Friday, May 20, 2005

She gave me the fruit, and I ate it

Most Christians should have been taught that Jesus is the new Adam who brought life for all through his obedience, and reversed the effects of the first Adam, who brought death to all his decendents by his disobedience.

Well, a number of years ago I learned about how the Blessed Virgin Mary is the new Eve who reversed the effects of disobedience by her obedience. And at that time a play on words in Latin was brought to my attention. Eve is known as Eva in Latin, and Mary is known as Ave, since she was greeted by the angel as "Hail, full of grace". Notice that "Ave" is the reverse of "Eva", so it is easy to remember. I was amazed by this and thought it was so neat.

Now today, as I was praying the Our Father, I imagined myself before Him. And I brought to mind all of human history, from the time of Adam and Eve, since God created us all. And as I found myself having to explain or account for my presence at some level, I couldn't help but think of Adam's excuse to God: "she gave me the fruit, and I ate it". Imagine that: here I am a sinner coming before God the Father who I sinned against (and I only really became conscious of such sin as I presented myself), and fending off the sense of repulsion by trying to account and/or explain why I have come before Almighty God, and all I could think of was someone else's excuse, which I knew I shouldn't use.

But I was startled at that moment with the realization that I could safely use the same words of that age-old excuse with a totally new meaning! For I was also contrasting the merits of Jesus in atonement for my sins and reflecting on the fact that I have received the fruits of these merits (in the graces I have received) by the hands of Mary. And so I found myself in wonder as I repeated those words: "she gave me the fruit, and I ate it". Yes, Mary gave me the fruit from the tree of life, the crucified Saviour who suffered and died with love for us all, and I ate of it and was strengthened with confidence to be present before God. Yes, the charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary gave this starving soul to eat, and I tasted the love of God. It was so consoling to experience the reversal of meaning in that statement, from culpability to justifiability. Truly, Mary's obedience reverses the effects of Eve's disobedience in an amazingly parallel manner!

Adam ate fruit from Eve and was banished. I ate fruit from Mary, and was admitted! Adam, why did you sin? "Because she gave me to eat." And I, why did I repent? "Because she gave me to eat." An excuse turned into praise before my very consciousness! Truly, the Lord is wonderful. "He does all things well."


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