Archive for the ‘Adam and Eve’ Category

A Persistent, Predictable Trend

May 2, 2015

Wedding Cake Man and WifeIn the garden, the first married couple was approached by the tempter. He sowed distrust of God and His teaching within their minds and hearts. He told them to decide for themselves what was good for them. So they ate the fruit that God had warned them about, and they tasted its consequences. Yet God did not abandon them.

The early Church was not unaware of contraceptive means and methods. She insisted that acts of marital union must not be cut off from an openness to life. Before 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed, but one by one their positions changed. By 1968, some were surprised that Pope Paul VI upheld the Church’s teaching in Humanae Vitae. The pope warned that contraception would lead to increased fornication, marital infidelity, disrespect toward women, and government coercion. The world did not listen.

What has come from our culture intentionally severing an openness to life from its lovemaking? It has led to millions of children having single mothers because fathers considered themselves under no obligation. It has led to the death of millions of “mistakes” before they could be born. Contraceptives promised to make families stronger, but broken marriages are widespread.

The contraceptive mentality has progressed so far that many no longer see physical complimentarily as essential to marriage at all. How will children be impacted if new forms of marriage become the law of the land? If marriage is merely an emotional bond between persons, why should it be limited to pairs? Marital union between one man and one wife is a gift from God for love and life. And what God has joined, we human beings separate to our own harm.

We see the Sexual Revolution becoming an open war against the Bride of Christ and her sons and daughters. As Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George, who passed away last month, once said, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” Trials await us. Yet, anchored in the truth, our hope always remains, for God will not abandon us.

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Three Temptation Tactics — 1st Sunday in Lent—Year A

March 8, 2014

Readings: Genesis 2:1-7, Matthew 4:1-11,

1. Observe the focus of the devil’s first temptation against Jesus:

He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”

The devil attacks Jesus where he perceives him to be the most vulnerable.  The tempter behaves as St. Ignatius of Loyola describes in his Rules for Discernment:

[The enemy of our souls] behaves as a chief bent on conquering and robbing what he desires: for, as a captain and chief of the army, pitching his camp, and looking at the forces or defenses of a stronghold, attacks it on the weakest side, in like manner the enemy of human nature, roaming about, looks in turn at all our virtues, theological, cardinal and moral; and where he finds us weakest and most in need for our eternal salvation, there he attacks us and aims at taking us.

Imagine your king has made you the captain in charge of your walled-city’s defenses. Having lived there your whole life and having witnessed many previous sieges against the city, you should know its vulnerabilities well. Before the next hostile siege (which will surely come) would it not be wise to petition the king to reinforce wherever the walls are weak and to send the troops he can provide, and for you yourself to be an especially vigilant watchmen at the place where the next attack is most likely to come?

So it is for us. We have a lifetime of experience to know where we are weakest. Therefore, we should pray to the Lord to provide his strengthening grace where we are weak and to send his angels to help defend us, and to be especially vigilant at where the next temptation is most likely to come.

2. Imagine if Eve had said, “What you say, Serpent, is very different from what the Lord told us. My husband and I will discuss this with him the next time he visits us.” That would have entirely derailed the serpent’s wicked plans. Again, St. Ignatius:

[The enemy of our souls] acts as a licentious lover in wanting to be secret and not revealed. For, as the licentious man who, speaking for an evil purpose, solicits a daughter of a good father or a wife of a good husband, wants his words and persuasions to be secret, and the contrary displeases him much, when the daughter reveals to her father or the wife to her husband his licentious words and depraved intention, because he easily gathers that he will not be able to succeed with the undertaking begun: in the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his wiles and persuasions to the just soul, he wants and desires that they be received and kept in secret; but when one reveals them to his good Confessor or to another spiritual person that knows his deceits and evil ends, it is very grievous to him, because he gathers, from his manifest deceits being discovered, that he will not be able to succeed with his wickedness begun.

Therefore, we should bring our secret, hidden temptations out of the festering darkness and into the disinfectant light with a spiritual person we can confide in.

