THE GREAT OBLIGATIONS WE ARE UNDER TO LOVE THE MOST HOLY REDEEMER
Forget not the kindness of thy Surety for he hath given his life for thee. By this Surety we understand Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, Who, seeing that we were unable to satisfy Divine Justice, offered Himself to die for us. He was offered because it was his own will. He offered to make satisfaction for us, and actually paid our debts in His Blood, and by giving up His life. He hath given his life for thee.
Forget not the kindness of thy Surety for he hath given his life for thee (Ecclus. xxix. 19). By this Surety we understand Jesus Christ, Who, seeing that we were unable to atone to the Divine justice, offered Himself because it was his own will (Is. liii. 7). He offered to make satisfaction for us, and actually paid our debts by His Blood and by His Death. He hath given his life for thee.
To repair the insults which we offered to the Divine majesty, the sacrifice of the life of all men was not sufficient; God alone could atone for an injury done to God; and this Jesus Christ has accomplished. By so much, says St. Paul, is Jesus made a surety of a better testament (Heb. vii. 22). By making satisfaction on behalf of man, our Redeemer, man’s surety, says the Apostle, obtained by His merits a new compact — that if man should observe the law, God would grant him grace and eternal life. This is precisely what Jesus Christ Himself expressed in the institution of the Eucharist when He said, This chalice is the new testament in my blood (1 Cor. xi. 25.) By these words Jesus meant, that the chalice of His Blood was the instrument or written security by which was established the new covenant between God and Jesus Christ, that to men who were faithful to Him should be given the gift of grace and of eternal life.
Hence, by suffering the penalties due to us, the Redeemer, through the love which He bore us, made on our behalf a rigorous atonement to the Divine Justice. Surely, says the Prophet, he hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows (Is. liii. 4). And all this was the fruit of His love. Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us (Eph. v. 2). St. Bernard says that to pardon us, Jesus Christ did not pardon Himself. “To redeem a slave He spared not Himself.” O miserable Jews, why do you still wait for the Messias promised by the Prophets? He has already come: you have murdered Him; but, in spite of your guilt, your Redeemer is ready to pardon you; for He has come to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel: The Son of Man is come to save that which was lost (Matt. xviii. 11).
St. Paul has written that, to deliver us from the malediction due to our sins, Jesus Christ has charged Himself with all the maledictions we merited; and therefore He wished to suffer the death of the accursed, that is, the death of the Cross: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree (Gal. iii. 13).
What a source of glory would it not be to a poor peasant captured by pirates, and reduced to slavery, to be ransomed by his sovereign at the cost of a kingdom! But how much greater glory do we derive from having been redeemed by Jesus Christ at the cost of His own Blood, a single drop of which is worth more than a thousand worlds! You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled (1 Pet. i. 18, 19). Hence, St. Paul tells us that we commit an act of injustice against our Saviour if we dispose of ourselves according to our own, and not according to His will, or if we indulge our inclinations ourselves, or, what is worse, if we indulge our inclinations so as to offend our God. For we belong not to ourselves, but to Jesus Christ Who has purchased us with a great price. Know you not that … you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price (1 Cor. vi. 19, 20).
Ah, my Redeemer, if I had shed all my blood for Thee, and even given for Thee a thousand lives, what compensation would it be for the love of Thee, Who hast given Thy Blood and Thy life for me? Give me strength, O my Jesus, to be entirely Thine during the remainder of my life.