Dear “Quidquid” readers,
I hope that this Advent season has been one of spiritual growth and grace. Too often we get bogged down in the preparations for Christmas, the shopping and tree hunting, the decorating and the baking, that we forget the most important reason for this season: to prepare for Christmas. I mean, of course, Christmas within our hearts, preparing our lives for the coming of Christ, which is what we celebrate with this great feast.
How blessed we are, that our Christ has come!
It has been a long, busy while since I posted anything here, and that is gravely unfortunate. I have been swamped, as always seems to be the case. Here’s a rundown of what’s been up.
Most excitingly, Jacob Thomas was born on November 10. He’s quite the cutie, with is big ol’ eyes and squishy face.
See? So he’s been taking up a lot of time.
I have been writing, of course, just. . . not here. I had articles published on Catholic Exchange (one on Pope St. Nicholas the Great, written in the midst of taking care of the newborn and my wife; the other on some books to read for Advent and Christmas). More excitedly, I had my first article published on Those Catholic Men. It is about the Inquisition, answering some objections to it. That was a big hit, and even appeared for a couple days on the homepage of Newadvent.org. I’m set up to write an article for them every month, so keep an eye out for that.
Up for a little spiritual reflection? Ok, here ya go.
Today is the feast of Sts. Adam and Eve. Yes, that Adam and that Eve, our first parents, who through their sin brought sin to the rest of the human race. They lost us the preternatural gifts. They lost us (for a time) the gift of supernatural grace. They wounded our human nature.
So why are they saints?
Remember the key thing about being a saint. It isn’t that they were perfect; it’s that they must have, at some point in their 900+ years of life, regretted their actions. I don’t mean regretted in a mere I-shouldn’t-do-that way. I mean deep, painful contrition. What Scripture can I point to as evidence? There isn’t much about Adam and Eve in the Bible after the Fall, and the world gets pretty terrible soon afterwards. However, we do have that tragic story of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve’s first two sons. Cain killed Abel out of jealousy. God favored Abel’s sacrifice to his older brother’s because Abel gave from his heart. We must ask, then, where did Abel learn to respect God so well? Since the first instruction in the Faith happens in the family, and parents are the primary teachers of children, we can point to Abel’s parents, Adam and Eve, as the source for his faith in God.
Something must have changed in the hearts of Adam and Eve. They must have felt contrition and repentance. Imagine knowing you did something wrong, and that you needed forgiveness for your sins. But there is no confession. You have no baptism or access to the gift of sanctifying grace. Sin is a burden for us when we can go to confession whenever we want (to an extent, of course, since priests have schedules, as do we); imagine having to bear a sin for centuries without sacrificial confession. Not too pleasant, is it.
One of the early Church Fathers (I can’t remember which) made a great allusion to Adam’s repentance. He wrote that when Christ came to the Limbo of the Just, so Hell, the first soul to meet Him was Adam, who ran to meet his Lord first, he who sinned first, because he remembered the sound of God’s feet walking in the Garden.
Adam and Eve are saints for the same reason anyone is a saint: turning away from the darkness towards eternal light in Christ.
In Christ we have a new creation, with Him as our New Adam. It is supremely fitting that Adam and Eve have their feast day on Christmas Eve. Their death in sin mars the first Creation; the death of Christ forms the foundation of the new Creation. The birth of Christ, then, begins the work of our salvation.
May we have the love of God that brought Adam and Eve to repentance this Christmas. May we always have hearts open to the love flowing from the Sacred Heart of Christ.
Matthew B. Rose