The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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What is lacking in the sufferings of Christ

Canisius | 08 June, 2007 07:38

Colossians 1:24 is a traditional puzzler text:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.

What does St. Paul mean that there is something lacking in Christ's sufferings, something we can fill up by our sufferings? Dom Fromage gives the best formulation of the answer I have yet seen (X,164-5):

Jesus is the High Priest, ordained for men, Himself being Man, that He may present to God the homage of His brethren, by offering, to His and their Father, a Sacrifice in the name of all. And although this homage of regenerate mankind...owes its whole worth to the infinite dignity of Him who is the Head of the Church, yet the Sacrifice is completed only by the union of the members with the Head. ...The Church perfects the Sacrifice, as being herself and integral portion of the Victim who is offered upon the altar.

Key idea #1: Christ's offering is an offering of his entire mystical body. Key idea #2: The entire worth of the offering is from Christ himself. Key idea #3: the completion of the offering comes when we join ourselves, as Christ's members, to his offering.

Other interpretations are also possible, I think, but this one seems good.


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