O my God, You created me because of Your love.
You boast of an everlasting love for Your own people,
a love that has neither beginning nor end,
a love that exists eternally in the unchangeable I AM.
How, O Lord, did You love me before I came to be?
I was nothing before my mother conceived me in her womb.
Is not the love of nothing an empty, shapeless love?
No, for Your love is a shaping love.
The ancients tell of a sculptor, Pygmalion, who carved a woman out of ivory and then fell in love with his creation. Day after day, he gazed with futile longing at her beauty, until at last the goddess Venus took pity on him, and when he kissed the statue’s lifeless form, she began to live.
From what source did the statue derive her beauty? Was she not first in Pygmalion’s mind before his hand gave her form? Therefore, he loved her image in his mind before he loved her shape in ivory. Last of all, love brought her life.
And so, O Lord, in the eternal time before time,
You loved the Image in Your mind.
First, Your made time and the world in order to have a place
where You might put the creature that You imagined.
Then You fashioned flesh and blood and bone, and last of all,
You loved the work of Your hands into life.
Though this work of Yours was very good,
yet You were not contented with it.
The thing that was very good
must become better.
The image to whom You gave life
must come to have a higher life.
And so, out of Your creation called Time,
You made something new.
You made something called History that through its passages,
You might perfect the image of the Image in Your mind.
Thus, the creature You loved into life in the Garden
is loved into eternal life through the death of Your Image.