But Only Say The Word

Though the whole Mass is a mystery, there is one specific part that has always left me wanting to know more.  I was always trying to find some reason for the response the congregation gives after the priest raises the host and chalice after the fractioning.  In the previous translation we responded: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” I have thought over the years ‘what would the Lord say to me that would automatically heal me?’ However, with our new translation my curiosity is being satisfied.  We now respond. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

On this Feast of the Solemnity of Pentecost, the prayer over the offerings for the day gives me insight to the meaning of the response.

Grant, we pray, O Lord,
that, as promised by your Son,
the Holy Spirit may reveal to us more abundantly
the mystery of this sacrifice
and graciously lead us into all truth.

In hearing this prayer this morning it started to dawn on me that the phrase ‘but only say the word’ is Trinitarian.  We are praying to the Father, and asking that His word, Christ, is spoken to us – and of course speaking, using breath to speak, is the Holy Spirit.

So it occurs to me that my question as to what the response means, in light of the prayer over the offerings, could be answered by translating our new response as:  ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter my soul, but send your Holy Spirit into me and I will be able to discern more easily your will, and understand your destiny for me.  I will be made Christ-like in my desires and love will reign – I will be made whole by your love.’

So now every time I receive my Lord; body, blood soul and divinity I will also open my heart to the very breath of God, His Holy Spirit, so that I can receive God’s grace more abundantly.


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