OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, OUR REDEEMER
Man after the Fall was unable to regain for himself his former holiness and justice,and all the goods that were bound up with these. A man whose body is dead cannot raise himself again to bodily life; so one who is spiritually dead cannot raise himself again spiritual life. Man after the Fall became like a sick man who cannot move hand or foot, or rise from the bed on which he is lying. What the Good Samaritan was to man who had fallen among thieves, Our Lord is the man who has been wounded by the craft of the devil and robbed of his spiritual and supernatural gifts. Jesus Christ is also called Our Saviour or Our Re-deemer because He saved us from hell and brought us back at the cost of His own Precious Blood.
Christ freed us from the spiritual consequences of sin in the following manner: He en-lightened our understanding by His teaching. Inclined our will to good by His precepts and promises, and by His sacrifices of Himself upon the Cross won for us the means of grace by which we once more attain to sanctification and become children of God and heirs of the kingdom of heaven.
The Redemption, or the Atonement, as it is sometimes called, signifies the passion and death of Jesus Christ by which mankind was restored to the friendship an favor of God. The Redemption implies that man had offended God, and in consequence lost something. In theology this called the fall of man.
It maybe humiliating for us to acknowledge it, but it must never the less be admitted that there is something wrong with human nature. Man is a bundle of contradictions, a com-bination of heaven and earth. He admires what is noble, yet constantly tends to what is degrading. He is master of the rest of creation, yet frequently a slave to his own passions. He is strange mixture of greatness and littleness, of good and evil. A man is often aston-ished at his own meanness, while astonishing others by his magnanimity. Often he finds himself doing the things he hates and detests, again omitting what he most approves of.
The world seems to be out of joint,-everywhere misunderstandings, rivalries, jealousies, selfishness, quarrels. There seems to be two personalities warring within us. Stevenson has characterized this in his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I am sure we have often seen, either in ourselves or others, the counterpart of that description. Is it possible that man so constituted is the work of God? Rather, does he not proclaim that he is a masterpiece marred?
The religion of Jesus Christ gives the solution of this enigma when it tells us that man is fallen from his high estate. Let those who ridicule the doctrine of original sin find a substitute for the cause of man's deplorable condition. The Church teaches us that by the willful transgression of our first parents our nature as endowed in them because impaired. And, as a man forfeiting an inheritance by his conduct also deprives his descendants, so the loss of God's grace is original sin.
Man's destiny was to live on for a certain time and, after providing his loyalty to God could if He had wished. In a thousand ways He could have restored man to his pristine condition. But He chose to draw good out of evil, to demand infinite justice and exhibit infinite mercy, and to give to man the power to attain an even higher station than was his before the fall.
For, by the Redemption, the Son of God became man, offered as God-man an infinite mercy by His passion for man's offence, showed infinite mercy for His passion and death, and obtained for men of good will the opportunity to become the children of God. "To as many as received Him He gave the power to become children of God." It was Jesus Christ Himself who taught us to say to the Lord God of heaven and earth: Our Father, who art in heaven."
GOD AND MY SELF
By: Fr. Martin J. Scott S.J.