- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

February 10, 2017

Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO

5th Saturday in Ordinary Time

The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.

As long as the woman trusted God, the tree did not appear good for food, or pleasing to the eyes and desirable for gaining wisdom. In fact until then the command of God was good for food, pleasing to the eyes of the mind and very desirable for gaining wisdom.

It is only after the woman enters into dialogue with the serpent and the serpent sows the seeds of suspicion that the tree now appears good to her and God appears as the one who wants to suppress and dominate her.

We are poor banished children of Eve and because we inherit her suspicion vis a vis God, God’s commands will always appear and feel at first blush as cold, dehumanizing and heartless and even pointless. The things prohibited by His commands will have an air of excitement and promise about them even as they lead us on the paths of destruction and despair.

After this initial breach, following God’s call and keeping His commands will always feel initially like the desert. The other side of the fence will call out to us – warm and enticing and seductive. This manner of perceiving things with our feelings and senses is in our DNA.

The way back is trusting God in the desert even if it feels like death warmed over till the truth loses its coldness and is revealed as life-giving.  As someone said wisely, we usually have to feed on things divine for years before God gives us taste for our food. And this means we must cling to the tiny shred of trust in God in the desert and ignore the seductive voice of the serpents siren call.

Our model is the Virgin who opened her heart in total surrender in the face of an immense and fearful mystery. She who repaired that breach of trust with ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word’