Point of View
A good few years ago, an official from the Home Office was giving some input to prison chaplains about the crime rate. He happened to be a practicing Jew and, with a wry smile, tried to reassure us that the crime rate had actually plummeted.
After all, Adam and Eve had been guilty of conspiracy, theft, and breach of contract, and Cain of murder.
The first few humans on the face of the earth had all been criminals, so it was 100% of the population! It has declined significantly. At least, it’s an optimistic point of view.
Made famous by Elvis Presley, the song ‘Suspicious Minds’ talks of a dysfunctional relationship falling apart from lack of trust. This, of course, was how it all went from paradise to panic in the Book of Genesis.
Adam and Eve were convinced that God was holding out on them. Cain’s sulk at God preferring Abel’s offering to his own (largely because Abel’s had been given with a generous heart, and from his best), turned into rage, which lashed out in murder.
All because Cain would not respond to God when he was told to ‘chin up’ and open his heart. All of this from an attitude born of suspicion and resentment, and all kinds of notions growing arms and legs in the fertile ground of our jealous and closed off imagination.
And yet, our imagination, which can do so much harm, can also be the way out of this hopeless cul-de-sac.
One Foot in Eden
The poem, ‘One Foot in Eden’, by Edwin Muir, explores the theme of good intertwined with evil. In this poem, he references the parable of the weed and the darnel, which reminds us of God’s patience and of an attitude which searches carefully for the good.
The Orcadian often reflected on the expulsion from paradise and how to regain it.
We already know that positive thinking can affect our mood for the better. What about the power of positive imagination? How would it be if you and I deliberately formed the image in our minds of the possibility of paradise?
I believe that the grace of Christ works first in the imagination. It affects our thoughts, then our hearts, then our whole outlook. Our standpoint becomes one of generosity and hope, not resentment and pessimism. “One foot in Eden still, I stand…”
Imaginative prayer is expertly explored by the Society of Jesus in their various websites.
Why not pay them a visit, for example, on www.ignatianspirituality.com