Why the Passion Was the Perfect Means of Salvation

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Full Question

Couldn’t God, being almighty, have chosen a faster way to reconcile man with himself?


God could certainly have chosen any method he wanted to save us. God chose the Passion because it showed the depravity of sin and the depths of his love.

Thomas Aquinas (Summa III Q46 A3) noted that while anything God chose would have sufficed for our salvation, the Passion was the perfect means because:

  • “In the first place, man knows thereby how much God loves him, and is thereby stirred to love him in return.”
  • “Secondly, because thereby he set us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues displayed in the Passion, which are requisite for man’s salvation.”. . .
  • “Fourthly, because by this man is all the more bound to refrain from sin, according to 1 Corinthians 6:20: ‘You are bought with a great price: glorify and bear God in your body.'”
  • “Fifthly, because it redounded to man’s greater dignity, that as man was overcome and deceived by the devil, so also it should be a man that should overthrow the devil; and as man deserved death, so a man by dying should vanquish death.”

The saving Passion of Christ is the great mystery of faith. At Mass when the priest celebrant intones “The mystery of faith” after the consecration of the chalice, he is referring to the Eucharistic sacrifice that has just been made present in our midst.

By Fr. Charles Grondin


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    I have often struggled with this story. An all-powerful being impregnates a young maiden without asking her consent, with himself, in order to be born as himself, so he can sacrifice himself to himself, in order to relieve us of a condition (original sin) that he placed on us in the first place. If that isn’t a Rube Goldberg contraption, I don’t know what is!
    Some early Christians (Docetists if my memory is correct) believed that Jesus was a god, and only took on a human form, so of course he didn’t suffer. Much of Luke’s gospel would support this view. Aside from the session in Gethsemane, which some suggest may have been added later, Luke’s Jesus does not appear to suffer on the cross. He chats up people on the way, and while hanging on the cross… Unlike Mark and Matthew, gospels that came before his, Jesus’ final words change, indicating no pain or suffering. He can walk on water, change water into wine (but not lead into gold to feed poor people), so obviously he could shut out the pain if he was really a god. Also, what sort of sacrifice are we talking about here? He’s a god. He knows in advance that he’s not going to die. What sort of sacrifice is that?
    And how necessary was it? The Church had to make Mary a virgin because original sin is passed along as the result of sex (hence the maniacal obsession with sex in the RCC), and Jesus had to be born without original sin. But oops… Back in those days, they thought the woman only grew the man’s seed. They didn’t understand that the woman contributed half the genetic material. When they learned this in the 1800s it created a real problem. Mary’s parents had clearly done the naughty deed, and thus passed original sin to Mary, so indeed she would pass it to Jesus. What to do, what to do… So the Church decided in 1854 that Mary had been born without original sin!!! Presto Changeo, problem solved…. But wait a minute. If Yahweh can relieve Mary of original sin with a wink and a nod, why can’t he do that for all of us? Why the convoluted self-sacrifice story? It makes no sense.
    The DNA evidence indicates that we came from a pool of early ancestors numbering in the tens of thousands, and not a single breeding pair. This debunks original sin. It also does away with the legitimacy of the Church, and any need to believe, say and do what these celibate virgins dressed in robes tell us to do if we want to avoid eternal torture. They are throwing all sorts of things out there, trying to distract – but this is the REAL issue facing the Church, and they know it.

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