3. Observe how Eve responds the serpent’s sinful suggestion:

The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it…

The more Eve entertained the serpent’s temptation the more inevitable her fall to sin became. Contrast this with Jesus’ unyielding responses to the devil, including:

“Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

As St. Ignatius says:

The enemy acts like [an unvirtuous] woman, in being weak against vigor and strong of will. Because, as it is the way of the woman when she is quarrelling with some man to lose heart, taking flight when the man shows her much courage: and on the contrary, if the man, losing heart, begins to fly, the wrath, revenge, and ferocity of the woman is very great, and so without bounds; in the same manner, it is the way of the enemy to weaken and lose heart, his temptations taking flight, when the person who is exercising himself in spiritual things opposes a bold front against the temptations of the enemy, doing diametrically the opposite. And on the contrary, if the person who is exercising himself commences to have fear and lose heart in suffering the temptations, there is no beast so wild on the face of the earth as the enemy of human nature in following out his damnable intention with so great malice.

Therefore, let us be firm and uncompromising against temptation from the start, giving it no opportunity grow on us. Instead, let us focus on doing that vice’s opposing virtue. In the face of such firmness, the temptation will depart.

The “In Brief” Catechism On “The Fall” (CCC #413-421)

September 9, 2013

“God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil’s envy that death entered the world.” (Wisdom 1:13, 2:24).

●  Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.

●  Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him.

●  By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

●  Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin.”

●  As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence.”)

●  “We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, “by propagation, not by imitation” and that it is. . . ‘proper to each.'” (Pope Paul VI)

●  The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (Romans 5:20).

● Christians believe that the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator’s love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one.

Eve Prefigures Mary

April 23, 2013

Tempted by a demon, Eve distrusted God, leading to our fall.
Greeted by an angel, Mary trusts God, leading to our salvation.

Eve was “the mother of all the living.” (Gen 3:20)
Mary’s offspring are “those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.” (Rev 12:17)

Because of her sin, Eve was covered with dirt. (Gen 3:19)
Because of her faith, Mary is clothed with the sun. (Rev 12:1)

Adam Prefigures Jesus

April 22, 2013

From the side of sleeping Adam, the woman Eve was fashioned.
From the blood and water flowing from his pierced side, Jesus’ Church is made.

Adam was tested in the Garden of Eden.
Jesus is tested in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Adam was naked without shame because of his innocence.
Jesus is stripped naked before dying his innocent death.

Adam may have failed to protect Eve and Eden because he feared the dragon-serpent’s violence.
Jesus is willing to suffer and die to save his Church and the world from the devil.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil revealed right and wrong to humanity.
Jesus’ cross shows us the greatest acts of love and evil in all of human history.

Teachings Hardly Heard — 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time—Year A

July 10, 2011

Like the rains that come down from heaven to water the earth, so we are called to live lives of self-gift, fruitfulness, and peace. Jesus comes down from heaven to give us life, to free us from futility and slavery to corruption. But sometimes when Jesus preaches, people hear without understanding and the evil one steals away the seed of truth He sows. For others, worldly fear and the attraction of riches prevent Jesus’ word from bearing fruit. But when His word lands on a person of openness and discernment, it bears a great fruitfulness for that person and others.

What are teachings that we as Catholics have tended to hear but not understand, to glace at but never really examine. What are the teachings of Jesus Christ’s Church which we hardly hear with our ears and toward which we are most tempted to close our eyes? These are the issues about which clergy are most hesitant to preach. Nevertheless, Jesus wills that we hear these things with our ears, understand them with our hearts, and be converted, that He may heal us. Please pray now, for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that your heart may receptive to His word.

One area about which we hardly hear with our ears is the harm in sensual or romantic fantasizes.

For men, this temptation tends to be toward indecent images. For women, it tends towards things like romance novels. With these things, a person looks at another, or imagines being with another, without ever touching them, but that does not make sensual or romantic fantasies o.k. or harmless. Recall how Jesus said, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

What is the harm in these things? Real love is only found and shared in the real world. Sensual or romantic escapism leaves behind those we are called to love. Compared to these fantasies, no real man or woman, no wife or husband, can possibly measure up. These fantasies can be addictive and they change the way we look at and relate to others in daily life.

