The Measures God has taken to Defang the Serpent

The serpent's nefarious plan is to separate us from God and God from us. To foil it, God has taken steps. Let's review some of them.

First, the serpent conjured up the illusion that dwelling as gods in godlessness is superior to dwelling in paradise with God. This illusion persuaded Adam and Eve to abdicate the gift of paradise after the gift of paradise had already been delivered to them. This illusion being detrimental to our welfare, God decided to shatter it. To shatter the illusion, God gives us a lifetime to experience the sourness of godlessness for ourselves. A lifetime experiencing the sourness of godlessness convinces us that the serpent was a liar, that godlessness sucks and that it is in our self-interest to get the hell out of godlessness. The prodigal son realized that the pigsty was no place for him and so do the children of Adam and Eve. Reality shatters illusion. The truth sets us free. We recognize the fraud. Shattered, the serpent's illusion has no power over us. The sourness of godlessness becomes a powerful engine that pushes us to the exits of godlessness. It is one of two engines that generates the current of salvation.  When God delivers the gift of paradise to us, unlike our parents, Adam and Eve, we will not fumble the ball. We will not repeat their mistake. We will not trade paradise for godlessness. No way; no how. Baptizing us in the sourness of godlessness is harsh but effective medicine. Its effectiveness justifies its harshness in the eye of God. Who are we to debate this point with God? Although harsh, the experience does not cross the line into cruelty. The brevity of life ensures that harshness does not turn into cruelty. No matter how long, a lifetime is an infinitesimally thin slice of time in comparison to the thickness of eternity. Because life is short we know God is merciful.

Second, because we are being baptized in the sourness of godlessness, we do not know the sweetness of paradise. We are strangers to it. It is foreign to us. The sweetness of paradise, therefore, must be revealed to us. Like the sourness of godlessness, the sweetness of paradise is also a powerful engine. It too generates the current of salvation. It pulls us to the entrances of paradise. For most of human history, the job of revealing to us the sweetness of paradise was delegated to God's subordinates. However, at the inflection point of human history, God undertook the job themselves. For an extremely brief period of time of approximately thirty-three years at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of the earth called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago, the Son of God paid us a visit. Yes, that is right, God pitched his tent with us. God rubbed elbows with us. At Bethlehem, God delivered to us a love note. "We love you," was God's message to the children of Adam and Eve. God knew, however, that the word of God alone would not satisfy us. It was not enough for us at Eden; it would not be enough for us now. Therefore, God did something more extraordinary than merely giving us their word. At Calvary, God certified the authenticity of their word. At Calvary, God delivered to us a guarantee that the love note was genuine. If God's love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the guarantee that God's love for us is indestructible. Love surviving is the certificate of authenticity that God delivered to us at Calvary for the love note they had delivered to us thirty-three years earlier at Bethlehem. If torturing and killing the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender and vulnerable did not extinguish or reduce by the slightest degree God's love for us, nothing we do can. The dial that controls God's love for us is in God's hand not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. With the guarantee of God's love for us in our hands, we no longer have any reason to doubt that God loves us. Calvary is the proof. God's indestructible love for us is the sweetness of paradise. It draws us to paradise as honey draws bees to the hive.

Third, God gave us the gift of rationality. Like foolish children, Adam and Eve, conned by the serpent's illusion, ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into godlessness. Since then, God has tried to reverse the trend. God could have dragged us back by dint of omnipotence against our wills kicking and screaming like recalcitrant children. God, however, rejected the exercise of omnipotence. Omnipotence was the wrong solution for the problem of post delivery paradise opt-out. Omnipotence would get us back to paradise but could not keep us there without turning paradise into a prison, God into our warden and us into prisoners (Adam and Eve and a gaggle of angels led by Lucifer are evidence that the gift of paradise can be abdicated.). God is not looking to turn us into prisoners. God is looking to make us into family members. God, therefore, rejected the command - obedience paradigm of salvation. Instead, to rescue us from our foolish escapade into godlessness, God adopted the evidence - persuasion paradigm. God appeals to our rationality. Our rationality tells us to flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. The sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise are two engines that produce the current of salvation. All the new Moses needs to do is to open our eyes to the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise and our rationality will do the rest. Rational beings, aware of the truth (remember, the truth shall set us free), run from the sourness of godlessness and flee to the sweetness of paradise. God has rigged the game in our favor. Thanks be to God.

Fourth, the serpent used God's law against us. From Eden to Calvary, it was illegal for us to take the body and blood of Christ. These gifts were His to keep not ours to take. Yet, the serpent induced us to break the law. In their mercy, God changed the law. From Calvary and beyond, it became legal for us to take his body and his blood. At Calvary, the Son of God made His body and His blood gifts to us. He encourages us to accept his gifts because they are beneficial to us. They deify us. He offers the gifts of His body and His blood to us at the Mass. No longer could the serpent induce us to break the law because the law now makes the taking of His body and His blood legal.

Fifth, God established an escape route through the hostile desert of godlessness, defined it with holy places, made a map of them and entrusted the map to the Church. The Church is the new Moses. The new Moses is leading a new exodus through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and their holy family in the promised land. The holy places are the jewels of a beautiful necklace that God set against and in contrast to the hostile desert of godlessness. At a holy place, a close encounter with the living God takes place. During a close encounter with the living God, we include God in our lives and God includes us in theirs. Nobody walks away from a close encounter with the living God unchanged. Nobody walks away from a close encounter with the living God empty handed.  A close encounter with the living God transforms us. During a close encounter with the living God, a connection is made between earth and heaven. Through the connection, the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness. What does the light show the darkness? The light shows the darkness that the economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. The currency of love is the medium of exchange in paradise. By spending the currency of love in godlessness, we turn godlessness into paradise. By spending the currency of love, the kingdom of God that was at hand - a mere arms length away - comes into our possession. We can spend a little or we can spend a lot. It is a paradox, but, we grow rich by spending the currency of love. The more we spend, the richer we get. Examples of the holy places upon the earth at which close encounters with the living God take place are the Mass, Confession, the other sacraments, works of charity, acts of kindness, prayer especially the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, fasting, the gathering of two or more together in God's name, bible study, contemplation of God, the hour of death, etc. At the holy places, we enter into the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God.  

Sixth, the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise generate a potential difference. The sourness of godlessness pushes us to the exits of godlessness. The sweetness of paradise pulls us to the entrances of paradise. All that was needed to induce the current of salvation to flow between godlessness and paradise was the placement of a conductor between the two worlds. This God did. God placed the Son of God a/k/a the Son of Man between the world of godlessness and the world of paradise. He became the bridge, way, etc. Nobody reaches the Father but through Him. We must pass through the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ with lash, thorns, nails and spear to get from godlessness to paradise. Jesus is the escape route. Through His bloody wounds, the new exodus passes as we make our escape from godlessness to paradise.

The forgoing are some of the steps God has taken to rescue us from godlessness. 

P.S. Because God rigged the game so that the current of salvation naturally flows downhill from godlessness to paradise, there is no reason for the new exodus to be ebbing instead of flowing unless the new Moses is employing tactics that somehow squander its natural advantage. Fewer and fewer of the children of Adam and Eve are going to Mass. None are going to confession. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dead do not have a choice. Something is wrong. Why is the new Moses squandering its natural advantage? This is the question that the new Moses ought to be asking itself?

P.P.S  Preach the sourness of godlessness and sweetness of paradise and then let our rationality do the rest. The Holy Spirit is tugging at our souls and the curious are following the tug to its source. Get out of the way and let it happen. Stop meddling and get out of the way.