In the previous blog, The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, we read the words of Archimandrite Aimilianos reflecting on what Adam might have thought and said to God when God questioned him as to why he was trying to hide from His Creator. In the meditation below, St Silouan puts in Adam’s mouth words lamenting what he lost in being exiled from Paradise. Though the earth has beautiful landscapes, he cannot find joy in them knowing what exists in Paradise, yet which is no longer attainable for him.
‘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?’”
(St Silouan in Remember Thy First Love by Archimandrite Zacharias, p 200)
Adam sees the magnificent beauty in God’s created world, and yet he agonizes over what he lost in being exiled from Paradise. The pleasures of this world are nothing compared to Paradise Adam tells us. The entire world was his – a vacation paradise. Yet, he finds nothing on earth comparable to the Paradise lost.
Great Lent is trying to help us believe Adam’s lament – what we humans have lost is far greater than anything we might experience on earth. We may be quite attached to this world, yet Great Lent calls us to yearn for something greater, something we’ve never known. Can we feel Adam’s exile and believe there is something even more glorious awaiting us, if only we will let go of the things we value so highly on earth?