, even God gets offended! If he can feel sorrow for my sins, then he can also be offended by my sins.
The 3rd edition of the Roman Missal is a much needed and much improved translation of our prayers. The solemnity, the sacredness, the holiness and the mystery of the Mass will be greatly improved and, in some cases, restored simply because our prayers will be once again made worthy of such a high celebration! Let us hope and pray that the music will soon follow! I am very fortunate to be in a parish where the music is exquisite and of the highest caliber. But not all parishes enjoy such a blessing.
Over time, we have seen the elimination of God in our houses of worship. Many have become concert halls, Malls and theatres. This happens often in Protestant churches but it should never happen in our churches. We are not Protestants. We should not be eliminating statues from our Churches. We should not be eliminating tabernacles from our sanctuaries. We should not be eliminating religious art, candles and kneelers from our Churches. We should be protecting and not protesting these items.
“Lord, do not trouble yourself” has taken on a new and twisted meaning in our society. Rather than it being a humble prayer, it has become a disrespectful prayer. It is our prayer to the Lord requesting that He be politely (politically) excused and removed. It is a prayer being said by our school officials. There is a growing movement to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance because it states “one nation under God”. God is now being removed at military funerals at the request not of family members but of public officials. God was (un)tactfully uninvited by New York City’s mayor at the memorial service for the victims of the 9/11 attack.
Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed. May we never forget what the Lord can do for us if we keep him alive in our hearts, churches, cities and nation.