Pictured here are the words that every Church should have in neon lights hanging above its doors.
Why? What even is Redemption?
I once heard it explained like this:
A young boy made a toy boat that he deeply loved. He spent months carving it, painting it and setting its little toy sails with great accuracy, care and skill. One day he decided to test it out and set it afloat in a nearby stream. Quickly it began to speed its way through the froth and foam and before he could catch it, it disappeared downstream much to his very deep distress. Heart broken he went home, crushed that his beloved boat that he had crafted with such affection and attention to detail and had so deeply cherished, so swiftly disappeared.
One day, years later, he was visiting a neighboring village and much to his great surprise and delight he saw his beloved boat proudly displayed in an antique shop window. He quickly went in only to discover that the boat had a sizable price tag attached to it. He tried to explain to the shop keeper that he had made the boat years earlier and had tragically lost it. The shopkeeper said, “Sorry son, but I paid good money for that boat, so you will need to as well.” The young man went home and emptied out all of his savings, everything that he had collected from years of hard work doing odd jobs for his family and elsewhere. He went back to the shop and proudly produced the purchase price as the proprietor handed the young man the boat from the shop window. The young man, with deep joy in his heart and love for what he had created, took the boat and holding it tight to his chest exclaimed, “I made you! I loved you! I lost you! I have bought you back! And you, at last again, are ALL MINE!”
The salvation of humanity by Jesus Christ. Literally, to redeem means to free or buy back. Humanity was held captive in that it was enslaved by sin. Since the devil overcame human beings by inducing them to sin, they were said to be in bondage to the devil. Moreover, the human race was held captive as to debt of punishment, to the payment of which it was bound by divine justice.
On all these counts, the Passion of Christ was sufficient and superabundant satisfaction for human guilt and the consequent debt of punishment. His Passion was a kind of price or ransom that paid the cost of freeing humanity from both obligations. Christ rendered satisfaction, not by giving money, but by spending what was of the highest value. He gave himself, and therefore his Passion is called humanity's Redemption. (Etym. Latin redemtio, a buying back, ransoming, redemption.)
What does the Baltimore Catechism have to say?
Q. What is an effect? A. An effect is that which is caused by something else, as smoke, for example, is an effect of fire.
Q. What does redemption mean? A. Redemption means the buying back of a thing that was given away or sold.
Q. What did Adam give away by his sin, and what did Our Lord buy back for him and us? A. By his sin Adam gave away all right to God's promised gifts of grace in this world and of glory in the next, and Our Lord bought back the right that Adam threw away.
Q. Which are the chief effects of the Redemption? A. The chief effects of the Redemption are two: The satisfaction of God's justice by Christ's sufferings and death, and the gaining of grace for men.
Q. Why do we say "chief effects"? A. We say "chief effects" to show that these are the most important but not the only effects of the Redemption -- for all the benefits of our holy religion and of its influence upon the world are the effects of the redemption.
Q. Why did God's justice require satisfaction? A. God's justice required satisfaction because it is infinite and demands reparation for every fault. Man in his state of sin could not make the necessary reparation, so Christ became man and made it for him.
Q. What do you mean by grace? A. By grace I mean a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation.
Jesus Christ MADE US! LOVED US! LOST US! And HAS BOUGHT US BACK with the price of His very OWN LIFE! We are HIS! And NOTHING IS BEYOND THIS PAYMENT OF GRACE!
No matter who you are or what you have done--NOTHING is beyond His payment of grace for YOU. Thanks be to God.
“What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?...No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35,38-39.
Thank You for making me and loving me enough to redeem me back with the price of Your very own blood. May I live a life marked by thanksgiving for the high price You paid for me. Thank You that NOTHING is beyond Your ability to redeem. Please give me the grace to receive this love.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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