The One Thing Is Three

With humor and ease, Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, def... Read more

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From Sons to Slaves

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Last time, we learned how sanctifying grace means God dwelling within us. This month, we'll talk about how humanity lost that indwelling by original sin.

When God first created mankind, He breathed into us His own breath, His own Spirit, His own life (see Gen 2:7). And that had consequences.

From the beginning, Adam and Eve had sanctifying grace — the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity. Why? God had a special destiny in mind for humanity.

God made us in His "image and likeness" (Gen 5:1). What does that mean? "Image and likeness" is a Scriptural way to refer to the resemblance between parents and their children. Adam's son Seth was "in his likeness, after his image," just as Adam and Eve had been in God's likeness, after His image (Gn 5:1-3). We were supposed to be sons and daughters of God from the beginning, possessing sanctifying grace from the moment of our conception and transmitting God's indwelling presence from parent to child in an unbroken line. So what happened?

Adam was charged by God to tend and keep the Garden of Eden — that is, to be a gardener and a protector. He was also commanded not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When the serpent came and spoke to Eve, Adam stood silent and still. He didn't defend his wife or the garden against the serpent. Then, when his wife ate the forbidden fruit, he ate it as well — a comprehensive failure by Adam (see Gen 3).

Must all this be taken literally? The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:

The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms ... a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents (390).

So we are to believe that we had first parents and the whole of human history has been marked by the results of their original sin.

... [T]hrough one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned. ... But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come (Rom 5:12, 14).

But Adam and Eve didn't die at the end of the story in Genesis. How did they die? Tradition tells us that their death in the garden was spiritual, followed years later by a physical death from old age. They lost sanctifying grace. They lost the divine indwelling of the Blessed Trinity. They lost eternal life for themselves and their descendants — until a very special descendant of theirs would come to redeem the world.

For more, see Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC's The 'One Thing' Is Three (Product Code: TH-ONE), pages 39-51. To order, visit shopmercy.org or call 1-800-462-7426.

Spirituality of the Immaculate Heart
Mary Pondered in Her Heart
The Heart of The Matter
Temples of the Holy Spirit
Sanctifying Grace
From Sons to Slaves
Baptism Saves You
Confession Resurrects You
Eucharist Nourishes You
Confirmation Ignites You
Through Darkness Into Light
Mary, Mother of Christians
Salt. Light. Hope.

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