O Lord I am not Worthy - original version

This is a Victorian era Communion hymn.   It was originally published as four stanzas, without "O Sacrament Most Holy" which appears to have been later added to it as a chorus and/or an extra verse.  The author and composer are unknown.

Books which it has been published in include:
  • Catholic Youth Hymnal, 1871
  • Manual of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 1897
  • The Baltimore Catechism, 1885. (ref).

These dates mean that the work is definitely in the public domain in the USA, and highly likely to be in most other countries.

The tune used in these early publications is not clear. Slightly later publications have used another tune which is simply described as "An old melody" - and many different verses have been added to it.

A quite different set of verses was included in the 1920 Army and Navy Hymnal, labelled as Copyright 1913.   These are used in some contemporary books also, so are quoted below.


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Choir with piano:


Choir with orchestral backing:

Solo singer with backing track:

Choir with organ:


O Lord, I am not worthy that thou should’st come to me;
But speak the word of comfort, my spirit healed shall be.

And humbly I’ll receive thee, the bridegroom of my soul,
No more by sin to grieve thee or fly thy sweet control.

Eternal Holy Spirit, unworthy though I be,
Prepare me to receive him and trust the Word to me.

Increase my faith, dear Jesus, in thy real presence here,
And make me feel most deeply that thou to me art near.

Happy morning, sweet the hour, That on which Thou cam'st to me,
Beauteous, too, that glorious power, Which allures my soul to Thee.

Thou for whom I've long been sighing, Jesus now, at length Thou'rt mine,
In Thy sweet embraces lying, Press, oh, press my heart to Thine.

Let not death nor life asunder Rend the bond that makes me Thine;
Ah, how blissful is the wonder That uplifts my heart to Thine,

(Not all verses are included in each historical publication.)

Army and Navy Hymnal lyrics

O Lord, I am not worthy,
That thou shouldst come to me,
But speak the word of comfort,
My spirit healed shall be.

I'm longing to receive thee,
The Bridegroom of my soul,
No more by sin to grieve thee,
Or fly thy sweet control.

O Lord, thou art all holy,
The angels thee adore;
How, then, ought I sincerely
My wrongs and sins deplore!

But when thou soon wilt enter
My heart, my sinful heart,
Then heal me, be my shelter,
For thou my Savior art.

O Lord, how can I thank thee
For such a gift as this?
A gift which truly filleth
My soul with heavenly bliss!

I praise thee, I extol thee,
I love thee, O my Sire,
Till once in joy and glory,
In heaven I thee admire.

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