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James K. Baxter Complete Prose Volume 4

[Extract from Confession to the Lord Christ]

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When you go into a wharepuni, the meetinghouse on the marae, you are going inside the body of the ancestor. The barge boards that slope above the door are his arms. His head is at the centre of the ridge. The rafters are his ribs.

In the same way, I think, the Lord Christ contains us within himself as members of his Mystical Body. Therefore to say that the love of man and the love of God are one may not be mistaken.

We have to be like him. We have to contain the lives of others in our own life. All I have learnt would amount to this – A man’s body and soul are meant to shelter, to protect, to contain others. It is a curious destiny. What it leads to, I cannot tell. Except that since we die anyway, it is best to die used up by living and an effort to love well.

Lord Christ, I don’t know you. But I know that you know me. I have forgotten how to pray, or how to make rules or keep them. I put my life and my death and my virtues and my sins into your hands, which are like the hands of the sky or the hands of the sea.

Do not forget the creature to whom you gave a body and a soul. Mary, help of the helpless, pray for us.

Christ will have to create in me the power to know Christ.

–James K. Baxter, ‘Confession to the Lord Christ