March 28, 2020
There Was Not Any More Fitting Way to Free the Human Race than Through the Passion of Christ
Meditation from Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas by St. Thomas Aquinas
The suitability of any particular way for the attainment of a given end is reckoned according to the greater or less number of things useful to that end which the way in question brings about. The more things helpful to the end the method chosen brings about, the better and more suitable is that method or way. Now owing to the fact that it was through the Passion of Christ that man was delivered, many things, helpful to man’s salvation, came together—in addition to his being freed from sin.
(i) Thanks to the fact that it was through the Passion that man was delivered, man learns how much God loves him, and is thereby stimulated to that love of God, in which is to be found the perfection of man’s salvation. God commendeth his chanty towards us: because when as yet we were sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
(ii) In the Passion He gave us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice and of other virtues also, all of which we must practise if we are to be saved. Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21).
(iii) Christ by His Passion not only delivered man from sin, but also merited for man the grace which makes him acceptable to God, and the glory of life with God for eternity.
(iv) The fact that it is through the Passion that man has been saved, brings home to man the need of keeping himself clear from sin. Man has only to realise that it was at the price of the blood of Christ that he was bought back from sin. You are bought with a great price. Glorify God and bear him in your body (1 Corinthians 6:20).
(v) The fact that the Passion was the way chosen heightens the dignity of human nature. As it was man that was deceived and conquered by the devil, so now it is man by whom the devil in turn is conquered. As it was man who once earned death, so it is man who, by dying, has overcome death. Thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through Our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). (Summa 3 46 3.)
Image: The Crowning with Thorns by Caravaggio