VII - REDEMPTION

Posted by Padre Eugenio Cavallari on 29 January 2016

 1 - What are You, O Lord, to me? ‘I am your salvation’. I’ll run after this voice and I’ll reach You; You don’t hide Your face from me (conf. 1, 5, 5)

 2 - Every man is separated from God until when, through Christ’s mediation, he is reconciled with God. And nobody can be separated from God except because of sins that keep him separated from God; he is therefore reconciled only through the remission of sins, by virtue of the only grace of the infinitely merciful Saviour, by virtue of the only victim offered by the most true priest (pecc. mer. 1, 28, 56)

 3 - Death came through the serpent, who persuaded man to sin, which was the cause of man’s death. The Lord did not transfer sin into His flesh, but did transfer death, so that in it the punishment of sin might be without the guilt and, as a consequence, in the flesh of sin both the guilt and the punishment might be destroyed (pecc. mer. 1, 32, 61)

 4 - Are all redeemed those who are saved by the One who came to save that which was lost and who, before coming as a man, redeemed through the faith itself of those who believed He was coming. They are redeemed in view of the eternal freedom of happiness, in which they may no longer serve sin (c. Iul. imp. 6, 11)

 5 - We are the ‘first captives’, that is, we belong to the first man, in whom we all die. Because of the first man we are captives from the beginning, thanks to the second man we have been later redeemed. Our redemption, in fact, presupposes our captivity. How could we be redeemed if we were not captives? In this our captivity consists: the flesh has desires that are opposite to the spirit. The punishment of sin consists in this: man did not want to subject himself to the One and therefore experiences a division and a fight within himself (en. Ps. 70, s. 2, 1)

Incarnation

1 - There are many other things also in the incarnation of Christ which are to be observed and thought of advantageously. And one of them is that it has been demonstrated to man what place he has in the realities which God has created, since human nature could so be joined to God that one person could be made of two substances, and thereby indeed of three elements: God, soul and flesh. Furthermore, that the grace of God might be commended to us in the man Christ without any precedent merits. And there is also this, that the pride of man, which is the main hindrance against his adhering to God, can be confuted and healed through such great humility of God (trin. 13, 17, 22)

2 - Man realizes also how far he has gone away from God when he returns, as by means of a curing pain, through such a Mediator, who both as God assists men by His divinity and as man agrees with men by His weakness. The greater example of obedience that could be given to us, who had perished through our disobedience, is God the Son obedient to God the Father even to the death on the cross (trin. 13, 17, 22)

3 - God judged it better, among the many possible ways, to take upon Himself a man through whom to defeat the enemy of humankind after humankind was defeated, and yet to do this of a virgin, who conceived not by means of the flesh, but of the spirit, not by lust, but by faith. Not the concupiscence of the flesh intervened, by which the rest of men, who derive original sin, are propagated and conceived; on the contrary, the One who was born from the root of the first man derived only the human nature, not guilt. A man was born who had to be the medicine for all who had been infected by sin, a man without sin and incapable of sin, through whom all men born with sin were to be freed from sin (trin. 13, 18, 23)

4 - I give you a rule, so that you may not be confused: when the Son says something that may make us think that the Father is greater than He is, either He says it as a man, inasmuch as God is greater than man, or He says it as the begotten, in order to honour His begetter (s. 217, 7)

5 - Great mystery of piety is the manifestation of Christ in the flesh and the calling of all the peoples to the faith! (ep. 157, 4, 24) - That taking-up of the human nature was such as to make God man and man God (trin. 1, 13, 28)

6 - We celebrate the birth of Christ while rejoicing in the Lord. Not only He was born from the Jews, but manifested Himself also to the pagans. It is convenient to observe all things together, all the details of this spiritual event… What is this humble height, this strength of a weak one, this greatness of a little one? The Word, who was far from us, became flesh in order to live among us. By celebrating His feast in time, let us desire the eternal rewards (s. 373, 5)

7 - The Lord did something that had to pass, but there is also something that remains. Destined to pass were the birth from the Virgin, the incarnation of the Word, the gradual elapse of the ages, the exhibition of miracles, the passion, the death, the resurrection, the ascension to heaven… These are all events that happened in time, so that the travellers might not remain along the way, but might reach the fatherland (en. Ps. 109, 5)

