Garden of Eden - Lucas Cranach der Altier
The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.
Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and he placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The LORD God then took the man
and settled him in the garden of Eden,
to cultivate and care for it.
The LORD God gave man this order:
“You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden
except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
From that tree you shall not eat; . . . (Gen 2: 7-8; 15-17
"The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray." That's an often quoted line from the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Essentially it tells us that no matter how well we plan, how meticulous we are to detail, we must nonetheless expect the unexpected. I have seen a multitude of nervous brides during rehearsal and on their wedding day who check, double check, and recheck all the details of their plan (or is that the bride's mother?) in hopes that nothing goes wrong. Well, something inevitably does but as I've told many a bride, "You will be the only one who knows so don't worry. Relax and enjoy the day."
As we have been hearing from the Book of Genesis this week in our daily readings for Mass, today we are taken to the Garden of Eden. That symbol of God's perfection, his divine meticulous attention to beauty, order, balance, harmony - all in an idyllic setting which has been depicted in art, poetry, song, and film. And in that state of perfection, God places humanity. The implication is clearly that all of this lush environment is for us to enjoy and to thrive in. Yet, despite the divine creator's hopeful plan, the unexpected did happen. You know the rest of the story.
When we behave like Adam and Eve's children and find ourselves in quite a mess at times, we know that it was not in the plan of God that sin should appear. It is that original act of disobedience, the desire to do my own will, to be "like God," that Genesis reminds us is at the root of all sin. In other words - it's pride folks.
Yet, as "naughty" as we children might be at times we have a divine parent who never gives up on us. Spend some time in gratitude for God's endless mercy and limitless divine forgiveness. Such a God is not license for perpetual misbehavior but a check and balance in order to bring us closer to God's original desire of what he intended us to be - holy in his sight.