DIY Redemption?


I get to my question at the bottom, but it seems helpful to preface the question with an understanding of where I am coming from…

In Catholicism, if I have it right, we believe redemption (and salvation) comes through Jesus having paid our ransom through his most precious body and blood offered on the cross and in his resurrection.

The word “ransom”, which is sometimes used in the New Testament to describe Christ’s passion, has always been a bit too disconcerting to understand, but my recent contemplations on redemption seem to make it clear.

To understand redemption (at least literally) is easy to illustrate. It used to be - if you bought a bottle of soda, you pay a $.10 deposit on the bottle. The store would redeem your $.10 when you returned the bottle; or conversely, when you redeemed the bottle, they would refund your $.10. Redemption by ransom started with the fall of man. Tricked by Satan, we became captives of sin, and God demanded some sort of atonement. It’s a mystery, I think, as to how and why God would need to pay off (or redeem) the devil, as if we were being held hostage - but Christ’s sacrifice on the cross ransomed us. We receive the saving graces which redeem us when we practice the sacraments.

There’s a sort of problem, however…

While Christ’s work was the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament - which heralded the advent of the New Testament - Christ’s work was still somewhat “incomplete”… I can explain my use of the term “incomplete” in terms of justice and suffering - when, for instance, we are sick and urged to unite our sufferings to those of Christ on the cross - to “offer it up to God”, as they say, when whatever “it” is, is a sort of unjust suffering we must endure. This seems to be a problem of distributive and/or commutative justice.

Anyway, if we are “to give it up”, yes, I think we can and should ask for Jesus’ help in the sacraments, obviously… But - when it comes to redeeming ourselves - what else are we supposed to do? Is there a general answer? Or is our course of action dependent upon a situation? Essentially - what I am trying to ask is - how does one “DIY” redeem onesself? I feel like I am missing or omitting something. Where am I going wrong?


Make a conscious decision to know God, love God and serve God - the human purpose. Repent. Have true contrition in your heart for your sins. Submit to and receive the Sacraments with faith.

Repeat as necessary.

Try not to overthink this.


Christ paid the debt to justice by this inward sacrifice of obedience, unto death, with perfect love. He taught us by His example. We are able to share in Christ’s sacrifice by uniting our suffering with his.

Ephesians 1

7 In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace 8 that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, 9 he has made known to us the mystery[e] of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him 10 as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

[e] 1:9 Mystery: as in Rom 16:25; Col 1:26–27 and elsewhere, a secret of God now revealed in the plan to save and sum up all things in Christ (Eph 1:10); cf. Eph 3:3–6.


Sometimes it seems there is a distance between us and God, that somehow maybe we ‘slip under the radar’ , not true. So taken that we are not alone how can that make a difference. It makes all the difference in my opinion. I think firstly we have faith, then we begin to become aware of God in our lives, IMO He doesn’t just expect us to believe He expects us to act too. So redemption can be through charity and love shown to our neighbour who we should care about as though they were family, which of course they are, spiritual family, and through the growth of love for God in gratitude for all He has given us, He gives us, and for all He promises to give us in future.

It’s a serious task and a long term commitment but He has given us relief from so many burdens if we have faith and promises us His help to achieve salvation.

So I’d say charitable acts might be your answer, which could be helping rebuilding houses in Nepal or doing the dishes and wiping up! Faith in action.


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