The Felix Culpa is part of the Catholic Easter liturgy called Exsultet. The original author is unknown but it was likely Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan. If this is true, then it would have been written somewhere between 374 and 394 AD. Today in Church we sang the Felix Culpa and it sparked a fair bit of discussion that I wanted to hit on here.
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
which the death of Christ has blotted out!
O happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
I love this liturgy because it captures the magnitude of the cross. The fall was not merely an accident of a weak creation—it was not a mistake that the Father did not account for. The Father did not cause us to fall but through His perfection He redeemed it completely to manifest glory through Christ and to bless humanity. The cross of Christ did not merely restore us to the condition we were in before the fall; but to something greater. Through it we can begin to grasp a little more of the depth of his love for us and the greatness of His mercy.
God’s plans are perfect. The world we live in is not plan B. It’s not the result of an experiment gone horribly awry. It was the plan all along because it is the way that brings the greatest glory to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost AND it’s the way that we find the greatest blessing. This does not mean that God caused us to sin or that He is culpable in any way. Our failings are purely our own. However, it speaks to the greatness of our God that even in sin, the ultimate of all failure, there is no failure to be found because His cross covers it all.
I like what C.S. Lewis has to say about it: “For God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity would have been, more glorious than any unfallen race is (if at this moment the night sky conceals any such). The greater the sin, the greater the mercy: the deeper the death the brighter the rebirth. And this super-added glory will, with true vicariousness, exalt all creatures and those who have never fallen will thus bless Adam’s fall.” — C.S. Lewis, Miracles