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164. The Punishment of the Sin of Adam

1. If a person, because of a fault, is deprived of whatwas bestowed on him as a favor, the deprivation is apunishment for the fault. Now, the perfect subjection ofman's lower powers to reason was a great favor bestowed on man.Out of this perfect subjection of body to spirit came soundness ofhealth and perfection of bodily function, and the supervening giftof bodily immortality was assured. But when man sinned the greatfavor mentioned was withdrawn (indeed, man's sin rejected thefavor), and it was withdrawn in punishment for the sin. Thewithdrawal of the favor meant that man was no longer immortal inhis bodily life; it meant that he would die. Therefore, death ismanifestly in punishment for Adam's sin. Says St. Paul (Rom.5:12): "By one man sin entered the world, and by sin,death."

2. Scripture recounts other punishments for Adam'ssin: expulsion of our first parents from Paradise; fatiguing toil;pains of childbirth; reluctance of the earth to yield fruits, etc.{-All these punishments were blessings for fallenman. Once fallen, man would have found Paradise and life as it wasbefore Adam's sin, so delightful that he would no longer havehad thought or time for God. Fallen man cannot stand a diet ofParadise. Were it not for the hardships and punishments we mustbear in consequence of Adam's sin, we should all inevitably goto hell. Herein appear the infinite love and mercy of God: when hestrikes us in punishment, while we are wayfarers, his blow turnsinto the caress of blessing.-}

"We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time. "
St Phillip Neri

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"A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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