Father, I am not worthy


Keep then, O happy sinner, keep carefully and watchfully this spirit of yours, this most fitting affection of humility and devotion by which you may always so think of yourself in humility and of the Lord in goodness.

There is nothing greater than it among the gifts of the Holy Spirit, nothing more precious in the treasures of God, nothing more holy among all the charisms, nothing more health-giving in all the sacraments.  Keep, I say, if you wish yourself to be kept, the humility of that sentiment and word by which you confess to your Father and say:  "Father, now I am not worthy to be called your son:  make me as one of your hired servants."

Nothing so wins your Father over as this sentiment, nor is there any better way of making yourself a worthy son than by always confessing yourself unworthy.  This humility not only justifies sinners but also perfects the just and brings their justice to fullness if they confess themselves humble servants even when they have done all they were bidden.

Let your sin be present to you always and, according to the Wise Man's advice, do not be without fear even for sin that has been forgiven.  God's judgments are uncertain and hidden;  they are not rashly to be presumed upon...

Mercy has welcomed you kindly, revived you with loving kindness ... Cherish your Father with a son's devotion, aware of what he has deserved of you; but be content with the humble state and work of a hired servant, aware of your own deserts.




Blessed Guerric of Igny. "Father, I am not worthy." from Guerric of Igny: Liturgical Sermons: Book 1 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970).

Reprinted with permission of the Liturgical Press.

This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in June 2004.


Blessed Guerric of Igny (+1157) was an abbot and a close friend of Saint Bernard.  Born probably at Tournai and educated in the humanities and theology at the noted cathedral school there, Guerric visited the Cistercian abbey of Clairvaux as a seasoned scholar, with no intention whatever of abandoning academic life for the cloister.  Urged to stay by the always persuasive Abbot Bernard, however, 'without delay or looking back, the cleric became a monk, the master a schoolboy'.  He was elected abbot of Igny, near Rheims, in 1138.  His books in print include Guerric of Igny: Liturgical Sermons: Book 1Guerric of Igny: Liturgical Sermons Book 2,

Copyright © 1970 Liturgical Press

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