The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12-12
In a previous post, on why the first sin is known as the sin of Adam even though Eve ate first, Mark, a reader commented, “If Adam had actually ‘Kept’ the garden, the serpent wouldn’t have been able to enter to temp Eve. The only things that needed to be “kept at bay” was that opposed to God and perfection, and Adam let it in since the garden wasn’t adequately “Kept”.
This got me thinking. In Catholic teaching we often read how Jesus reversed the sin of Adam and Mary, the Ave, reversed the sin of Eve. And I realized how correct this teaching is, and how profound what Mark stated also is.
Where Adam stated, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and I ate”, we could perhaps see Jesus reverse this and picture Him saying, “The woman you gave me Father, she helped me to redeem it.” And we can see how Jesus “kept” Mary from sin. But I think it goes further than that all the way to what Mark was stating Adam should have done. Jesus “kept” Mary from temptation.
Mary was pure and prayerful and Immaculate, perhaps we can glean that God the Son, by the prevenient grace of the crucifixion kept Mary from temptation as Adam should have done for Eve in the garden.
It was Jesus who was led into temptation by the Spirit to take on the devil.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1
We can picture that perhaps Eve was shown food and Kingdoms and putting God to the test, all of the things the devil did to Jesus. It was Adam who was given the command not to touch the tree but he was not keeping his garden. Eve wasn’t there yet when the command was given. She would have learned of the command from Adam.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Genesis 2:16-17
Mary knew evil, just by virtue of being in a fallen world, but the grace which flows through her prevented her from being tempted by it. Jesus took on what Adam should have for the sake of Eve. He had to take on what we take on. He had to feel our weakness. But the prayer of the Our Father was answered for Mary. Her human will remained one with the Divine Will and she was never tempted to anything but love for the other for the sake of the other. Jesus’ human will He handed to the will of the Father in the garden, for her sake and for the sake of the church.
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
Mary was surrounded by the whole armor of God. There were no weaknesses in her defenses. Graces flow through her, she was already divinized, and she shared in His redemption of us. Thus it is through the Immaculate Conception, the Incarnation and the Cross that we reach Resurrection. Eve was conceived by God from the side of Adam, the rib of protection, the heart of Adam. He didn’t keep what he was given, but Jesus did. He kept her Immaculate Heart inside of His Sacred Heart. He had taken her into his home. And then He gave her to us at the foot of the Cross through John, through the Priesthood, through the Sacraments, so that we too may one day be divinized.
As another reader, Bob, adeptly pointed out in the comments below, if Jesus “kept” the garden so the Blessed Virgin Mary is not tempted, this explains why Mary Magdalene mistook Him for a gardener when she first sees the Resurrected Christ. She is seeing both the Resurrected Christ and the Keeper of the Garden.
Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” John 20:14-16
I would venture to say that Jesus had invited both Joseph and John into the “keeping” of the garden because those two were asked to take Mary into their homes. They were in a sense, “new Adam’s” also, as nothing is diminshed from Christ by inviting them into this. Christ wants us all to share in his glory. And if this is the case, it says something of both fatherhood and the Priesthood in the plan of God for families and is perhaps the subject for another post.
It seems to me that those who embrace the cross and the Immaculate Conception don’t just have calm in the storm, when we surrender our wills totally to the will of God, we too become keeper’s of what has been gifted to us and Her Immaculate Heart can triumph.