8 - If you affirm that Christ is only God, you deny the medicine that has healed you; if you affirm that Christ is only a man, you deny the power by which you have been created. O faithful soul, O catholic heart, faithfully profess both truths: Christ is God, Christ is man (Io. ev. tr. 36, 2)

Jesus Christ’s person and identity

1 - Nobody is more necessary than Christ (s. 299/D, 5) - We want all together to take hold of Christ! (Io. ev. tr. 48, 11)

 2 - Christ does not command; Christ asks, Christ needs (s. 9, 21) - Christ speaks like God speaks (s. 152, 9)

 3 - If Christ were not God, He would be an absolutely superhuman man (vera rel. 3, 3)

 4 - Christ: little to the little ones, but humble to the proud (s. 380, 2) - What is Christ’s humility? God lent a helping hand to man who had fallen. We fell, but He stooped to us. We were lying on the ground and He stooped to us. Let us take hold of Him and rise, lest we incur punishment (sermo de symbolo ad catechumenos 3, 6)

 5 - The burden of Christ is like the feathers, which make us fly (s. 41, 5)

 6 - Christ as the way: the humble Christ; Christ as truth and life: the High One and God (s. 142, 2) - Do not laugh at Christ’s humility (s. suppl. 21, 12)

 7 - Your way, your truth, your life is Christ… One thing is to lead to the way, another is to lead along the way. I am already on Your way, but lead me along the way, so that I may not take a wrong way (en. Ps. 85, 15)

 8 - Christ, through His miracles, provoked faith in His divine nature; through His passion He provoked faith in the humanity that He was manifesting (vera rel. 16, 31)

 9 - ‘I am the way, the truth, the life’, that is: through Me one comes, to Me one comes, in Me one remains (doctr. chr. 1, 34, 38)

Son of Mary

1 - Christ is creator and creature: creator before His mother, creator of His mother, created in His mother (s. 290, 2, 2) - Christ: man for our sake, God before us (en. Ps. 86, 8)

2 - The Trinity made Christ’s human form from the Virgin Mary, yet it is the person of the Son alone (trin. 2, 10, 18)

3 - Both substances communicate the names of their attributes to each other: the divine one to the human one, and the human one to the divine one. This way the Son of God can be called man and the Son of man can be called God. Both are, nevertheless, the same Christ (s. 265/B, 3)

4 - Christ is the first-born inasmuch as we are God’s children too, He is the only-begotten one because He alone is of the same nature as the Father, equal and coeternal to Him (qu. hept. 5, 23)

5 - Christ is the surest proof that God takes care of man: the shining manifestation of Christ being born, the patience of Christ dying, the power of Christ rising from the dead (s. suppl. 29, 11)

6 - Christ was made man for man’s sake, He who is above man (s. 308/A, 3) - His flesh belongs to humankind (en. Ps. 70, s. 2, 10)

7 - That taking-up of the human nature was such as to make God man and man God (trin. 1, 13, 28) - What would be man now if He had not been made man? (Io. ev. tr. 78, 2)

 8 - Christ came in order to restore, correct and make sound the human nature. Christ: blameless without any corruption, righteous without any distortion, sound without any desire to sin (c. Iul. imp. 4, 59)

 9 - The law was in existence, and yet it did not justify; also nature existed, but it did not justify. It was not, therefore, in vain that Christ died, in order that the law might be fulfilled through Him and that our nature, which was lost through Adam, might be recovered through Him (gr. et lib. arb. 13, 25)

 10 - Christ, equal to the Father, is our eternal Bread; Christ in the flesh is our daily Bread: eternal without time, daily in time (s. 333, 1)

 11 - Christ is great in doing humble things, humble in doing great things (s. 375/A, 2)

 12 - Christ took up our mortality and banqueted with tax collectors and sinners, but always in order to be a leader who might lead them to salvation (adn. Iob 29)

Jesus’s private and public life

 1 - Jesus Christ: wise in an ineffable way, child in a wise way (s. 187, 1)

