The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer is dedicated to Christ, the Redeemer of humanity. The Redemptorist constitutions, quoting the original rule of St Alphonsus, highlight the point:
Our purpose is to “follow the example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, by preaching the word of God to the poor, as he declared of himself: ‘He sent me to preach the Good News to the Poor’.”(Constitutions of the Redemptorists, No. 1)
To reveal Jesus better, the evangelists wrote their Gospels using a particular language and set of symbols. Through that language and those symbols, they were telling us that the Good News of Jesus reversed everything the Roman Empire had ever aimed at, and included everyone Rome and other powerful systems had left out.
Jesus brought peace through a different kind of justice from that practiced by Rome. It did not come through victory and power and violence. It came through gentleness, simple living, understanding and communion. The ‘holy redeemer’ of the world was not an emperor, but Jesus.
The resurrection of Jesus highlights what God has revealed in him. In contemporary times we have come to see that the resurrection of Jesus is about inclusion. To be redeemed is to be included through the person and life, death and resurrection of Jesus into God’s love and life. It is a matter of justice, God’s kind of justice, God’s way of binding God’s self to be infinitely bountiful to us.
The Redemptorist motto, taken from Psalm 130, proclaims “with God there is plentiful redemption” (Copiosa apud eum redemptio). It means that God remains bountiful to all creation, including it, enfolding it, bringing it to its glorious completion.
The risen Christ is the great Includer. Redemptorists then, are a community of the Most Holy Includer. Our mission is to include all who are in any way excluded, no matter who and no matter where. We are gatherers unto the God who raises us:
“All this is from God, who through Christ has ‘gathered’ us to himself and given us the ministry of ‘gathering’.”(2 Cor. 5, 17)
Redemption occurs, not in some act placed by Jesus, but in his very person in relation to God. The Holy Redeemer is more important than the mystery of the Redemption. Redemptorists are the congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in person. It is to him that we give our lives for plentiful redemption. It is in him that we gather the lost. Through him we include all who have been left outside. It is right for us to spend our lives in him, that in him we may truly be a congregation of includers.
(These above thoughts on ‘The Most Holy Redeemer’ are sourced in the writings of Fr. Kevin O’Shea, C.Ss.R.)
‘For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth’ Job:19:25