Silouan the Athonite: Adam wept: “what hinders Him from dwelling in me?” Sunday, Mar 24 2013 

Silouan the AthoniteAdam knew great grief when he was banished from paradise, but when he saw his son Abel slain by Cain his brother, Adam’s grief was even heavier. His soul was heavy, and he lamented and thought:

Peoples and nations will descend from me, and multiply, and suffering will be their lot, and they will live in enmity and seek to slay one another.

And his sorrow stretched wide as the sea, and only the soul that has come to know the Lord and the magnitude of His love for us can understand.

I, too, have lost grace and call with Adam:

Be merciful unto me, O Lord! Bestow on me the spirit of humility and love.

 

O love of the Lord! He who has known Thee seeks Thee, tireless, day and night, crying with a loud voice:

I pine for Thee, O Lord, and seek Thee in tears.
How should I not seek Thee?
Thou didst give me to know Thee by the Holy Spirit,
And in her knowing of God my soul is drawn to seek Thee in tears.

 

Adam wept:

The desert cannot pleasure me; nor the high mountains, nor meadow nor forest, nor the singing of birds.
I have no pleasure in any thing.
My soul sorrows with a great sorrow:
I have grieved God.
And were the Lord to set me down in paradise again,
There, too, would I sorrow and weep – ‘O why did I grieve my beloved God?’

 

The soul of Adam fell sick when he was exiled from paradise, and many were the tears he shed in his distress. Likewise every soul that has known the Lord yearns for Him, and cries:

Where art Thou, O Lord? Where art Thou, my Light?
Why hast Thou hidden Thy face from me?
Long is it since my soul beheld Thee,
And she wearies after Thee and seeks Thee in tears.
Where is my Lord?
Why is it that my soul sees Him not?
What hinders Him from dwelling in me?
This hinders Him: Christ-like humility and love for my enemies art not in me.
God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe.

 

Adam walked the earth, weeping from his heart’s manifold ills, while the thoughts of his mind were on God; and when his body grew faint, and he could no longer shed tears, still his spirit burned with longing for God, for he could not forget paradise and the beauty thereof; but even more was it the power of His love which caused the soul of Adam to reach out towards God.

Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938; Eastern Orthodox): Adam’s Lament (extract), from St. Silouan the Athonite, by Archimandrite Sophrony @ Mystagogy.

Symeon the New Theologian: God’s compassion and Adam’s foolishness Saturday, Mar 23 2013 

SYMEON-icon“And God said to Adam [after he disobeyed], Adam where are you?” (Gen. 3:9).

Why did the omnipotent Creator ask this? Certainly desiring to help him understand his mistake and lead him to repentance.

“Adam, where are you?” It is as if He was saying: Examine yourself; take a look at your nakedness! Consider the cloak and the glory of which you have been deprived.

“Adam, where are you?” It is as if He was pleading with him and urging: Please, come to your senses, you poor man. Please, come out of your hiding spot. Do you think you can hide from Me?

Say, “I have sinned!” Unfortunately, Adam said no such thing. Instead, he said, “I heard You walking in Paradise, and I realized that I am naked and I hid.”

How did God reply? “Who told you that you are naked? Did you perhaps eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Do you see, beloved reader, God’s patience? When He asked, “Adam, where are you?” Adam did not confess his sin straightaway, but said, “I heard Your voice Lord, and I realized that I am naked and I hid.”

Even with such a dishonest response, God did not become mad, He did not immediately and definitively turn away from him; on the contrary, He gave him a second chance to admit his fault.

“Who told you that you are naked? Did you perhaps eat from the only tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Take note of the depth of God’s wisdom and words. “Why are you announcing your nakedness, but concealing your sin?”

He says to Adam. “Do you think that I am able to see only your body but unable to see your heart and thoughts as well?”

Adam…was hoping that God would remain unaware of his sin, and he thought…:

“If I say that I am naked, since God is unaware, He will ask me why I am naked? Then I will tell him, ‘I have no idea.’ Thus, I will elude Him and I will enjoy my original garment once again. Even if He doesn’t give me another garment, at least He will not expel me; at least He will not exile me!”

[…] God, however, did not want him to become any more blameworthy, so He asked, “How did you realize that you are naked. Did you perhaps eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

It is as if he was saying: Do you really believe that you can hide from Me? Do you think I am unaware of what you did? You don’t want to say, “I have sinned”?

You poor man! Say, “Yes, Lord. Indeed I have transgressed Your commandment…. Have mercy on me!”

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD); fuller version @ Discerning Thoughts and St Nektarios Monastery.

Silouan the Athonite: Adam pined on earth, and wept bitterly, and was heartsick for God Wednesday, Mar 20 2013 

Silouan the AthoniteAdam, father of all mankind, in paradise knew the sweetness of the love of God; and so when for his sin he was driven forth from the garden of Eden, and was widowed of the love of God, he suffered grievously and lamented with a great moan.

And the whole desert rang with his lamentations, for his soul was racked as he thought, ’I have distressed my beloved God’.

He sorrowed less after paradise and the beauty thereof; for he sorrowed that he was bereft of the love of God, which insatiably, at every instant, draws the soul to Him.

In the same way the soul which has known God through the Holy Spirit, but has afterwards lost grace experiences the torment that Adam suffered.

