“I am as I am. I did not make myself,” says Eve in the imaginative book by writer and humorist Mark Twain in The Diaries of Adam & Eve. These words are Eve’s response to those who would judge God’s first man and woman for their innate curiosity that led them to eat the apple—unable to understand what the threat of pain and death could mean, not having experienced it before. They could have used a movie trailer to better understand what not-Eden would be like.
Sunday’s scripture readings about Adam and Eve’s fall from grace through the trickery of the snake, paired with Jesus’ resistance to temptation by the devil, invite us to reflect on our deepest human vulnerabilities.
After 40 days in the desert, a very hungry Jesus is tempted to turn stone into bread. He surely needed a piece of bread. The devil is beyond crafty in tempting his gut.But Jesus responds to the devil’s temptation with these words –
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.”
It’s a reminder that our bodies are always in conversation with our souls—and that the solutions to hunger, chaos, violence, injustice, and fear will not come from bread alone. Love matters. So do God’s words of mercy, accompaniment, perseverance, courage, and contemplative silence—the needed graces which temptations cannot provide.
I am consoled by Lent’s invitation to return to God with all our heart no matter our failings. Perhaps Twain’s imaginative Eve is correct in shrugging off debilitating shame or blame. She begins to glimpse the “no matter whatness” of God—our merciful God who would send us Jesus and the saints to give us much needed light for our pilgrim journeys.
- Can you remember a time when you have experienced the “no matter whatness” of our merciful God?
- What word of God do you want to remember the next time temptation crosses your path?
Ellie Hidalgo is co-director of Discerning Deacons, a project to engage Catholics in the active discernment of our Church about women in the diaconate and to contribute to the renewal of the diaconate for our times. Previously, she served as pastoral associate at Dolores Mission Church and School in Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles, CA. Ellie received her master’s in pastoral theology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is based in Miami, FL.