This excerpt from a treatise On the Kingdom of Jesus by Saint John Eudes reflects on St. Paul’s words in Colossians 1:24 “In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.” This selection, relevant for ecclesiology and Catholic Bible study, is used in the Roman office of readings for Friday of the 33rd week of the year with the accompanying biblical reading taken from Zechariah 12:9-12a and 13:1-9.
We must strive to follow and fulfil in ourselves the various stages of Christ’s plan as well as his mysteries, and frequently beg him to bring them to completion in us and in the whole Church. For the mysteries of Jesus are not yet completely perfected and fulfilled. They are complete, indeed, in the person of Jesus, but not in us, who are his members, nor in the Church, which is his mystical body. The Son of God wills to give us a share in his mysteries and somehow to extend them to us. He wills to continue them in us and in his universal Church. This is brought about first through the graces he has resolved to impart to us and then through the works he wishes to accomplish in us through these mysteries. This is his plan for fulfilling his mysteries in us.
For this reason Saint Paul says that Christ is being brought to fulfilment in his Church and that all of us contribute to this fulfilment, and thus he achieves the fullness of life, that is, the mystical stature that he has in his mystical body, which will reach completion only on judgement day. In another place Paul says: I complete in my own flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.
This is the plan by which the Son of God completes and fulfils in us all the various stages and mysteries. He desires us to perfect the mystery of his incarnation and birth by forming himself in us and being reborn in our souls through the blessed sacraments of baptism and the eucharist. He fulfils his hidden life in us, hidden with him in God.
He intends to perfect the mysteries of his passion, death and resurrection, by causing us to suffer, die and rise again with him and in him. Finally, he wishes to fulfil in us the state of his glorious and immortal life, when he will cause us to live a glorious, eternal life with him and in him in heaven.
In the same way he would complete and fulfil in us and in his Church his other stages and mysteries. He wants to give us a share in them and to accomplish and continue them in us. So it is that the mysteries of Christ will not be completed until the end of time, because he has arranged that the completion of his mysteries in us and in the Church will only be achieved at the end of time.