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The Worth of the Life Which He Laid Down

Image of the Expulsion of Adam & Eve from the Garden of Paradise

 

("Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas", pp. 74-75, 1937 Imp.)

 

Second Wednesday

 

THE PASSION OF CHRIST BROUGHT ABOUT OUR SALVATION BECAUSE IT WAS AN ACT OF SATISFACTION (FOR SIN)

 

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours
only but also for those oj the whole world. -1. John ii. 2.

 

1. Satisfaction for offences committed is truly
made when there is offered to the person offended
a thing which he loves as much as, or more than,
he hates the offences committed.

 

Christ, however, by suffering out of love and
out of obedience, offered to God something
greater by far than the satisfaction called for by all
the sins of all mankind, and this for three reasons.
In the first place, there was the greatness of the
love which moved him to suffer. Then there
was the worth of the life which he laid down in
satisfaction, the life of God and man. Finally,
on account of the way in which his Passion involved
every part of his being, and of the greatness of
the suffering he undertook.

 

So it is that the Passion of Christ was not merely
sufficient but superabundant as a satisfaction for
men's sins. It would seem indeed to be the
case that satisfaction should be made by the person
who committed the offence. But head and mem-
bers are as it were one mystical person, and there- 
fore the satisfaction made by Christ avails all the
faithful as they are the members of Christ. One
man can always make satisfaction for another,
so long as the two are one in charity.


(3 48 2.)

 

2. Although Christ, by his death, made sufficient
satisfaction for original sin, it is not unfitting that
the penal consequences of original sin should
still remain even in those who are made sharers
in Christ s redemption. This has been done
fittingly and usefully, so that the penalties remain
even though the guilt has been removed.

 

(i) It has been done so that there might be
conformity between the faithful and Christ, as
there is conformity between members and head.
Just as Christ first of all suffered many pains and
came in this way to his glory, so it is only right
that his faithful should also first be subjected to
sufferings and thence enter into immortality,
themselves bearing as it were the livery of the
Passion of Christ so as to enjoy a glory somewhat
like to his.

 

(ii) A second reason is that if men coming to
Christ were straightway freed from suffering and
the necessity of death, only too many would come
to him attracted rather by these temporal advan-
tages than by spiritual things. And this would be
altogether contrary to the intention of Christ,
who came into this world that he might convert
men from a love of temporal advantages and win
them to spiritual things.

 

(iii) Finally, if those who came to Christ were
straightway rendered immortal and impassible,
this would in a kind of way compel men to receive
the faith of Christ, and so the merit of believing
would be lessened.

 

(Contra Gen. iv. 55.)

 

 

Blessed be St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles!

 

The Papal Restoration Staff

PapalRestoration.com

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