 2 - What a great exchange! You live of His life because He died in your nature (s. 265/D, 7) - O good merchant, purchase us! (s. 130, 2)

 3 - It is good for us to believe and to retain firmly and unshakeably in our heart that the humility by which God was born of a woman and was lead to death is the greatest remedy by which the swelling of our pride may be cured, and the profound sacrament by which the bond of sin may be loosed. The same applies to the power of His miracles and of His resurrection (trin. 8, 5, 7)

 4 - Jesus came to hunger and to fill, He came to thirst and give drink, He came to be clothed with mortality and to clothe with immortality, He came poor in order to make rich. Indeed He did not lose His riches by taking up our poverty, for in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (en. Ps. 49, 19)

 5 - What was Jesus doing? He was talking to the crowds, He was demolishing the old persons in order to build new ones, He was setting souls free, giving freedom to captives, illuminating blind minds, performing good works, doing good feverishly by deeds and by words (s. 72/A, 3)

Passion and Death

 1 - Being born too was, for the Lord Jesus, due to His mercy, not the demand of His nature; likewise He underwent death of His own free will, and this is our price which He paid to redeem us from death (nat. et gr. 24, 26)

 2 - As God Christ is equal to the Father, but as man He is less than the Father; and He is less than Himself, because it is said of Him: ‘He emptied Himself’ (Phil. 2:7) (trin. 1, 11, 22)

 3 - What a great exchange! You live of His life because He died in your nature (s. 265/D, 7) - In the passion of the Lord there were three crosses: only one punishment, but different causes (s. 327, 2)

 4 - Christ was not paying attention to the fact that He was undergoing death by the hands of men, but that He was undergoing death for their sake (Io. ev. tr. 31, 9)

 5 - ‘He has no beauty or majesty’ (Isa. 53:2). He suffered, was humiliated, spitted upon: He had no beauty. He seemed to be a man, but He was God. He was like a root, which is without beauty, but inside has the strength of its beauty. Do not despise it: from it all you admire has its origin. Look at the splendour of the tree! (s. 44, 1)

 6 - The Crucified blinded His crucifiers (en. Ps. 65, 10) - Jesus’s cross is a big lampstand. Whoever wants to give light, must not be ashamed of the wooden lampstand. Glory in the lampstand of Christ’s humility (s. 289, 6)

 7 - You love Christ and therefore you act on the cross (en. Ps. 103, s. 1, 14)

 8 - I am sure that we will never sink, because we are carried by the wood of the cross (s. 104, 7) - Cling to the wood if you don’t want to be dragged away (s. 25, 6)

 9 - You want to have no wrinkle? Stretch yourself out on the cross. When you are on the cross, the desire of eternity is enkindled in you (s. suppl. 22, 21)

 10 - In the cross is the pain of confession, in the burial is the peace of absolution, in the resurrection is the life lived in justice (s. 228/A, 1) - On the cross Christ was sowing, and the Church was sprouting out (s. 335/E, 2)

 11 - Christ is the bread, Christ is the peace. This food took shape in the womb of a virgin, was baked with the fire of the Passion (s. suppl. 27, 5)

 12 - Let us acknowledge Him as the saviour in order not to fear Him as the judge (s. 213, 6) - Remain close to the wood of the cross, with which you shall be able to cross the sea (Io. ev. tr. 2, 16)

 13 - Christ: acknowledge justice, love obedience, avoid pride, praise His power, admire His patience, impetrate His grace (s. suppl. 9, 8)

Resurrection

 1 - Accept the whole Christ: Word, rational soul, flesh. This is Christ in His wholeness. May your soul rise from iniquity by virtue of His divinity and may your body rise from corruption by virtue of His humanity (Io. ev. tr. 23, 6)

 2 - ‘Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to the Father’ (Jn. 20:17). Mary Magdalene was representing the Church. Christ wanted to say: do not touch me physically, but touch me inasmuch as I am equal to the Father. As long as you don’t acknowledge me as equal to the Father, you do not touch me, but my flesh (s. 5, 7)

