by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
One of the criticisms of evangelicals against Catholics is that Jesus is not in the forefront of our religious thought and motivation. While this is patently false as regards the Church as an institution, it however can come about in individual souls of all Christians, not just Catholics.
Jesus is our Savior!
Yes, we believe this. But we must avoid the errors which would reduce faith to a sentiment of trust or to an intellectual act of mere assent to an ideal or doctrine.
Saint Bonaventure’s exposition of the theological virtue of faith avoided the error that can result from Saint Thomas Aquinas’ definition. For Aquinas, faith was a virtue of the intellect, not the will. But for Saint Bonaventure, faith was a virtue which governed both intellect and will.
It is no surprise, then, that when Martin Luther attacked the Catholic Religion on the question of the virtue of faith, he was responding to the preaching of a Dominican, not a Franciscan!
Putting the differences of Saint Bonaveture and Saint Thomas aside, since they are both Doctors of the Church in Scholastic and Dogmatic Theology, we need to recognize that when we assent in our minds to the truth that Jesus is our Savior, we also need to consent in our wills to regard Jesus our our Savior.
And for this we need to understand that as all Scripture and Tradition hand down, the salvation of which we speak, when we call Jesus our “Savior” does not merely take place at the moment of death, or regard the world to come. Rather, it regards the present moment and all the moments, places, and decision which we will pass through, come to be in and make, respectively, on the way to the hour of our own death and beyond.
Jesus is Our Savior, then, because, by His Passion and Death
- He redeemed all Creation, including myself.
- He atoned for all sin, including my sins, past, present and future.
- He merited all grace for all creatures capable of receiving it, of which I am the most unworthy.
- He did that which no one could do, including myself.
- He did that which had to be done, else the world and myself go necessarily to damnation.
- He did that which alone is capable from saving me from the power of Satan before and after death.
- And finally, He did that which He did not have to do, and at great price to Himself, such that all creation, including myself, owe Him a profound and eternal and infinite gratitude, of the kind which is religious and sacred and continual and habitual.
But the wonderful truth that Jesus is our Savior, is that in every moment of our lives and in every problem we can turn to Him for salvation. And the kind of prayer and request which He is most pleased to receive is that of the sinner seeking salvation. This is so, because that is the prayer for which He descended from Heaven and died upon the Cross by such a bloody and painful and shameful execution.
This truth that Jesus is our Savior then, should be more than a truth, it should be a rule of live and daily existence.
Let us therefore go to Jesus, physically, by visiting Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament and attending Mass, when we can.
Let us go to Jesus by turning to Him in prayer at the beginning and end and throughout the day.
Let us go to Jesus by trusting in His infinite power to save us and rescue us from every danger.
Let us go to Jesus to save us from the habits of our sins, from the tragedy of our lives of sin, from the evil effects of turning away from Him in sin, and to obtain the grace to repent and repair the effects of our sins, in ourselves and in others.
And let us go to Jesus especially to ask for the light to see what we truly are and how much we truly need Him and His help, so that begging with humility, we might obtain as He is wont to grant, generous and efficacious graces for our own salvation and that of all.
But Jesus is our Savior, also, in the sense that the “our” refers to the whole Church, and not just to each of us individually.
And now more than every, we need to run to Jesus as OUR Savior! — As can plainly be seen everywhere.
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