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97. The Preservation of Man in the State of Innocence

1. Man, in the state of innocence, was immortal; he wasnot to die. But immortality was a supernaturally bestowed gift; itwas not merely a perfection of man's nature. And man lost thissupernatural gift by his rebellion against God. It was by sin thatdeath came into the world.

2. In view of the supernatural gift of immortality ordeathlessness, man was to be free from the ravages of age,sickness, injury, breakdown, decay. To this extent, man was to beimpassible, that is, not subject to suffering or harmful influence.Man could have undergone normal and nonharming experiences, such asappetite for food and the tendency to sleep. Man'simpassibility was lost, with his immortality, by the originalsin.

3. In the state of innocence, man needed food; God toldour first parents (Gen. 2:16) to eat of the fruits of all the treesof Paradise except that of one certain tree. Food will always be arequirement of living man until the body is spiritualized at thegeneral resurrection; then there will be no need whatever of bodilysustenance.

4. Scripture indicates that fallen man might have gainedimmortality again by eating of the "tree of life" (Gen.3:22). But this would not have been an absolute immortality such asman had lost. The "tree of life" could have rejuvenatedman, but it would not have given man permanent youth and unagingperfection; it would have had to be eaten again and again; it wouldsave man from age, but age would come on anew.

"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God."
St Philip Neri

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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