In today’s first reading, despite the sin of Adam and Eve, even in the face of its consequences, life goes on. Life will be hard, but God is ever present. And it all started with the tree of good and evil. But here at the end of Genesis 3 the tree of life (Gen 2:16-17) assumes importance. It has not yet functioned as an integral part of the story, but now, because of sin, humanity is denied access to this tree and is expelled from the garden. Humanity is not able to seize the birthright of immortality offered by God. Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden, cherubim stationed at the gate as guardians of the tree of life to prevent humanity from re-entering the garden. Continue reading
In today’s first reading, we continue the narrative from the Book of Genesis, Chapter 3 – the infamous encounter of Adam and Eve with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. We know the shape of the exchange that concludes: “But the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.’” (Gen 3:4-5) And so, Adam and Eve partake of the fruit of the tree of good and evil – and they did not die… not immediately anyway. But evicted from the Garden, in the end they surely died.
Today is the Feast of St. Bonaventure the great Franciscan saint, theologian and provincial minister of the Order in the mid-13th century. There are a special set of feast day readings for the Saint. I was particularly taken by the feast day’s first reading that describes a deep abiding intercessory prayer by St. Paul for the community of Ephesus: Continue reading
Franciscans take three vows: poverty, chastity, and obedience. It is sometimes said that Obedience is the one the creeps up on you. When one spends a lifetime working to become an individuated person with a good sense of self and one’s worth, setting aside “self will” does not come naturally. Francis understood the balance of self will, the will of the people one serves, the will of the community to which one professes, and, above all, the will of God we seek to fulfill. Here in Admonition 2 he addresses the dark side of self will – something capable of transforming the knowledge of good into the knowledge of evil through self exaltation.
Admonition 2: The Evil of Self Will
1 The Lord said to Adam: Eat of every tree; you may not eat, however, of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
2 He was able to eat of every tree of paradise, because he did not sin as long as he did not go against obedience. 3 For that person eats of the tree of the knowledge of good who makes his will his own and, in this way, exalts himself over the good things the Lord says and does in him. 4 And so, through the suggestion of the devil and the transgression of the command, it became the apple of the knowledge of evil. 5 Therefore it is fitting that he suffer punishment.