The serpent’s promises had stifled, in Eve’s heart, every sentiment of love for the God that had created her and loaded her with blessings: she ambitions to be God like Him! Her faith, too, is wavering; she is not sure that God may not have deceived her, by threatening her with death should she disobey His command. Flushed by pride, she looks up to the forbidden fruit; it seems good to eat, and it is fair to her eyes. (Genesis 3:6) So that her senses too conspire against God, and against her own happiness. The sin is already committed in her heart; it needs but a formal act to make it complete. She cares for nothing but self; God is no more heeded than if He did not exist. She stretches forth her daring hand; she plucks the fruit; she puts it to her mouth, and eats!
God had said that if she broke His commandment she should die; she has eaten, she has sinned, and yet she lives as before! He pride exults at this triumph, and, convinced that she is too strong for God’s anger to reach her, she resolves on making Adam a partner in her victory. Boldly she hands him the fruit, which she herself has eaten without any evil coming to her. Whether he was emboldened by the impunity of his wife’s sin, or from a feeling of blind affection, wished to share the lot of her who was the “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones,” our first father also forgets all he owes to his Creator, and, as though there had never been aught of love between him and his God, he basely does as Eve suggests: he eats of the fruit, and by that act ruins himself and all his posterity.
No sooner have they broken the tie which united them with God, than they sink into themselves. As long as God dwells in the creature whom he has raised to the supernatural state, his being is complete; but let that creature drive his God away from himself by sin, and he finds himself in a state worse than nothing—the state of evil. That soul which, a moment before, was so beautiful and pure, is a hideous wreck. Thus it is with our first parents: they stand alone; creatures without God; and an intolerable shame seizes them. They thought to become gods, they aspired at infinite being; see them now: sinners, the prey of concupiscence. Hitherto, their innocence was their all-sufficient garb; the world was obedient to them; they knew not how to blush, and there was nothing to make them fear; but now, they tremble at their nakedness, and must needs seek a place wherein to hide!
The same self-love that had worked their ruin had made them forget the greatness and goodness of God, and despise His commandment. Now that they have committed the great sin, the same blindness prevents them from even thinking of confessing it, or asking the forgiveness of the Master they have offended. A sullen fear possesses them. They can think of nothing but how and where to hide!
Unhappy me! thou hadst laden me, O Lord, with honors in Eden. But alas! I was led into sin; I became a victim to the envy of the devil; I have been driven from thy face.
O ye choirs of angels! ye that give paradise such beauty, and to its flowers their loveliness; weep over me the dupe of wretched craft, now far from your God.
O fair garden land! O ye trees, charm of paradise, planted by God’s own hand, let your leaves be turned into eyes, and shed your tears over me, for I am a naked king, dethroned of God’s glory.
(O holy Mother! thou that didst throw open to the faithful those gates of heaven that had been shut by Adam’s disobedience, open now to me the gates of God’s mercy.)
The enemy, the hater of mankind, envied me my blissful home in Eden; under the form of a serpent he supplanted me, and robbed me of eternal glory.
My soul weeps and is racked, and I fain would give floods of tears to mine eyes, when I see and understand the nakedness that has come to me by my transgression.
The hand of God formed me out of the earth; but I have miserably brought on myself the sentence: I must return into the earth. Who is there that will not weep over me, that have lost my God, and have given up Eden for hell?
(Sinless Mother of God! the faithful throughout the world proclaim thee to be the mystic throne of glory. I, then, that am fallen, beseech thee, spotless Virgin! prepare me for a throne in heaven!)
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)