After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:8-11)
I like the question, “Who told you that you were naked?” Prior to this consciousness Adam and Eve were happily running around naked, like every other creature in the wild.
And what was the awareness? That their nakedness was “dirty”? Unlikely.
Animals do not perceive nakedness or try to protect their genitalia, but suddenly Adam and Eve did. Evolution? Fruit? Whatever. What matters is that suddenly they knew more than they had known, and what they knew – what they suddenly understood – was that they were vulnerable before God. They were answerable to something beyond themselves.
The first sin was in yielding to the temptation to pursue an illusion (in this case, of being God’s equal) and it is still our foremost sin. We are always chasing illusions, whether they are wrought by Madison Avenue or Hollywood or Wall Street, or they arise from the shadows within our own souls.
But if yielding to a lie was the first sin, was it enough to cause the fall? Are we supposed to believe that God was so insecure he couldn’t deal with his stupid creatures wanting to be like their Father?
Perhaps the fall — the real wrenching of Earth from Heaven — came not from humanity’s thoughtless, rather childlike ambition, but from our hiding; our inability to believe we could trust God with our vulnerability. The humans covered themselves, both physically and metaphorically, rather than staying naked and taking responsibility for their actions in trust of God’s mercy.
This is the true taint and effect of Original Sin: God has been trying to get us to trust Him, to reveal ourselves to Him and to be vulnerable (i.e. open) to Him ever since.
The need to be vulnerable and open to God is part and parcel of having a real relationship with Him, just as it is the necessary component in human relationships.
So God becomes Incarnate. Christ has opened God to us, through Himself.
In this season, we sing, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” O come, God-With-Us.
But God has a song of his own, too. Through Christ he has opened himself, and God’s song is this:
“O come, return to me my own beloved ones. Come … stop making excuses, stop hiding yourselves, stop blaming others, stop throwing yourself away, stop running from my love. Turn and face me. Ephphatha! Be opened, and let me love you …”
It is the sweetest song in the world.
O Lord, in this Advent help me to better understand the song of the Bridegroom, Christ, so that I might be opened to this love, and to the myriad graces he bestows. Help me to trust my vulnerabilities to this spousal love you offer, that I may gain greatly of your love, and — like Mary, your Immaculate Conception, and with all the angels and saints — work to bring the fruit of heaven, which is Mercy and Love, into this poor, broken world. Amen.
Aleteia is bringing you reflections — Advent Light — for each day of this 2017 liturgical season. Follow the series here.