No one is, in the strictest sense, “worthy” to receive Holy Communion.
Yet the Lord wished it to be so, and so, he makes us “worthy” in our membership in His Mystical Person by our membership in the Church, by baptism, and, for our part, our dispositions.
We must discern what it is to receive Communion. Who am I? What am I doing? Who is IT? What is He doing?
In times past, people addressed the problem of their clear unworthiness by only a rare reception of Holy Communion. And yet it seemed that the Lord desired more for us. Therefore St. Pius X worked to expand our view of receiving Communion, and the frequency of Communion.
But there is another excess now. Many people – dare I suggest most? – go to Holy Communion without a sense of discernment, or even a second thought.
Here is a thought for a striking point of Mass. Striking, for we literally strike ourselves, or should. Augustine speaks of how when the people of Hippo struck their breasts it sounded like thunder in the church.
It is striking also for what it may mean in our dispositions.
From a sermon of Ronald Knox:
[W]hen the priest, just before communion, says the threefold Domine non sum dignus in your name, you should imagine our Lord himself as holding back, keeping you waiting for a little, so as to test your dispositions. He often did that, didn’t he, before consenting to perform a miracle; ….
But, when I speak of testing our dispositions, do I mean that he looks into our hearts and expets to find his own likeness already there? Must we already be humble with a humility like his, already be unwearied in his service, already be perfectly resigned to all the suffereing which may befall us, or be told that we are not fit to receive him? If I meant that, if I meant that holy communion is a privilege reserved, at least commonly, for an élite of almost perfect souls, then I should be falling back into the error of the Jansenists, and I should be wronging the memory of that great Pope who has just been raised to the altars of the Church. For whatever else St Pius the Tenth is remembered, he will be remembered for having thrown open the gates of the sanctuary to hesitating and struggling soul; to the unworthy who know themselves to be unworthy.
No, the dispositions I am speaking of are not those which quality us to receive holy communion; we go to holy communion in order that those dispositions may be formed in us. Only, we must want them to be formed in us. The trouble, you know, about you and me is not that we aren’t saints, but that we don’t want to be saints. Lord, I am not worthy, because I am not humble; but I do want to be humble. Lord, I am not worthy because I am backward and slothful in your service; but I hate my backwardness, I hate my sloth. Lord, I am not worthy, because I am a bad sufferer; but how I wish it were otherwise! Let it be otherwise, Lord; speak the word only, and they servant shall be healed.