To understand the mystery of Redemption, and therefore co-redemption, we should take special note of the miracle of the Incarnation. This singular event took place in the womb of a young woman in Galilee a little more than 2,000 ago. At that moment redemption began for us, because the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son of God Himself, became a tiny being within His mother and began His human existence. From that instant forward, human life would be transformed throughout the centuries.
Like His Mother, Jesus Christ was conceived without sin, and thus began to free us from sin in Himself. By assuming our human nature, He elevated and gave redemptive value to the smallest things of life, including our daily duties involving work and family. As He grows and matures, He transforms and saves us in everything He does. Catholic theologians call this Christ’s “theandric operations”; that is, actions done by a divine person with two distinct natures — human and divine. Thus, Jesus the man repairs a table in Nazareth, but He’s also God repairing a table; Jesus the man weeps over people’s ingratitude, but He’s also God weeping over people’s ingratitude; and Jesus the man was scourged at the pillar, but He’s also God who was scourged.
Through His actions as God-man, Christ connects heaven and earth in His smallest deeds and in His greatest miracles, especially the Resurrection. From the moment of His conception, therefore, He was redeeming us, liberating us from sin and opening the door to a new and glorious life in God. He was making us part of His family, and freeing us from the negative consequences of original sin — pride, greed, lust, anger, and all the rest. Redemption began with Mary’s acceptance of God’s plan for her, announced by the angel Gabriel, and her conceiving of God’s Son. Since that moment, the human race has never been the same, nor ever will be.
The Evangelists proclaim this joyful truth again and again. In his famous prologue, St. John writes that we’re now children of God, who are born “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). This rebirth divinizes our existence, and gives us a joy and freedom that neither the world nor our fellow humans give us with all of their works, dreams and projects. This plenitude is communicated to our bodies and souls, and grace leads to everlasting life (John 1:16). Christ’s redemption gives complete fullness and meaning to human existence, since it connects our existence with His own experience as the God-man.
St. Paul states that before the universe began, God knew each of us who would live on this tiny planet earth, and loved us; for He chose us to live in His Son before the foundation of time (Ephesians 1:4). We are truly made alive in Christ; we are now citizens of heaven, and we look to the new heaven and the new earth at the end of time, which will be the fullness of God’s presence among us. (Revelation 21:1-4).
Such is the power and sweep of God’s redemptive plan for us. “Behold I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5), says the Savior, who is the conquering King of heaven and earth.
Father Giesler is a priest of Opus Dei living at the Wespine Center in St. Louis. He has written a book and several articles on Sacred Scripture and the natural law.