“Where are you?” This is one of the most important questions we all must answer to in our lives. And it is made important because it is a question asked not just of Adam, but of us, and we must give an answer to God when he asks it of us. Let us consider two things here: the question of “hiding,” and the idea of being lost.
We all know the story. Adam and Eve had bitten into the fruit of temptation, the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. They had lost their Original Innocence in committing that Original Sin. Now, they saw each other in ways that they had never noticed before, and they became aware of their nakedness and, burning with shame, they felt the need to cover themselves up. They had fallen and become divided from one another—and from God.
When they heard the Lord coming into the Garden “at the breezy time of day,” they hid. Hiding is a function of guilt. Before they had fallen they knew nothing of guilt. But guilt had suddenly come to them; their consciences burned and they, like little children, wanted to hide from their father. We hide because we know that we are wrong, that we must now pay a price for our decisions and actions. But guilts undealt with turn into real problems. We often try to hide our guilts by lying, or by shunting the guilt off onto somebody else, just as Adam and Eve did. Adam says, essentially, “It wasn’t my fault. She made me do it.” Eve does the same thing saying, “The serpent made me do it.” We all do this kind of thing, don’t we. Deep down we know the guilt of our sinful decisions, and we also know that we deserve the painful consequences of those decisions. We often choose the momentary, guilty pleasure, but we don’t want to pay the consequences. So we hide. We lie. We point the finger at someone, or something else in a desperate attempt to avoid the consequence. We hear the Lord entering the Garden of our soul and we want to hide. We try to cover our guilt. But we cannot get away with it standing before the perfect innocence and goodness of the Lord.
When we let our sinful desires control us, we become lost, like Dante’s pilgrim, in deep and dark woods. If we do not deal with our guilts, if we continue to deny them, to hide from them, and avoid their painful, but life-saving consequences, we are in danger of being lost forever. We must find the courage to turn back to the light, to admit our guilts, and accept their just punishments. It is painful, of this there is no doubt. But that is the crucible that we must endure in order to be worthy of regaining our Original Innocence. Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to re-enter the Garden of his heavenly kingdom. He died on the cross for all of those sins that had been committed and that will continue to be committed to the Last Day. It is we who must come out from our hiding. It is we who are lost when we sin, and it is we who must be found again in the purifying fire of his mercy.
Lord, how many times have we gone astray only to hear you coming into the Garden of our souls at the at the “breezy time of the day”? Help us to come out of our hiding to you in sorrow and repentance. Help us trust in your love enough to no longer choose paths that lead us away from you. In your mercy are we brought back into the light. In your unconditional love we find our salvation. We pray in the power of your name, Jesus. Amen!
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