If books, magazines, or movies tempt you in this way, throw them out. If the internet is the gateway to fantasy, place near the monitor a picture of someone you love. Commit yourself to loving the real people in your life, for that is the only place where real love is found.

Another topic about which we hardly hear is the harm of contraception.

In the beginning, upon creating the first man and woman, “God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply.’”  To unite husband and wife in love, and to bless the world with new human life, God designed the one-flesh marital embrace. God created and wills this embrace for life as well as love. Contraception, however, separates life from love, to the harm of both.  This must not be done for as Jesus said, in the context of marriage, “What God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

Forms of contraception are not new, they’re actually quite ancient. And from the start, the Catholic Church has recognized the wrongness of intentionally contracepted acts. In fact, as late as 1930, all Protestant groups agreed with Catholics on this principle (before they began to splinter off.) If the constant teaching of the Church of Jesus Christ is not persuasive enough, consider the fallout of contraception.

A contracepting couple closes off their marriage, their embrace, to life. Therefore, if they unexpectedly conceive a child, the little one is not felt to be a gift from God but a mistake. Whenever the surprise blessing of a child is considered to be a curse, love for that child is wounded, and even the unspeakable becomes tempting.

Contraception also threatens the love of couples. Pope Paul VI foresaw this danger, as he wrote in Humanae Vitae, “It is also to be feared that the man who grows accustomed to contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and psychological equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, and no longer as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.” Contraception separates life and love to the harm of both.

What then does the Church ask couples to do; to have as many children as they physically possibly can? No—For serious physical, psychological, economic, or social reasons, a couple may limit their marital embraces to her cycle’s naturally infertile periods. This is called Natural Family Planning (or NFP) and its methods, when used as directed, are as effective as the pill. But unlike the pill, Natural Family Planning has no unhealthy side-effects, is not an abortifacient, and conforms with God’s will. Practicing NFP is fruitful within marriage, whether God blesses a couple with more children or not.

A third subject about which we do not hear is the harm of fornication, or partaking of the marital embrace without the covenant of marriage.

Body language speaks, and the message of the body in the marital embrace is one of total self-gift. It says, “I joyfully give myself to you, all of me, completely and forever.” Fornication, however, makes this language of the body a lie. Unless a relationship has been sealed, before God and the world, in the bond of marriage, either one of the couple can back out at any time, and the couple knows this. It’s always in the back of their minds. For this reason, these couples tend to repress anger and complaints, avoid facing problems in their relationship, and put off the hard questions about their future together.

The embrace of man and woman naturally forges strong emotional bonds between the couple. In marriage, that’s a good thing, but before a marriage this clouds judgment and can plaster over serious flaws, serious cracks, in a bad relationship, at least for awhile. And what if their embrace conceives a child they don’t think they’re ready for? The woman, to preserve the relationship, may be tempted or coerced toward an unspeakable choice she’ll always regret.

Cohabitating couples can slouch into marriage; sometimes the man doesn’t really choose marriage so much as finally give in to others’ expectations. Then, after their wedding, nothing really seems different from before, and psychologically, the assumptions of their dating relationship carry into the marriage. Once their wedding day (which wasn’t as special for them as it should have been) drifts further away into the past, and marital difficulties inevitably arise, the old idea, the old escape hatch of breaking up and moving out, naturally returns, increasing the risk of divorce.

Fornication and cohabitation expose a person to emotional and spiritual pains, decrease one’s chances of marrying the right person, and increase one’s chances of divorcing in the future. No matter where you are in your dating relationships, Jesus Christ calls you to pre-marital chastity, for true love is found in purity.

A final topic about which we hardly hear is the harmfulness in acting out according to one’s same-sex attractions.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, “The number of men and women who have deep-seated [tendencies of this kind] is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

It is important for all of us to remember that a temptation, whatever it is, by itself, is not sin. Unless we go out looking for temptation, we are not responsible for the temptations which our genetics, upbringing, or environment send our way. What important is how we respond to our temptations, whether we give in to them and fall, or if stand strong with God like His saints before us.

As a Christian, and a fellow sinner, it would be wrong for me to look down on anyone. God loves everyone like He loves me. But at the same time, it would not be loving for me as a follower of Jesus Christ to say that acting out on one’s same-sex attractions is o.k. or harmless. The Old and New Testaments and the constant teachings of Christ’s Church are clear.

