Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

“Adam and Eve hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden, at the breezy time of the day. The LORD God then called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?” He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself." - Gn 3:8-10

“I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself." This is what Adam and Eve responded to God after had eaten the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Shame and fear overcame them. Their self-judgment makes them feel ugly before God. I feel this way before God when I sin or face my own brokenness and sinfulness. Like Adam and Eve, I hide from God because I feel “naked and afraid.” Yet, God does not look at us in this way. God does not shrink away from our fragile humanity and whatever we see as unlovable in ourselves. Before we (Adam, Eve and I) sin we are already naked. Yet, God has no problems accepting and loving us as we are. God does not want to run away. God still wants to take a walk with us in the breezy late afternoon; God does not blame us like Adam blaming his wife and Eve blaming the serpent. Instead, God makes a promise to save, stating that Eve’s future offspring will strike at the head of evil – the serpent. Moreover, before they are sent out of the Garden, God does something so tender and loving. God clothes them with leather garment. It is as if God says, “I don’t think your nakedness is ugly. But if you think so, I will cover your nakedness so you won’t self-judge yourself all the time.”

As a perfectionist, I am prone to self-judgment. I can be hard on myself, especially after making a mistake or sinning. I judge myself as “ugly” and hide from God as well as other people out of shame. Yet, there are people in my life, like God, who do not shrink away from my self-rejection. There are times when I take a walk in the breezy late afternoon by myself or with a friend and catch God looking at me with tenderness, covering my sense of nakedness with loving acceptance. Such love humbles me. I become a little more like Mary in today’s Gospel: “May it be done to me according to your word.” I become more willing to say “yes” to God and not run away.

Do you feel afraid, naked, wanting to hide? Would you consider taking a walk with God or a friend, risk being vulnerable and seeing yourself through their eyes?

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