From Sorrow to Joy: A Retreat Guide on the Sacrament of Confession

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When the devil tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he directly contradicted something that God had told them. God had told them that eating the forbidden fruit would cause them to die. But the devil says to them, “You certainly will not die!” Adam and Eve believe him, and they eat the forbidden fruit and… Well, they didn’t die. They lived on for a long time, becoming the first parents of the human race.

So, was God lying? Of course not. Physical death did enter the human family with original sin, even though Adam and Eve didn’t die right away.

But biblical scholars point out that another kind of death did in fact happen right away: spiritual death. To live in communion with God is to be on the path of full, meaningful, everlasting life. To live separated from God— and that’s what sin does, it opens the door of separation from God—is to be cut off from the source of all life, joy and goodness. It’s a spiritual death.

Jesus, through his passion, death, and resurrection, went through that door himself, not because he sinned but because he loved sinners and wanted to come and save them. And then he opened another door, the door of mercy, which rescues sinners (and we are all sinners) from spiritual death and its many sorrows, if only we are humble enough to walk through it.

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