 3 - Pascha (Passover) is not, as some think, a Greek noun, but a Hebrew one: and yet there occurs in this noun a very suitable kind of agreement in the two languages. Since the Greek word paschein means ‘to suffer’, pascha has been supposed to mean ‘suffering’, as if the noun derived its name from His passion, but in its own language, that is, in Hebrew, pascha means ‘passage’, because God's people celebrated the pascha for the first time when, in their flight from Egypt, they passed the Red Sea. And now that prophetic figure is fulfilled in truth, when Christ is led as a sheep to the slaughter, and by His blood sprinkled on our doorposts, that is, by the sign of His cross marked on our foreheads, we are delivered from the perdition awaiting this world, as Israel was delivered from the bondage and destruction of the Egyptians; and we make a very salutary passage when we pass from the devil to Christ, and from this unstable world to His well-established kingdom. We all, like Christ, ‘pass from this world to the Father’ (Io. ev. tr. 55, 1)

 4 - This passing from death to life is now brought about in us by faith, which we have for the forgiveness of our sins and the hope of eternal life, if we love God and our neighbour. According to this faith, hope and love, by which we have begun to be under grace,we are already dead together with Christ and buried together with Him by baptism into death, with the hope of the future resurrection and the final glory (ep. 55, 2, 3)

 5 - We celebrate the solemnity of the humility of the Lord, who humbled Himself, becoming obedient up to death, and death on the cross. We too, on this holy night, by fasting, by keeping vigil and by praying, we humble our souls (s. 223/H, 1)

 6 - The resurrection of souls is effected by the eternal and unchangeable substance of the Father and Son, but the resurrection of bodies is effected by the temporal dispensation of the Son's humanity (Io. ev. tr. 23, 13)

 7 - There are two lives: one of the body, another of the soul. If the soul forsakes it, the body dies; likewise the soul dies if God forsakes it. This is His grace: that He may resurrect and be with us. While You are with me, I live; and You are the life of my soul, which would die if it were left to itself. Therefore my life is present in me, that is, my God (en. Ps. 70, s. 2, 3)

 8 - God resurrects the souls through Christ, Son of God; He resurrects the bodies through the same Christ, Son of man: ‘He has given Him authority’ (Jn. 5:27) (Io. ev. tr. 19, 15)

 9 -’Rise, you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall enlighten you’ (Eph. 5:14). All unbelievers and all the unrighteous people are dead; in body they live, but in heart they are extinct. He who raises a man dead according to the body, brings him back to see this light and to breathe this air; but when God resurrects a soul, He brings it back for Himself (en. Ps. 70, s. 2, 3)

 10 - Where can a soul be satisfied? Where the supreme good, the total truth, the full abundance is: ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled’ (Io. ev. tr. 26, 6)

Ascension

 1 - Christ has descended in order to heal you, has ascended in order to lift you up (s. 261, 1)

 2 - The Lord Jesus Christ is up there and is with us; He is with the Father and is in us; He does not depart from Him and does not abandon us. As a teacher He teaches us how to pray; as the Son He, with the Father, grants our requests (s. 245, 4)

 3 - ‘No man has ascended into heaven, except the One who came down from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven’. He was here by His flesh, in heaven by His divinity; or better, everywhere by His divinity... He descended for our sake, let us ascend for His sake (Io. ev. tr. 12, 8)

 4 - Our Lord Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven: may also our heart ascend with Him. As He has not departed from us by His ascent, in the same way we are already up there with Him, although not yet with our body (s. 263/A, 1)

 5 - ‘Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth’ (Ps. 57:6). You have been closed in the womb of a mother, You have been hungry and thirsty for us, You have grown weary along the way for us, You have been scourged, crucified, You have died and been buried. Now You are seated in heaven and are awaited as a judge. And now Your glory, that is, Your Church, is above all the earth. The Church is Your glory (s. 262, 4-6)

 6 - If ascents happen in the heart, heaven is to be found in the realm of righteousness (en. Ps. 122, 4) - Let us humble ourselves in this world and we shall go up (en. Ps. 126, 6)

 7 - In you the body is inferior to the mind, and among all realities nothing is better than God. Lift yourself up to what is the better part in you, so that you may reach the One who is the best of all (s. 223/A, 2)

