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Gracious Words

One casualty of Original Sin was man’s gift of speech. We know from the account of the Tower of Babel that God meted out the confusion of language as a punishment for pride. But that particular punishment only sets in relief the damage that was really present from the start.

God granted man the faculty of speech as something of a divine prerogative. He entrusted to man the authority to speak on His behalf. God brought to him all the animals “to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” (Gen 2:19) There was also a priestly dimension to the gift of speech. In man’s words, all of creation was to find a voice of praise for its Creator. Indeed, Adam’s first recorded words are a hymn of thanksgiving for the helpmate given to him:

This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called woman,
because she was taken out of Man. (Gen 2:23)

After man rebels against his Creator, his speech is wounded. It now strays easily from its purpose. Immediately after the fall Adam uses his words not for praise but to blame that same helpmate and, by extension, to fault her Creator: “The Woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Gen 3:12)

Read more at The Catholic Thing. 

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