We still need a Redeemer

Published 9:55 am Thursday, December 30, 2021

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With our phones, our warm houses, our cars and our computers, we feel contented and independent. It seems easy to coast along and live a comfortable life.

Brother Maximilian Watner

But below the surface, we all have souls that will live for eternity. In this busy Christmas season it can be hard to remember that the most important thing is to give attention to our poor, forgotten souls. Christmas offers an unseen grace, an internal grace that is peaceful, quiet and hidden – and only offered if our hearts are open.

One step toward being open is to recognize the radical need that each of us have of a Redeemer. We must remember that we were slaves to sin, to the devil, and that we would have no chance of being happy after we die unless He had come. This is the joy of Christmas. Our Redeemer has come: this is the proof of the love of God for us (John 3:16). 

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But it is tempting to forget that we too have a part to play in this redemption. Love is a two-way street. What should be our reaction when we observe the many daily circumstances in which we are selfish and self-seeking. What do we do when we see how far short we fall of living up to Jesus’ commandment, “Be ye therefore perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect?” That is the time to remember that we still need Him, we still need a Redeemer. We still have need of His coming today in our lives, this very Christmas in our hearts. We must remember that while He opened the gates of heaven, we still have to walk through. We must obey His commandments and repent when we have fallen. We are given the opportunity to climb out of the mud of sin, but we do still have to climb. Christ doesn’t somehow owe us heaven because He came to die for us: we are meant to “work out our salvation in fear and trembling,” daily, even hourly, offering our weakness, our failures, and our repentance as a sacrifice to glorify God, Who loves to be merciful to us.  As a wise priest once said, “God is glorified by us needing Him.”

Jesus’ love for us doesn’t stop at opening the gates of heaven. He supplies the grace and strength we need to strive against our vices, if we are seeking truth and willing to sacrifice ourselves for Him like He did for us. He strengthens our love, He gives us the help we need if we ask Him, if we recognize that we still need Him to come as Redeemer. He wishes us to recall the words of St. Paul, “Gladly, therefore, will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” Then, this Christmas, we will rejoice in the wondrous strength He gives us in order to serve Him.

Br. Maximilian Watner is on the the staff at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Buckingham County. He can be reached at webmaster@stas.org.