("Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas", pp. 88-90, 1937 Imp.)
THE PRICE OF OUR REDEMPTION
You are bought with a great price. -1 Cor. vi. 20.
The indignities and sufferings anyone suffers
are measured according to the dignity of the person
concerned. If a king is struck in the face he
suffers a greater indignity than does a private
person. But the dignity of Christ is infinite, for
He is a divine person. Therefore, any suffering
undergone by him, even the least conceivable
suffering, is infinite. Any suffering at all, then,
undergone by Him, without His death, would
have sufficed to redeem the human race.
St. Bernard says that the least drop of the blood
of Christ would have sufficed for the redemption
of us all. And Christ could have shed that one
drop without dying. Therefore, even without
dying he could, by some kind of suffering, have
redeemed, that is, bought back, all mankind.
Now in buying two things are required, an
amount equal to the price demanded and the
assigning of that amount to the purpose of buying.
For if a man gives a price that is not equal in
value to the thing to be bought, we do not say
that he has bought it, but only that he has partly
bought it, and partly been given it. For example,
if a man buys for ten shillings a book that is worth
twenty shillings, he has partly bought the book and
it has, partly, been given to him. Or again, if he
puts together a greater price but does not assign
it to the buying, he is not said to buy the book.