|Posted on December 28, 2020 at 6:55 AM|
We are now a few days after Christmas – I hope you were able to spend some time with loved ones during the holidays, even if it was only via phone or a video chat. Family is so important!
Continuing my review of the Ten Commandments, I am looking this week at the sixth commandment which says: You shall not commit adultery. The Bible states at the beginning that God created humans in His own image, “male and female He created them.” God blessed the man and woman, telling them “Be fruitful and multiply.” (Gen. 1:27-28)
God gave us the gift of sexuality. The Catechism says that sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul, especially the capacity to love and procreate. (CCC 2332) Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. (CCC 2335).
But God did not give us sensuality and sex merely for our own enjoyment, although that is a lovely side effect! He gave us the beautiful gift of sex to allow us to create a special union with another human of the opposite sex and co-create with Him by increasing the number of His children here on earth.
In this commandment, God calls all people to be chaste. When a man and a woman marry and are open to the gift of life, they can enjoy the gift of sexuality with each other. But they still must remain chaste – in other words, they must remain faithful to their spouses and not to allow others to come between them and God. Persons who are not married are also called to be chaste - they must guard their gift of sexuality, saving it for a future marriage, or perhaps to live a completely chaste life.
Remaining chaste, either in a marriage or as a single person, requires self-mastery. People cannot allow their passions to overcome them. And oh, this is difficult! Like probably most people on earth, I have been pulled quite strongly by passion, and yes, I have failed to remain chaste in different ways over the years. Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. It has taken me years to even get close to achieving it, and I’m not fully there yet. At every stage of my life I have faced challenges, and immoral desires continue to be something I must work hard to control.
God not only created sexuality, but He created the family unit to allow for the furthering of His people. Beginning with Adam and Eve, families have been an integral part of society. Just yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family, the blessed family consisting of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.
This commandment is a difficult one for many people. Much of our culture today does not recognize the value of the family nor of chastity. The media brazenly portrays immoral relationships as being the right or best thing to do, and these relationships have become commonplace. Passion and personal fulfillment are valued above the sacredness of marriage, family and even life. There are so many offenses against family and chastity: lustful thoughts, masturbation, fornication, pornography, rape, acting on homosexual tendencies and prostitution are some of the more common offenses. Most of these practices close the sexual act to the gift of life and often end up hurting one or more of the persons involved.
I do understand there are many situations regarding sexuality which are very challenging. And I’m sure some of you reading this will be angered by some of the words on this subject. You may ask: why did God give us such strong desires and then forbid us to act on them? That’s an excellent question, and one I’d like to ask God, too. I suspect that the devil’s influence is partly responsible. Yet I do believe that God created us to follow His laws regarding the family and chastity, even when it is very difficult to do so.
I have needed to address the sixth commandment in confession several times. Although I haven’t gotten the answer as to why God allows me to have impure desires, I have felt the grace of His forgiveness when I acknowledge my sin. The desires have lessened and I have more strength to try again to live a chaste life.
Although it may be difficult, I encourage you this week to think in depth a little bit about this sixth commandment. Some questions you may want to ask yourself are: Have I lived my sexuality with Godly joy and dignity, avoiding sexual intimacy outside of marriage? Have I avoided using the entertainment media unwisely and irresponsibly? Have I done anything with my sexuality that has hurt myself or another person? Do I value the family?
Although living this commandment may not be easy, may you find blessing in chastity this week.
Have a blessed Monday!
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