I can almost imagine it. I say something in anger, I eat two pieces of pie, or I simply forget an important date on the calendar and I can make it all go away with one push of a button.
Damage report now reads no casualties. All systems are GO.
Life is no sci-fi movie in which everything reverses at warp speed, giving me a chance to try again. Sounds wonderful, but nothing resets at the push of a button.
The first man and woman must have really wanted such a button on the day of the Fall. We can almost imagine the scene as they wept and passed out of their beloved garden.
So much for a perfect world. So much for just one rule. Don’t eat the fruit of that tree.
God had given them every good thing. The Garden of Eden. Perfect communion with each other and with God. Then, the woman finds herself alone with a fallen angel. We know who he is, even through the disguise. He presents a plan - an enticing plan - and all she has to do is say yes. The fruit looks so inviting. It seems like such a little thing, this forbidden fruit. What could it harm? She reaches up, takes the fruit from the tree. The woman, Eve, is not alone in her rebellion. She offers the fruit to Adam.
He, too, eats of death.
Where is the reset button? How does one rid the soul of this stain, a stain so deep it passes on to every generation. The world beats out the rhythm of this one pulsating word. Death. Death. Death.
And the two walk along, remembering when the world sang a different song. Life. Life. Life.
* * *
After many, many years, another woman stands alone, listening to an angel’s words. Though brief, it is the culmination of a plan, a plan that requires the simple yes of a young woman. The New Eve.
With her yes, a perfect fruit begins to grow. When it reaches the fullness of time, this fruit will climb back on a tree and willingly offer Himself there, crushing death forever.
“It is finished.”
His words ring out across generations. Past. Present. Future. Throughout all eternity.
The Redeemer has come, and it is finished.
* * *
Too often, Christians relegate Mary to a minor role in the Christmas story. Too often, they take every woman of the Old and New Covenant in isolation. And so, they miss the intricate design of God’s plan. They miss the fact that God was weaving the story of Salvation History in the heart and soul of women, and finally, the grand finale, the ultimate perfection in creative design is revealed. The woman who is full of God’s grace.
Pope Benedict XVI writes, “alongside of and with the line running from Adam through the patriarchs to the Servant of God, there is in the Old Testament a line that runs from Eve through the matriarchs to figures such as Deborah, Esther, Ruth, and at last Sophia” (43 Mary, the Church at the Source). So many women – all pointing to the Woman. And to lay them on the table, one by one, and study how they are like the Woman and how they are different from the Woman, only then can one see the intricate design of the feminine dimension. Mary, the feminine ideal.
Every woman’s heart may start out with its own rhythm, but there is a longing in her soul to ultimately beat in unison with Mary. The women of the Old Covenant were not perfect, but they point to Mary.
The moment she said yes, in that moment, God pressed the restart button.
When have I needed a do-over button? Which of my choices became a venue for evil? What must change so that I become a venue for grace? Thank you for the Sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation, and for the many times you have given me a chance to begin again.