Childlike Wonder vs. Utility

I’m reading a wonderful book by Albert Haase, OFM, titled Living the Lord’s Prayer: The Way of the Disciple.  As the title suggests, Hasse’s encouragement – and challenge – is that we live the Lord’s Prayer, and not merely recite it.

Hasse presents a way of thinking about the sin of Adam and Even in a way different from the way we usually think of it.  He writes

The wise stewards of Eden, Adam and Eve, tended [the] garden with wonder and awe.  And they saw their Creator reflected in this divine handiwork.

But the moment Adam and Eve looked on that offered fruit with the eyes of desire, devoid of original awe, everything changed: “the woman saw that the tree was … to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6).  They now looked at creation with self-centered concerns, observing its elements as threads for a tapestry, no longer threads of a tapestry.

Utility replaced childlike wonder.  The mind supplanted the heart.  Many descendents of Adam and Eve to this day do not see a tree until they have need of paper.

Haase acknowledges that our “utilitarian and pragmatic approach to nature has performed miracles” – irrigation, medical science and the like.

But ask yourself, what difference it would make to view the world God has given us with wonder and awe, as a reflection of God, rather than just ask what it can give us.  And then ask if it wouldn’t be worth attempting to rediscover the original relationship to the things of creation.

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