This ad orientem picture, above the tabernacle, to the side of the crucifix, was taken immediately after Holy Mass offered, of course, ad orientem. The sun worshippers (much of fallen humanity in any given age) and those who offer the Holy Sacrifice ad orientem but with no lived understanding as to why — get it all wrong. Let’s do a little refresher course. From a glance at Genesis 3,24 one can easily get the idea that the ferocious cherubim with their fiery swords were stationed at the East of Eden guarding the way of the Tree of the Living Ones, meaning that Adam and his wife are being expelled from the East to that which was Easterly…
For the sake of this post, let’s call that a given, and see if any of that which is Easterly has anything to do with Easter! Let’s get some directions!
As Adam and his wife head East, do they not leave Eden and the Tree of the Living Ones in the West?
(1) They are forbidden to return to Eden so as to make their way to the Tree of the Living Ones so as to reach out their hands and take from it and eat with the idea that this would make them live forever. You would think such futile attempts at lifting themselves up under their own power apart from grace would make them the greatest of great grandparents to the heretic Pelagius. Come to think of it, they are. The Cherubim are there to protect not the Tree nor the way of the Tree itself, but the way Adam and his wife would take to the Tree, thus protecting them from the worst of their stupidity. Adam’s and his wife’s grasping and clawing (see the prologue of John’s Gospel) won’t get them anywhere.
(2) Adam and his wife are not forbidden, however, to receive humbly from the Tree of the Living Ones and so live forever. They can’t go to the Tree of the Living Ones and take the fruit of the grace of enmity provided by the Son of the Mother of the Redeemer in Genesis 3,15, but the Son of that Mother of the Redeemer can go to them. And He does. Born of the Immaculate Virgin, He races as far Eastward as they have gone, so that all of humanity is to the West, looking Eastward. And there He is, risen, with the marks of slaughter still upon Him, our Savior, like the sun rising, but so much more, being the very dear Son of the Father rising from the dead for us, to bring us also to life, to have us taste of the grace of redemption in the salvation He brings, the life of God within us, the Most Holy Trinity, and this by way of that fruit of the Tree of Life, of the Living Ones, the Cross, namely, the Most Holy Eucharist, which we are not to grasp after, but we are to receive with humble thanksgiving.
Ad orientem. I like that.