As we enter the second week of Great Lent, I would like to reflect on a theme, which recurs throughout the hymns of the Church during this period. Repeatedly, we are reminded of the image of the fallen Adam seated outside the gates of Paradise lamenting his state.
Most strikingly this image is brought to our attention during the first and fifth week of the Great Fast with the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. This beautiful piece of poetry is more than words and chant. The difficulty that we experience is that the theology and metaphors are lovely, but how do we relate to them in this day and age. The theme of repentance has been developed from the pre-lenten Sundays until this time in Lent, so let’s leave that one aside. I would like to think about an aspect of the illustration of Adam sitting in front of the gates pondering his circumstance. The idea that we must sit back and consider “where we are” is one painfully close to home. When I think about the things that must have been going through Adam’s mind, one possibility keeps bothering me more than any other. It occurs to me that he might very well be thinking about being separated from a friend, a real friend, one who genuinely cared for him. Was Adam aware of his new condition? How aware was he of the emptiness in his heart and did he long to have God back in his life?
During these difficult days, people out of work (me included), the economy in a tailspin, major companies in trouble and the markets very unpredictable, the sense of uncertainty can be overwhelming. What must Adam have been thinking? Talk about an uncertain future! Did he ask the same questions we all have asked? Where do I go from here? My world has changed, it will never again be the same, – can I cope? Where has God gone? The reality is that even after Adam had disobeyed God’s law; God came looking for him. The plan of salvation was already in process. God loved so much He already had humanity’s restoration willed through the grace of the mystery of the incarnation of the Son through the Holy Spirit, for our sake. As Christians, we live in the light of Christ’s Resurrection. Our fallen nature has been lifted out of Hades, just as our ancestral parents were seized by the hand of Christ and rescued from darkness. When we think that our life is so dark know that Christ our God is there in the darkness waiting to lift us up by the hand.
Our prayer should be: “O my God, here is my hand!”