 8 - Raise yourself above everything that is visible in you, raise yourself even above what in you is not visible. For your soul too is changeable: now it wants, now it no longer wants. God is not like this: He is the unchangeable and incorruptible Good. Transcend all things, transcend yourself in order to reach God (s. 223/A, 3)

Christ and Christians

 1 - We offer you Christ in behalf of Christ, we offer Him in obedience to Him, so that He Himself may come to you and be the judge of our ministry (s. 340/A, 9)

 2 - Christ condescended to be a complete reality together with us, even if He is complete without us since eternity (s. suppl. 22, 19)

 3 - A Christian does not belong any longer to the present world, but to the future one: he is a citizen of the celestial city, which is free and is our eternal mother in heaven (mend. 15-16, 33) - We all have been crucified and have risen in Christ (exp. prop. Rom. 1)

 4 - It is very little that you are called Christians: be Christians! (s. 9, 21) - Let us rejoice and give thanks: not only we have become Christians, but Christ. Can you understand, brethren, can you grasp with your minds the grace of God upon us? Be astonished, rejoice, we have been made Christ! (Io. ev. tr. 21, 8)

 5 - The ancient law said: ‘Let the one who is born have the name of the one who is dead’. Let him be born for the dead one and be called with the name of the dead one. Christ died, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven: He is no longer bodily present. His brothers took His spouse in order to beget children through the preaching of the Gospel. By begetting offspring for their brother, they have called ‘Christians’ all those they have begotten (en. Ps. 44, 23)

 6 - Christ takes shape in the believers through the faith that is conceived in the interior man, who is called to the freedom of grace. All this happens in those who are meek and humble of heart, who do not boast about their own inexistent merits, but rely on grace in order to attain merits. Christ calls such persons His least ones, that is, other Christs. Christ takes shape in those who get Christ’s shape. By imitating Christ, a Christian is what Christ is (Gal. exp. 38)

 7 - To deny Christ means to bear false witness (s. 299/F, 2) - To deny Christ is a more serious sin than to commit adultery. To have an illicit sexual intercourse is a physical adultery, to deny truth is a spiritual adultery. In faith and in spirit: there must be chastity (s. 318, 2)

 8 - Let Christians invite Christ as a guest and they shall be invited into heaven (s. 89, 7) - O Christian, Christ is sleeping in your boat: wake Him up, He will command the storm and everything shall be calm (s. 361, 7, 7) - Whenever Christ, our deliverer, fishes, our deliverance happens (s. 251, 1, 1)

 9 - Christ’s poverty is our riches, Christ’s weakness is our strength, Christ’s foolishness is our wisdom, Christ’s mortality is our immortality (en. Ps. 40, 1)

 10 - Preach Christ wherever you can, to whoever you can, in whatever way you can. What is demanded of you is faith, not eloquence (s. 260/E, 2)

 11 - You, holy children of the only Catholic mother, are subject to the Lord: do not follow anyone against the unity of Christ, even if he preaches the name of Christ and if he brings and offers the sacrament of Christ (c. litt. Pet. 3, 5, 6)

 12 - I cannot just admire Him, I must imitate Him (Io. ev. tr. 52, 2) - Who are we? Servants to the Lord, sinners to the Just One, creatures to the Creator (Io. ev. tr. 43, 1)

 13 - Christ has suffered: let us die to sin; Christ is risen: let us live for God; Christ has passed from this world to the Father: let our hearts not be attached to this world, but follow Him up there; our Head was hung on the cross: let us crucify the concupiscence of the flesh; He lay in a sepulchre: buried with Him, let us forget the past things; He is seated in heaven: let us transfer our desire to the celestial realities; He has to come as a judge: let us not be under the yoke of the unbelieving (s. 229/D, 1)

 14 - ‘Put on the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rom. 13:14). Put on the life of the One whom you have put on through the sacrament of the new life, which starts in this time with the remission of all past sins and shall be brought to perfection in the resurrection of the dead (s. 260/A, 1)

 15 - To receive Christ means to welcome Him in one’s heart. May Christ dwell in the hearts of men through faith (Io. ev. tr. 57, 2)