Friday, December 12, 2008

The Fall of Man and Redemption

Giovanni di Paolo c. 1403 - 1482
The Annunciation and Expulsion from Paradise, c. 1435
Tempera on panel
Overall: 40 x 46.4 cm (15 3/4 x 18 1/4 in.) painted surface (within _barbe_): 38.7 x 44.7 cm (15 1/4 x 17 5/8 in.) framed: 54.9 x 58.7 x 7 cm (21 5/8 x 23 1/8 x 2 3/4 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

The three scenes in this painting help make explicit the connection between the Fall, and God's promise of salvation, which is fulfilled at the moment of the Annunication.

Sandro Magister in And It Was Night. The Real Story of Original Sin discusses the Dogma of Orginial Sin and why Pope Benedict has talked about it three times in eight days.

The Pope has said that without the Dogma, Christian redemption "would lose its foundation"

At his General Audience on Wednesday 3rd December 2008, Pope Benedict XVI discussed Original Sin. The theme of the address was "The Apostle Paul’s teaching on the relation between Adam and Christ".

At his audience on 10th December 2008, the Pope returned to the theme. But he made a number of ex tempore remarks. They are reported by Sandro Magister:

""Dear brothers and sisters,

In following St. Paul we saw two things in the catechesis last Wednesday. The first is that our human history has been tainted from the beginning by the abuse of created freedom, which intends to emancipate itself from the divine will. And in this way it does not find true freedom, but opposes itself to the truth, and as a result falsifies our human realities.

Above all, it falsifies the fundamental relationships: with God, between man and woman, between man and the earth. We said that this tainting of our history is spread through the entire fabric, and that this inherited defect has increased, and is now visible everywhere. This was the first thing.

The second is this: we learned from St. Paul that there is a new beginning in history and of history in Jesus Christ, He who is man and God. With Jesus, who comes from God, there begins a new history formed by his yes to the Father, and thus founded not on the pride of a false emancipation, but on love and truth.

"But now the question arises: how can we enter into this new beginning, into this new history? How does this new history reach me?

With the first tainted history, we are inevitably connected by our biological origin, we all belong to the one body of humanity. But communion with Jesus, the new birth in order to enter to become part of the new humanity, how does this take place? How does Jesus come into my life, into my being? The fundamental answer of St. Paul, and of the entire New Testament, is: he comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. If the first history gets underway, so to speak, with biology, the second gets underway in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the risen Christ. This Spirit created, at Pentecost, the beginning of the new humanity, of the new community, the Church, the Body of Christ."