Ignatian Spiritual Exercises
Prayer Week #7 – The Reality of Sin
God is looking for Adam and Eve. How can it be that the God who just created all that there is, including humans in the image and likeness of God, can now not find God’s creation? This seems like such an impossibility.
Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. They were successful at this game of hide and seek, so much so that God did not know where they were. God came looking for them.
God calls out to them.
Adam answers. “I was afraid.”
Before sin…no fear.
But does sin hide me from God? Or does sin hide me from myself.
Hear this from Thomas Merton:
There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, my happiness depends: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself. If I find my true self I will find Him.
The ability to see myself as I really am and to see God as God really is, is a seeing that is blocked by sin. Thus I become hidden from God and myself. It is a terrible and terrifying thing to be lost, but even more so to be lost in plain sight!
Cain experiences this as well following the murder of his brother Abel: “…and I shall be hidden from Your face.”
Hidden from God. Hidden from myself.
Hear this…if I discover and know myself, I will discover and know God and if I know God, I know myself. This is a mystery but it is true. It is also a grace. God cannot separate Godself from the image and likeness in which we have been created. The entire universe is inhabited by God and the Love of God is the energy source of all of creation. My very next breath is dependent on the God of breath giving it to me, whether I acknowledge God or not.
But I can hide from myself and in so doing hide from God. I cannot in actuality escape from the presence from God for the total absence of God is to cease to exist. God sustain the creation of God and for God to cease to do so is for the creation to be no more. In God we live and move and have our being.
So what happens when I hide from God? When I hide from myself? The awareness of God and myself has been broken. Awareness is living in plain sight of myself and God. Here I am, Lord! We become aware of the invitation to dwell with God and for God to fulfill the desire of God to dwell with us. When awareness is lost, we hide.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found;
was blind but now I see.
By the grace of God, the awareness of God and myself is restored, and I live…fearlessly…in the Presence of God and in the presence of myself in goodness and love. I am restored to walking in the cool of the garden with God, not afraid of God, not hiding from God.
And God says,
“There you are!”
Yes, Lord; here I am.
I am God-with-me.