People of the same sex may be friends, even the dearest of friends with each other, but they’re not meant to be lovers. Man and wife were made each other. Their masculine and feminine differences compliment and complete each other and husbands and wives, as mothers and fathers. This is seen physically, in their marital embrace and in the conception of new life; but also psychologically and spiritually as well, in faithful marriages that last a lifetime. Persons of the same sex do not have this complimentarity and to ignore truth this leads to suffering, for such relationships are unhealthy for one’s body or soul. The tragically higher rates of promiscuity, transmittable diseases and cancers, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and attempted suicide, point to the brokenness of these lifestyles. (And one notes that these comparatively higher rates are found not only in our country, but also aboard, like in the Netherlands where such relationships are more common and much more socially accepted.) Jesus calls these brothers and sisters of His and ours to a different, better, happier way of life.

Regardless of our temptations, there is hope. Freedom from sin and joyful peace are possible for all of us, by the grace of Jesus Christ the support of one another. For example, Courage international is a Catholic organization which ministers to help those with same-sex attractions live chaste and happy lives. For more information about Courage groups in our area, or about how to enroll in Natural Family Planning classes see me after Mass or give me a call. If you are cohabitating and wish to return to chastity but you don’t know how you as a couple can practically achieve it, talk to me. God has solutions for those who seek His will. May the seeds of Jesus’ teachings find rich soil in your hearts and bear an abundant harvest for you and for others.

United Hearts — The Kristopher and KayLee Schnitzler Wedding

July 4, 2011

Kristopher and KayLee, when you chose this day, July 2nd, to be your wedding day you were probably not aware that you were choosing an extra special date. We unite your hearts today in holy matrimony amidst Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Yesterday was the Solemnity of His Sacred Heart and today is the Memorial of her Immaculate Heart. We celebrate these two feasts so closely on the calendar, one after the other, because no two human hearts are so intimately united in a perfect love. I present them to you as role models for your love

Mary and Jesus were mother and Son. They were never married in the way we think of marriage, so how can they be role models for your marriage? In Jesus and Mary, we see the perfect man with the perfect woman, we see the New Adam together with the New Eve, we see the King and Queen of Heaven and Earth. Jesus is the Bridegroom and Mary is the flawless image of the Church, which is His Bride. By seeing how Jesus loves her and how Mary loves Him we can learn much about how men and women are to serve and love each other.

How does Jesus love Mary? For one thing, he listens to her. He is receptive to her wants and needs. It was true at the wedding feast of Cana, He worked a miracle to provide wine at her request, and it is still true now in heaven, where she continues to ask for good things for us. A good husband must be receptive to his wife’s wants and needs. On the other hand, in what manner do you think Mary asks things of Jesus? Mary does not nag Jesus, asking Him in plaintive tones. She doesn’t sit next to Jesus in Heaven and sigh, “I see you still haven’t taken care of the garbage down there.” Instead, I imagine she says to Him, “It would make me very happy if you would do this for me.” A good wife must allow pleasing her to be her husband’s joy, not his burden.

A good husband must die to himself in many ways for his family, and a good wife must support him through his sacrifices. Look how Jesus goes to the cross and offers Himself for the good of Mary and her children. He suffers for her and lays down his life for her. And how does Mary support Him? She is right there, at the foot of the cross, faithful and consoling. God gave Eve to Adam as a partner, to support him in the garden. Mary continues to be a helpmate to Jesus in His work of harvesting the vineyard of this world. A good husband lays down his life for his wife and a good wife must support him through his sacrifices.

From the cross, Jesus make Mary the mother of all Christians. He desired Mary to be the mother of many children, and now, Mary’s motherhood is perhaps her greatest joy. A good husband and wife must be open to children. This is the will of God for you and He will bless you with joy for saying “Yes” to Him.

The worship of God and following His will was at the center of the relationship between Jesus and Mary. Every Sabbath they came to join the worship at the synagogue (the Church of their day) and every day they said prayers and remained close to God. So too, God must be at the center of every good marriage. You must come to Mass every Sunday and pray every day. Good husbands and wives share the same mission in life, to assist each other and their children in getting to Heaven.

