Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
February 10, 2008
What Was the Real Original Sin?
Every year the Catholic Church receives both babies and adults through the sacrament of Baptism. Although the theology behind Baptism has been revised to help us better understand the significance of the sacrament, there is still considerable confusion lurking in the minds of many Catholics. Too many Catholics still see the principle reason for Baptism as erasing the stain of Original Sin. The problem with that is that we do not really understand the meaning of Original Sin.
The season of Lent is a wonderful time to reflect on this topic. The church helps us out with this by reminding us of the story of our salvation through the Old Testament readings during the season of Lent. The story of Adam and Eve is front and center. Sadly, we have, for too long, taken the story at face value, i.e. a minor offense of eating an apple and then pushing the blame on someone else. For us, all the blame lands on Adam and Eve and all we have to do is bring our babies to Baptism and the sin is erased. There is, of course, a much deeper and much more significant meaning for our lives.
So, what exactly did happen in that Garden? God began the process by creating Adam which means “the human” and then he placed him in the garden of Eden. The meaning of Eden is delight. So we see humanity being given life and delight. The notion of the true of good and evil is directly related to the most precious gift God has given us after life, i.e., Free Will or the Freedom to choose. God gave his preference of course. He asked them not to do such a thing. When Adam and Eve chose to eat of the fruit they chose to turn away from God. That was much more than simply taking a bite of an apple.
The sad part about this “original” turning away is that it is repeated over and over by all human beings. The first humans did it and their offsprings continued in this pattern. Humanity has been turning away from God for thousands of years. The sins have multiplied and the world has only become more and more “ugly” to live in. This original sin was not something we inherited without choice. Like Adam and Eve, we all have free choice. We all have the choice to turn away from God or to remain faithful to him in our daily lives. What we may have inherited is the example of our parents who teach us the way of good and evil. However, it is not fair to say that it is all the fault of Adam and Eve.
When Jesus came among us he became the new Adam. He taught us a different path. He specifically taught us how to choose the good as opposed to the bad in life. When we are Baptized we choose to take on the way of Jesus and turn away from the way of Adam. We continue to have free will. The difference is that Jesus taught us the Way to God. Adam taught us how to turn away.
Lent is a time to spend in prayer in order to “clean up our act”. Which Way have we been living this past year? Have we strayed from the Way of Jesus, allowing ourselves to revert to the old notion of sin like Adam? Was that apple really worth it? What are our apples?
Let’s take some time to reflect on that this lenten season.
Lorette P. Nault