Aim: To realise the universal reality of sin and evil, particularly in the heart of men and women.
The fall (Gen 3:1-15): Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die’”. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die;for God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself”. He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate”. Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate”. The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animalsand among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eatall the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman,and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head,and you will strike his heel”.
“Where are you?”: We are called to realise the inner and outer disorientation that sin causes in us. It may help us to ask good questions such as, “What is wrong with me? What’s in me that’s out of sync with reality, with the truth, with my fellowmen and women?”
“You will not die!”: We are called to recognize our tendency to lie to ourselves, to reinterpret facts to our selfish advantages and to alienate ourselves from what is most obvious in life.
“She also gave some to her husband”: Often, when we do something evil, we stifle the voice of guilt by promoting our behaviour as a kind of conventional living.
“The eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked”: Our mind may deny the truth, but our body never lies, especially through its sensations and emotions.
“They sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. They heard the sound of the Lord God … and the man and his wife hid themselves …”: We hear the “sound” or voice of our conscience, but we keep “hiding” ourselves behind shields, masks, images, compensations, projections, etc.
“But the Lord God called and said: ‘Have you eaten the fruit?’”: We are to be grateful that our inner conscience never gives up on us and keeps calling up our attention.
“The man said, ‘The woman gave me the fruit’. The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me’”: Two most common defence mechanisms, in our journey of conversion, are self-justification and the tendency to blame others for our wrongdoing.
“He will strike your head …”: In God’s eyes, humanity is not condemned to sinfulness, but called to bring to fruition the redeeming power inherent to the “woman’s offspring”.
Personal Reflection and Sharing
In my perception, what are the manifestations of evil that people tend to deny most?
As for my personal story, how does evil sit in my deepest self and what names do I give to the habitual “fig leaves” or self-defences covering the full truth about me?