Thursday, May 5, 2016

An Apple is Eaten, and the Hope of God is Gone

"An apple is eaten, and the hope of God is gone."
---G.K. Chesterton, from Orthodoxy 

There is no person of my acquaintance who is entirely ignorant of fairy tales.
I am very sure of this statement, for the simple and apparent reason that the very natural order of life is one great and vast fairy tale, encompassing the world, from the day of Creation to the day when we will all stand before the throne of God.
Everything about the natural order once fitted together with an almost ridiculous perfection; beauty abounded; everything was luminescent with the pearly light of truth; a terrible goodness swam over the brow of every green hill, and we drank it in with the sparkling, clear waters of the first effervescent streams. We sang joyfully in our harmonious voices as we thanked God for this paradise, and He acknowledged our thanks, and blessed us with a wondrous garden in which each leaf seemed freshly watered from the wellspring of hope, so perfect and pure did they appear to our clear eyes, which then only desired to see things in the light of truth.
This garden was the most blissful and peaceful place imaginable; it was all fair, and there was no stain in it. It was bright, but we could withstand the brightness, and we desired nothing but that brightness.
I have said there was no stain, but there was one, one that needed human permission to spread, and we vowed not to approach that stain for fear of besmirching our beauteous home. But, as it must, curiosity prevailed, and soon we had eaten of the apple, and at the moment the fruit passed our lips we knew, with a dreadful and chilling thrill that rang upon our ears like a death knell, that we had abandoned Virtue for the cold and brutal path of Pride and Vice.
The brightness became too much for us and so we left the Garden, and sought other realms. Our voices, no longer harmonious and loving, rose shrilly as we squabbled over the most ridiculous and petty notions; we were so occupied in fighting for what we thought would make us happy that we forgot the melodies we had once taken delight in, melodies of praise and thanksgiving. We travelled far, and farther yet; but for all our journeys over hills, through valleys, and even across bitter and salty seas, we could find nowhere near as fair as the place we had selfishly left for a bite of fruit, said to make us happy.
It had not made us happy. We were mean and selfish, and our sharp words hurt ourselves and each other, so that in secret, we cried tears as bitter and as salty as the seas we had crossed in search of a new Garden.
After a time, God took pity on us, and sent His Son in the form of one of us to give us a new chance at sanctity. His kind words touched our hearts, and we remembered the Garden with still greater fondness. Some of us strove to follow this Son, and to become even a little bit as we were in the old days, before the advent of the serpent and the apple.
But the fangs of the serpent had poisoned the apple we had eaten, and not all of us wanted to be good and just. With a dreadful and sickening act of defiance, the Saviour was hoisted up on two beams of wood, and left there to gasp out His life. A few bemoaned His loss, and for that He was thankful, and showed it by returning for a brief time to strengthen our wills against the struggle that is even now looming large on the horizon of our times.
For a while, sin was seen as shameful. We presented our best faces out of doors, and tried to hide our transgressions behind the gates of good will and kindness. Perhaps we had a vague memory of a beautiful place, crystal-cut and shining bright, with voices thrumming through the air in songs whose melodies ran as straight and true as the precise flight of the hummingbird.
Soon, however, the ugliness began to creep along, as stealthily as the slow movements of the most insidious serpent. It began with a look, a few words; it always does. Then, it began to force itself out with actions, so despicable and perverted that we felt ashamed to call ourselves human. But it is not given to us to choose who we are.  
But it was not to be that the sickness of sin could be shamed out of us; instead, people began to take a kind of blatant pride in their transgressions, plastering the gaily coloured ribbons of their horrifying indignity on flagpoles, walls, doors, and everywhere our once-pure eyes turned.
It only became worse. The most awful and impure acts were lauded, praised, openly commended. Anyone who spoke out or even speculated against them was mysteriously put to silence, and now we have come to the dreadful part of the fairy tale that is life; the part where fairy tale turns nightmare, the part where all that we loved, that was once so pure and inviolate, has been exchanged for all that is vile and disgusting.
And all this because we ate of the apple from the Tree of Knowledge...once upon a time, in a land of an almost ridiculous perfection; where beauty abounded; where everything was luminescent with the pearly light of truth; where a terrible goodness swam over the brow of every green hill, and we drank it in with the sparkling, clear waters of the first effervescent streams.

By Maura Tuffy

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written!
    This is not completely related, but your phrase "mysteriously put to silence" reminded me of something my dad told me about life in communist Poland. When someone irked the authorities, that person would sometimes be mysteriously beaten up, and in the newspaper, there would be nothing but a note that he was assaulted by "unknown perpetrators." No one was fooled, however, and people would joke about the unknown perpetrators whenever something bad happened.