By December 18, 2009Spiritual Counsels

The below is an extract from Abba Serapion on St. John Cassian’s “Conferences” and on how Adam and Jesus were tempted by Satan and, in the process, why the Church calls Jesus “the New Adam”. The parallels St. John Cassian draws in this reading are fascinating in their theology and in Abba Serapion’s understanding of Holy Scripture.

The One who possessed the incorruptible image and likeness of God had to be tempted himself by the same passions by which Adam also was tempted when he still enjoyed the inviolate image of God, that is, by gluttony, vainglory, and pride, and not by those in which he entangled himself after having broken the commandment, when the image and likeness of God was violated and he had already fallen through his own fault. For it was by gluttony that he took the food from the forbidden tree; by vainglory that it was said: ‘Your eyes shall be opened’; and by pride that it was said: ‘You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil’ (Genesis 3:5).

“By these three vices, then, we read that the Lord, the SaviSt Serapion the Sindonite.jpgour, was also tempted: by gluttony when the devil said to him: ‘Tell these stones to become loaves of bread’; by vainglory when he said: ‘If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down’; and by pride when he showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said: ‘All these things I will give you if you fall down and adore me’ (Matthew 4:6 – 9). Thus, having been attacked by these very same temptations, He taught us also by His own example how we should conquer the tempter.

“Therefore both the one and the other are called Adam, the former having been the first to go to ruin and death and the latter having been the first to go to resurrection and life.

St. John Cassian, “The Conferences,” (New York: Newman Press, 1997), pp. 185 – 187

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