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Aquinas: Christ Is Truly Our Redeemer

("Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas", pp. 86-88, 1937 Imp.)

 

Third Tuesday

 

CHRIST IS TRULY OUR REDEEMER

 

You were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, 

as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled. -i Pet. i. 19.

 

By the sin of our first parents, the whole human
race was alienated from God, as is taught in the
second chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians.
It was not from God's power that we were thereby
cut off, but from that sight of God's face to which
His children and His servants are admitted.


Then again we descended beneath the usurped
power of the devil. Man had consented to the
devil's will and, thereby, had made himself subject
to the devil; subject, that is to say, as far as lay
in man's power, for since he was not his own
property, but the property of another, he could
not really give himself away to the devil.


By His Passion, then, Christ did two things.
He freed us from the power of the enemy,
conquering him by virtues which were the very
contraries to the vices by which he had conquered
man by humility, namely, by obedience and by an
austerity of suffering that was in direct opposition
to the enjoyment of forbidden food.


Furthermore, by making satisfaction for the sin
committed, Christ joined man with God and made
him the child and servant of God.


This emancipation had about it two things that
make it a kind of buying. Christ is said to have
bought us back or to have redeemed us inasmuch
as he snatched us from the power of the devil,
as a king is said, by hard-fought battles, to redeem
his kingdom that the enemy has occupied. Christ is
again said to have redeemed us inasmuch as He
placated God for us, paying as it were the price of
His satisfaction on our behalf, that we might be
freed both from the penalty and from the sin.


This price, His precious blood, he paid that
he might make satisfaction for us not to the
devil but to God. Again, by the victory that
His Passion was, he took us away from the devil.


The devil had indeed had dominion over us, but
unjustly, since what power he had was usurped.
Nevertheless, it was but just that we should fall
under his yoke, seeing that it was by him we were
overcome. This is why it was necessary that the
devil should be overcome by the very contrary of
the forces by which he had himself overcome.
For he had not overcome by violence, but by a
lying persuasion to sin.


(3 Dist. 19 91, a 4.)

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