Q: St. Maximus of Turin, Christ on the Cross attributes Psalm 22 to Himself when he quotes the first lines of the psalm: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" But later on, the psalm says: "But I am a worm, an no man..." Why would Our Lord and Savior call Himself a "worm"?
A: Why the Lord of every creature should wish to be compared to a worm is something that we can ascribe first of all to humility, which is the saints' greatest virtue. This is why holy Moses acknowledges before God that he is an irrational animal and David often characterizes himself as a flea. But I think that what the Lord says ought to be taken more literally, since a worm is procreated with no admixture of a foreign substance but from the virgin earth alone. Consequently a worm is comparable to the Lord, since the Savior Himself is begotten from the virgin Mary alone. We also read in the books of Moses that worms were bred from manna. The comparison is clearly a worthy and good one- the worm produced from manna and the Lord Christ begotten of a virgin. Why should I not rather say that Mary herself is manna? For she is subtle, splendid, sweet, and virginal; coming in a heavenly way she gave forth a food sweeter than honey to all the peoples of the churches, and whoever fails to eat and feed upon it will be unable to have life in him. The Lord Himself says: Unless a person eat my flesh and drink my blood he will not have life in him, but instead that very food will be turned into a judgment, as the Apostle says: Whoever eats and drinks unworthily..... This was prophesied in a veiled manner to the children of Israel in the Old Testament. For to those acting against the divine precepts worms were produced from the manna- that is, revengers and judges of stubbornness. This similitude points to Christ the Lord, whom the one who has neglected to consume the delightful food and sweet drink will have as his judge, as He Himself says: For the Father does not judge anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son. And that worm and judge are one and the same is shown by the prophet when he speaks of sinners: Their worm shall not die and their fire shall not be quenched until the present day.