When St Paul speaks of filling up “those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ” he is saying that our own sufferings, patiently dedicated, become part of the Passion itself. I attended a Mass which was being offered for a mother of young children who had just been diagnosed with a fatal cancer. At the Elevation I suddenly saw the truth of Paul’s words, and I wrote this poem. The sufferer and Christ had become one.
This is my body, the high priest said,
And my blood, as he proffered the wine;
And I trembled in front of the chalice
For I saw the body was mine.
I had thought the price of my passion
Had satisfied sin and had won,
But the bread on the table was broken
With suffering yet to be done.
I had known the scourge and the nailing
I had known the rack of the tree;
And I saw them again in the chalice
That the high priest offered to me.