From earth to Heaven, Jesus led Mary through life with love, and Mary faithfully followed Him. A good husband must have the integrity not to phone it in, but to lead, and a good wife must have the courage to follow that lead. Kristopher and KayLee, May the hearts of Jesus and Mary reign in your homes. May you model their virtues on earth. And may you draw each other, and your children, to share their heavenly joy forever.

Man and Wife — Thursday, 5th Week of Ordinary Time—Year I

February 10, 2011

God cast a deep sleep on the man and made for him the woman of his dreams. God fashioned her from his rib, perhaps because it was the bone closest to his heart. This reflects her dignity, for the man was made from mud while she was made from flesh. Woman is God’s final and ultimate creation.

The man beholds her with joy and names her, just as he had named every animal. This authorship is a sign of his authority, not to manipulate nor humiliate, but to lovingly lead and to care for what is entrusted to him. (The fact that “the man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame,” reveals that they completely trusted and respected each other.) As Christ loves His Church, so husbands should love their wives.

History Ryhmes — Solemnity of Christ the King—Year C

December 22, 2010

As Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Throughout the story of our salvation, we see history rhyming time and again.

In the beginning, when God created the first man He saw that it would be good for him to have a partner, a mate, a bride. So the Lord put the man into a deep sleep, removed his rib (perhaps because it was the bone closest to his heart,) and fashioned from it the first woman. When Adam awoke and saw, he happily exclaimed, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” In our first reading today, the people of Israel come to David and declare, “Here we are, your bone and your flesh. [Be our king!]” Here we see God’s people, Israel the bride, coming in joy to greet her husband, the king.

In days past, Saul had been Israel’s king, the one anointed by God’s prophet Samuel. But as time passed, King Saul became proud and loved himself to the contempt of God. After many transgressions, Samuel announced to Saul God’s judgment, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.” Saul rightly guessed that his replacement would be the young man, David, and he set about to have him killed. When David wisely fled for his life, Saul gathered a posse to hunt him down.

One night, David and his right-hand man, Abishai, snuck into the camp of Saul and his men. They came right up to where Saul laid, but the men “remained asleep, because the Lord had put them into a deep slumber.” Abishai begged in hushed tones, “Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not need a second thrust!” David replied, “the Lord forbid that I touch his anointed!” David would not thrusting a spear through the side of God’s anointed. Instead, David took the spear and water jug which lay at Saul’s head and went to a remote hilltop. From there, David cried out: “Why does my lord pursue his servant? What have I done? What evil do I plan? [I could have killed you!] Here is the king’s spear! Let an attendant come over to get it!” After that Saul acknowledged that he had betrayed David’s innocent blood and went away. Later, Saul committed suicide in a battle lost to the Philistines and God’s people came to David to ask him to be their king. David had refused to take the kingship by force, and God graciously bestowed the kingdom upon him.

About 1,000 years later, another Christ or Messiah came, the true Anointed One of God. Like David, Jesus also refused to slay his opponents and take His kingdom by force. This confused and disturbed many who believed in Him. Some speculate that Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of the Jewish leaders so that Jesus, His back pinned to the wall, would be forced to show his power. When Judas realized that he had betrayed innocent blood he did not seek out Jesus’ forgiveness, but despaired and killed himself.

As Jesus hung on His cross, making it the new tree of life, He was the New Adam, naked without shame. Jesus was surrounded there by all sorts of people. Some of them where disciples who had believed in Him, but they stood there fearful of their allegiance becoming known. Scribes, Pharisees, and religious rulers stood there who should have acknowledged Jesus as their Christ, but they disregarded His words. The Roman soldiers there were doing their duty, and perhaps didn’t feel much about Jesus one way or the other. However, one person there on Calvary was unafraid to speak out in truth and faith. He was a condemned man crucified beside Jesus. This man said, “We have been condemned justly… but this man has done nothing criminal. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” We call this man “the good thief,” and indeed he was, for in the last hours of his life he managed to steal Heaven.

