The Creation of Men and Angels: On the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and on the tree of life

One can understand that God had produced from the earth every tree beautiful to see and agreeable to taste; And in the midst of paradise he also set the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God could annex to plants certain natural virtues in relation to our bodies. And it is easy to believe that the fruit of the tree of life had the virtue of repairing the body by a food so proportioned and so effective that it would never die by using it. But for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, as this was an effect which passed the natural virtue of a tree, it might be said that this tree was so called by the event, because Man, by using this tree against the command of God, has learned the unfortunate knowledge which makes him discern from experience the evil which his infidelity attracted to him from the good in which he had been created. Only if he had persevered in innocence.

It may also be thought that the virtue of giving man the knowledge of good and evil was in this tree a supernatural virtue like that which God placed in the sacraments; as in the water, the power of regenerating the interior of man, and spreading life and grace there.

Be that as it may, without inquiring curiously the secret of the work of God, it is sufficient for me to know that God had absolutely forbidden from the beginning the use of the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil, and not the use of the tree of life. His words are: Eat the fruit of all the trees of paradise, but do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Only that fruit was forbidden, and that of the tree of life was only after sin, according to this saying: Let us take care that he does not put his hand again on the tree of life, and that he live eternally.

O God! I submit to your prohibition: I renounce all curious knowledge, since you forbid me to use it; I ought to know by experience only good; I was too ill to find out what you did not want to teach me, and I am satisfied with the knowledge you want to give me. For the tree of life you allowed me to use it, and I could be immortal with this help, and now you give it to me by the cross of my Savior. The true fruit of life hangs on this mysterious tree and I eat it in the Eucharist from the cross, celebrating this mystery according to the precept of Jesus Christ, in memory of his death, in accordance with this saying: Do this in memory of me, and this of St. Paul: Whenever ye eat of this heavenly bread, and drink of this holy cup, you shall proclaim, and proclaim, and celebrate the death of the Lord. It is here therefore a fruit of death and a fruit of life; A fruit of life, since Jesus Christ said, “Your fathers have eaten the manna, and they are dead; But whoever eats of the bread I give you will never die.” The Eucharist is therefore a fruit and a bread of life. But, at the same time, it is a death-fruit, since it was necessary, in order to vivify us, that Jesus should taste death for us all, and that, recalled to life by this death, we should continually carry in our bodies the mortification of Jesus, by the death of our passions, and by dying to ourselves and to our own desires, to live only to him who died and rose again for us. Let us weigh these words and live with Jesus Christ, as he was mortified according to the flesh, and vivified according to the spirit, as St. Peter said.

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