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Preface IV of Easter
For more information on the Preface in general, see The Eucharistic Prayer (2) and The Eucharistic Prayer (3)
The Easter season reminds us that the Resurrection did not just benefit a humanity lost to sin, but also benefitted all of creation.
The restoration of the universe through the Paschal Mystery
Creation in God’s plan was always meant to serve humanity and to help man to glorify God through his life. When, through sin, it stopped achieving that goal it became futile: the world that we know and experience every day was just a stepping stone toward eternal life, and when we lost that, it became a path to loss. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans describes creation as having been “subjected to futility” (Romans 1:20). After the Fall creation awaited being restored to its rightful purpose again, and that purpose was regained by Our Lord’s victory over death.
“For, with the old order destroyed, a universe cast down is renewed, and integrity of life is restored to us in Christ.”
In the Book of Genesis we see creation become disturbed and hostile to man as Adam and Eve are cast out of the garden of Eden and compelled to eke out an existence from a harsh and unforgiving soil (see Genesis 3:17–19). This punishment was self-inflicted: the Lord was telling Adam and Eve the consequences of their sinful actions.
St. John Paul II often spoke of structures of sin. These structures did not construct themselves; sinful people started to organize and exploit creation, turning it against their fellow man. Beyond the human level the Evil One gained a dominion over the material world, including the material half of man, and an opportunity to deny man the spiritual goods that had awaited him upon death in communion with God.
Alongside responsible stewardship for creation St. John Paul II also spoke of the importance of “human ecology:” an abuse of natural resources stemmed from man’s selfishness and sin, therefore sin had to be conquered as well in order to be responsible stewards of creation. All the ecology in the world would not have been able to rescue creation from futility if Christ had not conquered the death that waited us at the end of our earthly life. In conquering death he has also conquered sin and cast out the ruler of this world (see John 12:31), and the old structures of sin are overthrow and broken down so that in the light of the Gospel life can be restored, even now, to what it was meant to be. A redeemed and restored humanity is good for all of creation, because it gives meaning and purpose to creation again.
Creation remains at our fingertips. The only question is how we’ll use it. Christ has restored our options; let’s choose wisely, guided by his Gospel.
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