Jesus, finding himself in the company of those who busied themselves about worldly things, said to them:
In the general sense of the word, redemption or repurchase is the act by which a person acquires again, by paying the required price, what he formerly possessed but no longer possesses. Thus we speak of the repurchase of a house or a piece of property, as captives and prisoners of war are ransomed. The redemption of the human race can therefore be defined as follows: it is the act by which our Saviour, at the price of his own blood an expression of his love snatched the human race from slavery to sin and to the devil and reconciled it with God. In other words, to use the terms dear to both Saint Anselm and to Saint Thomas: He made satisfaction for our sins, he paid the debt to divine justice, and he merited our salvation…
God could very well have raised us up again by forgiving us and exacting only an imperfect reparation. He might have been content to send us a prophet who would have made known to us the conditions of pardon. God has done infinitely more for us. In exacting a reparation equivalent to the gravity of the offence, he has given us his own Son as Redeemer. If his justice has exacted this reparation, his mercy has given us the Saviour who alone was capable of making full reparation…
An act of love of God of infinite value was necessary. But no creature that is a creature and no more can give infinite value to its acts of love… Therefore, for a human soul to make an act of love of God infinite in value, that human soul had to belong to a divine person. Such was the soul of the Word made flesh. Our Lord's soul drew from the divine personality of the Word infinite capacity for satisfying and meriting. It was the act of love of a human soul, but also that of a divine person… In short, the love of Christ dying on the cross for our sakes was more pleasing to God than the totality of all men's sins can displease him. It is on this point above all others that we should pause in contemplation. Everything else converges towards the contrast expressed in the two words: sin and redemptive love.
There is certainly a profound mystery in all this… God the Father in asking his Son to die for us as a victim has loved him with a supremely great love, since he has wished thereby to make him the victor over sin, the devil, and death. Those who have accepted suffering for the salvation of souls enter into the depths of this mystery.
Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. "The Price of His Blood and the Depth of His Love." Exerpt from Our Savior and His Love For Us (Baronius Press, 1998).
Reprinted under fair use. Image credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Father Garrigou-Lagrange († 1964) was a prolific Dominican theologian and spiritual writer. He was the theology doctoral advisor of the future Saint John Paul II.Copyright © 1998 Baronius Press
back to top