Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.” Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.
In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.” Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him.
Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, because Cain killed him.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen.”
Malachy McCourt said it best: “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” When I think about my resentments, I see how petty and small I can be. I seem particularly incapable of just letting the statute of limitations run on my childhood grievances. Lord help me examine my resentments, let go of my hurts, and allow the poison that corrodes my soul to leech out of me.
—Peg Anderson, a partner in Chicago’s Fox Swibel law firm, is on the board of the Ignatian Spirituality Project.
I turn to Jesus Christ, hanging on His cross, and I speak with Him….
And then I reflect upon myself, and ask:
What have I done for Christ?
What am I doing for Christ?
What ought I do for Christ?
And I talk with Jesus like a friend.
—Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, paraphrased by Joseph Tetlow, S.J.