Redeeming while being redeemed

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT’S how we are in this life. We are both co-agents with Christ in our own redemption as well as objects of such redemption that is wrought out primarily by Christ and instrumentally by us.

Yes, we are co-redeemers with Christ, concerned not only of our own redemption but also that of everybody else. In fact, our own redemption would depend on how we involve ourselves together with Christ in the redemption of everybody else.

This is not about falling into some psychological disorder that some people refer to as the “Messiah complex.” It is not a complex, because it is what we are meant to be, and who we ought to be.

Obviously, because of its supernatural character, it may appear as unnatural. But what it actually does is to perfect our humanity and elevate it to the supernatural order of the life of God and to involve us in his redemptive work on us. That is because of all the creatures, we are made to be his image and likeness, meant to share in his life and in his work.

This is a basic truth about ourselves that we need to be most familiar with, so that we can conform ourselves to it and live it as fully as possible. And the secret is, of course, to unite and identify ourselves as closely as possible with Christ, assuming his mind and heart, his desires and his life itself which he provides so directly and easily.

Remember that Christ as the second person of the Blessed Trinity and the perfect image that God has of his own self is the pattern of our humanity, and as the Son of God who became man, he is the redeemer of our damaged or wounded humanity.

He both does the work of redemption and shows us how we can be redeemed by simply suffering and dying for our sins. That is why from the beginning of his earthly mission, he already knew what was going to happen to him. He was even predicting his passion, death and resurrection, something that his apostles did not quite understand at first and were hesitant to ask for an explanation.

We need to assume the mind of Christ to be both co-redeemers with him and the object of his redemptive work. This means that we too need to suffer and die as Christ suffered and died for us, so that we too can resurrect with him.

As St. Paul said in his second letter to Timothy, “If we died with Him (Christ), we will also live with Him. If we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will also deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2,11-13)

What we can derive from this consideration is that our attitude toward suffering and death in life should be the same as that of Christ. It should be active, and not merely passive. We have to look for it, not avoid it. As much as possible, if we are generous and heroic, we have to look forward to a lot of suffering and to death itself.

That was the attitude of Christ as it was in all the saints. The latter were not afraid to suffer and die. In fact, they looked for it. We have to learn to look for suffering and to be happy with it, but with the same motivation as Christ and the saints had.

It is for the sake of our being co-redeemers with Christ as well as the object of Christ’s redemption on us. Let’s leave behind our fear of suffering and death. Let’s welcome them the way Christ and the saints welcomed them.

It’s when we assume the mind of Christ when we suffer and die that we co-redeem with Christ as well as being redeemed by Christ.