The Exsultet (Easter proclamation) relays the sin of Adam as a necessary sin that gained for us a great Redeemer. For the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has remedied the fall of our first parents and brought us a happier outcome. In other words, the paradise lost has been regained. In the words of St. Ambrose, “man (redeemed) is a more glorious creation than man in his original state. Such is the marvellous Providence and charity of God, that man, having sinned has not merely been restored; he has been raised to a greater glory than ever before”.
Prior to the original sin, Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden – where everything was available for their wellbeing and dominion. The theologians call it the state of original innocence (heaven on earth). They did not work or toil but only lived savouring the goodness of creation. They were also not saddled with the thought of making choices or responsible for their actions. Then, they fell into the deception of the devil – realized their nakedness and went into hiding. This act of disobedience brought the anger of Yahweh upon them and the entire humanity – thus, we have to receive baptism to be freed from the grip of original sin. Returning to the concept of ‘happy fault’, what we have now is more wonderful in comparison to that which creation first brought forth.
The above background serves to remind us of the significance of the Lenten penance of forty days. We acknowledge our human frailty, waywardness, and plead for mercy – for the Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion (Ps.103.8). Through the exercise of penance we embark on a journey of a new and better lifestyle – via charity, prayer, fasting, and the other forms of mortification. As St. Faustina tells us in her diary, “the more a soul trusts, the more it will receive”. Our attitude in life should therefore be prompted by the words of the Gospel – where we learn who to follow and how to follow – Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life.