What would we have done if we had been there? What sort of witness would we have given? It is impossible for us to go back to that time—history doesn’t repeat itself, yet our present does rhyme with the past. A senior at Columbus recently told me that he always tries to get other students to come to Mr. Kitzhaber’s youth events because, in his words, “they’re really fun!” But most students decline, replying “that’s a Jesus thing.” Are we ashamed or afraid to be identified as Christ’s followers? How many people today are like the scribes and Pharisees of the past by ignoring Christ teachings as they are taught through his bride, the Church? And how many Catholics fulfill their duty, by saying their prayers and going to Mass, but do it without much joy? What would we make of a bride who appeared indifferent and bored with her groom on their wedding day?

History doesn’t repeat itself, but salvation history does rhyme. In our day, will we resemble the timid disciples, Jesus’ religious opponents, the indifferent guards, or the faithful and courageous, good thief? Without fear, let acknowledge Jesus as our God. With obedience, let us heed the words our King speaks to us through His Church. With joy, let us approach Christ as our Bridegroom, like a bride on her wedding day.

The New Eve — December 8 — Immaculate Conception

December 8, 2010

In the beginning, when our first parents fell, they lost a great deal, but they were not deprived of hope, for God spoke in their hearing a prophesy to the deceiving serpent, the devil. God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” Who is this offspring, who strikes back at the devil? He is Jesus the Christ, the New Adam, the Son of God. And who is this woman, who is Satan’s enemy? She is Mary of Nazareth, the New Eve, the Immaculate Conception.

After their Fall, when Adam and Eve heard God approaching in the garden, they became afraid, they fled and hid, so God called out, “Where are you?” When God drew near to Mary, she also was afraid, but she did not hide or flee. She declared, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” And, because she did, her Holy Offspring could go on to say in His garden of testing, “Father… not my will but yours be done.”

The first man, Adam, called the first woman Eve, because she became the mother of all the living. Now, Mary is the New and Second Eve, for she is the mother of all the living, and she loves each one of us personally as her very own children.

She is the icon of the Church, and as she is, we are called to be: holy and without blemish before God, as the second reading from Ephesians says. But how can we do this? Unlike Mary, at times we have been allies of Satan by our sins. To cleanse us, God gives us the sacrament of reconciliation, and to strengthen us He gives us the fruit from the new tree of life; that tree is the cross, and its fruit is the Eucharistic Christ.

If it has been a long time since you have been to confession, come that you may be purified as pure as Mary. And if you receive our Lord in the Eucharist tonight, consider that the Son of God Incarnate has come to dwell in you, just as truly as He dwelt in Mary.

Man’s Mission — Friday, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time—Year II

January 29, 2010

In the beginning, the Lord God settled the man in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. Then the Lord made the man a partner suitable for himself. Each day had seen God make greater and greater creations and on this last day, God makes His final, ultimate creation: woman.

The man beholds her with joy. He authors her name, which points to his authority, yet this authority is not meant for dominance but service, like the authority exercised by Christ. The man is meant to work to nuture and guard the garden and to nurture and guard his wife.

Before the Fall, all work was free from toil. Work carried with it no pains, no exhaustion, no boredom or strain—only feelings of satisfaction, creative accomplishment, and pleasure like those which we still sometimes enjoy from doing a job well done.

The man was placed in the garden with an important job to do, to nurture and protect, but he neglected his duty, and this led to the Fall. For where was he when the cunning serpent was out of place and out of line enticing his wife towards death? Maybe he was off sleeping on the job, taking an afternoon nap somewhere, like David in the first reading:

‘At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign, David, however, remained in Jerusalem. One evening David rose from his siesta and strolled about on the roof of the palace (for he had nothing else to do) and from the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.’

David forgets about his kingly work and duty, to fight the good fight, and from this comes his fall. He exploits the power of his authority and sins against a woman he should to honor and defend.

Our lives are meant to more than just our work, but faithfulness to some form of work before God is meant to be a part of our lives. Our work helps us to be good and to do good for others. Maybe you’re retired now, but if you’re still here on earth then the Lord must still have some important work for you.

What work has the Lord entrusted to you? Be as faithful to it as you ought so that Christ, the new Adam, may grow His virtues in you and harvest good works in you.