“Alas! and did my Savior bleed And did my Sov’reign die? Would He devote that sacred head For such a worm as I?” (Isaac Watts)
Augustine in one of his letters writes: “Again, let the Pagans laugh, and let them treat with proud and senseless ridicule Christ the Worm and this interpretation of the prophetic symbol, provided that He gradually and surely, nevertheless, consume them. For concerning all such Isaiah prophesies, when by him God says to us, “
I am, He says,
a worm, and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people.”
Augustine lists four reasons why Christ is the Worm:
- He is a Worm because of the lowliness of the flesh which He assumed— perhaps,
- Also, because of His being born of a virgin; for the worm is generally not begotten, but spontaneously originated in flesh or any vegetable product [sine concubitunascitur].
- He is the morning-worm (Jonah 4:6), because He rose from the grave before the dawn of day. That gourd might, of course, have withered without any worm at its root; and
- Finally, if God regarded the worm as necessary for this work, what need was there to add the epithet morning-worm, if not to secure that He should be recognised as the Worm who in the psalm,
pro susceptione matutina,sings,
I am a worm, and no man?