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On the Price of Our Redemption

Wednesday after the Third Sunday of Lent

On the Price of Our Redemption

For you are bought with a great price. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Injury or passion of someone is measured out of the dignity of the person: for a king suffers a greater injury if he should be struck on the face than some private person; but the dignity of the person of Christ is infinite, because he is a divine person; therefore whatever passion of his, however tiny it should be, is infinite; therefore whatever passion of his would have sufficed unto the redemption of the human race, even without death.

Bernard says that the smallest drop of the blood of Christ would have sufficed unto the redemption of the human race; yet any drop of the blood of Christ could have been poured out without death; therefore even without death he could have redeemed the human race through some passion.

It must be said that unto purchase two things are required, namely quantity of price, and its deputation unto buying something. For if someone should give a price not equaling unto something to be acquired, it is not said to be purchase simpliciter, but partly purchase, partly donation; for example, if someone should buy a book which is worth twenty pounds for ten pounds, partly he would buy the book and partly it would be given to him. Again, if he would give an even greater price and would not depute it unto buying, he is not said to buy the book.

If therefore we should speak concerning the redemption of the human race as regards quantity of price, thus whatever passion of Christ even without death would have sufficed unto the redemption of the human race, on account of the infinite dignity of his person. And thus there proceed the last two rationes.

Yet if we should speak as regards deputation of price, thus it must be said that other passions of Christ have not been deputed without death unto the redemption of the human race by God the Father and Christ. And this by a threefold ratio.

First indeed so that the price of the redemption of the human race not only would be infinite in strength, but also would be of the same genus, namely that it would redeem us from death through death.

Second, so that the death of Christ not only would be the price of redemption, but also an example of virtue, namely so that men would not fear to die for truth. And the Apostle assigns these two causes, in Hebrews 2:14–15, saying: so that through death he would destroy him who had command of death, as regards the first, and would free those who were subject to servitude by fear of death through their whole life, as regards the second.

Third, so that the death of Christ would be also a sacrament of salvation, while by the power of the death of Christ we die to sin and to carnal desires and proper affect. And this cause is assigned in 1 Peter 3:18: Christ died once for our sins, the just for the unjust, so that he might offer us to God, us indeed having been made dead to the flesh, yet made alive to the spirit.

And for this reason the human race was not redeemed through another passion without the death of Christ.

It must be said that Christ not only by releasing his life, but even by suffering whatever passion, had paid a sufficient price for the redemption of the human race, if a lesser passion unto this: on account of the infinite dignity of the person of Christ.

(QII.Q1.A2)


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