Why He Let Me Do It

From Abbot William of St. Thierry’s fourth meditation:

I, even I, Lord, am, as your Prophet has said, a man that sees my own poverty; I am poor and beset with troubles from my youth; having been lifted up, I have been humbled and put to shame. For you have brought me through such great and dire troubles, and then you have turned and led me back to life, you have brought me again from the deep of the earth. You have multiplied your mighty acts upon me; turning toward me, you have brought me comfort. For when of old in your paradise you created me, and gave me the tree of life for my possession, as of abiding right, you willed–or at least you allowed me–to reach my hand out also for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; you did this, so that I, who had grown weary of my inward blessings, might find what sort of outward action I could do, with the consent and help of Eve, my flesh. I tasted of the fruit and saw, not your graciousness but my own shame. I saw myself as one whose infamy needed a cloak to cover it, whose nakedness trembled to meet you, whose liberty required the constraint of laws. For I was found in your sight destitute of all the inward things men thought that I possessed; I was found shameful in my inward parts and found in them no refuge from myself, nor yet from you. And I, who had received the charge of ruling others, appeared as needing to be ruled myself!


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