There is an aching and a deep regret in the soul that has grieved the beloved Lord.

Adam pined on earth, and wept bitterly, and the earth was not pleasing to him. He was heartsick for God, and this was his cry:

My soul wearies for the Lord, 
and I seek Him in tears.
How should I not seek Him?
When I was with Him my soul was glad and at rest, 
and the enemy could not come nigh me;
But now the spirit of evil has gained power over me, 
harassing and oppressing my soul,
So that I weary for the Lord even unto death,
And my spirit strains to God, 
and there is naught on earth can make me glad,
Nor can my soul take comfort in any thing, 
but longs once more to see the Lord, 
that her hunger may be appeased.
 
I cannot forget Him for a single moment, 
and my soul languishes after Him,
and from the multitude of my afflictions I lift up my voice and cry:
‘Have mercy upon me, O God. Have mercy on Thy fallen creature.’

 

Thus did Adam lament, and the tears steamed down his face on to his beard, on to the ground beneath his feet, and the whole desert heard the sound of his moaning.

The beasts and the birds were hushed in grief; while Adam wept because peace and love were lost to all men on account of his sin.

Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938; Eastern Orthodox): Adam’s Lament (extract), from St. Silouan the Athonite, by Archimandrite Sophrony @ Mystagogy.

Gregory of Nyssa: Archetypal Beauty, the Image of God, Freedom of the Will, and the Sin of Adam Sunday, Nov 18 2012 

This reasoning and intelligent creature, man, was at once the work and the likeness of the Divine and Imperishable Mind.

For so, in the story of the Creation, it is written of him that “God made man in His image”.

This creature, I say, did not in the course of his first production have united to the very essence of his nature the liability to passion and to death.

Indeed, the truth about the image could never have been maintained if the beauty reflected in that image had been in the slightest degree opposed to the Archetypal Beauty.

Passion was introduced afterwards, subsequent to man’s first organization; and it happened in this way.

Being the image and the likeness, as has been said, of the Power which rules all things, man kept also in the matter of a Free-Will this likeness to Him whose Will is over all.

He was enslaved to no outward necessity whatever; his feeling towards that which pleased him depended only on his own private judgment.

He was free to choose whatever he liked; and so he was a free agent, though circumvented with cunning, when he drew upon himself that disaster which now overwhelms humanity.

He became himself the discoverer of evil, but he did not therein discover what God had made.

For God did not make death.

Man became, in fact, himself the fabricator, to a certain extent, and the craftsman of evil.

All who have the faculty of sight may enjoy equally the sunlight; and any one can if he likes put this enjoyment from him by shutting his eyes.

In that case it is not that the sun retires and produces that darkness, but the man himself puts a barrier between his eye and the sunshine.

The faculty of vision cannot indeed, even in the closing of the eyes, remain inactive, and so this operative sight necessarily becomes an operative darkness rising up in the man from his own free act in ceasing to see.

Again, a man in building a house for himself may omit to make in it any way of entrance for the light.

He will necessarily be in darkness, though he cuts himself off from the light voluntarily.

So the first man on the earth, or rather he who generated evil in man, had for choice the Good and the Beautiful lying all around him in the very nature of things.

Yet he wilfully cut out a new way for himself against this nature, and in the act of turning away from virtue, which was his own free act, he created the usage of evil.

Gregory of Nyssa (c 335 – after 394): On Virginity, 12.

John Maximovitch: Weeping Entered the World, and the Soul became Burdened Friday, Dec 2 2011 

Saint John Maximovich Tobolsk editedThe world was created good and called to the joy of life in union with the Source and Creator of life, the Lord God.

The first to sin and to be torn from this union were angels.

The angelic realm was split: some remained with God; others, in their pride, desired to live their own life, independent of God.

The angelic world was split and sin was born there, but the earthly world remained good.

And then the devil, which means “the one cast down from heaven,” began to strive to join the earthly realm to himself.

The highest creation on earth, man, had been given a commandment by God not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Why was the commandment given? This tree was just like all the others, and in itself it had no outstanding characteristics.

No, the knowledge of good and evil was not in the tree itself, and not for this reason was the commandment given.

The Lord gave it because man was created free, and the Lord desires of man a freely-willed striving and longing for union with God.

The commandment was given because only through its fulfillment could man express his freely-willed striving toward God and love for Him.

And blessedness consists simply of communication with God through love of Him.

The devil is burdened by his separation; he is perpetually in a state of wrath and vengeance, and it comforts him to attract others.

The devil never appears as his true self, but takes on various appearances.

Then in paradise he took on the appearance of a serpent, and gave man the idea that the commandment had not been given for the expression of man’s love of God, but so that man would not become like God.

The devil planted the thought that the command was issued, not out of God’s love, so that man would dwell in God’s love, but because God desires to dominate, and to prevent man from being as God, and coming to know the endless and limitless joy of being.

When man came to believe this diabolical idea, he was instantly separated from God.

Everything changed, and man could no longer enjoy life in God and speak with God freely and straightforwardly as children speak.

There was no peace, no joy, and man began to hide from God.

Everything changed, the link between God and man was destroyed and nature ceased to heed man.

Weeping entered the world, and the soul became burdened.

John Maximovitch (Orthodox Church; 1896-1966): Sermon on the Fall of Man @ Orthodoxy Today and Orthodox Christian Faith