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제목 6th Commandment- “Thou shalt not commit adultery”(2016-04-09).
작성자 관리자 작성일 2016-04-11



6th Commandment - “Thou shalt not commit adultery”(Ex. 20:14)


My dear Brethren,


 One last point on the 5th Commandment: it also prohibits scandal, which is an attack on the spiritual life of our neighbour. Our Lord Jesus Christ has very strong words against scandal: “he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh” (Mt. 18:6-7).


 Scandal is to induce someone else to sin: that can be against any virtue, but in itself it constitutes an additional sin: it is bad enough to do wrong, it is worse to induce others to do so by scandal. There are scandals against the faith: e.g. by promoting evil literature, or modernist theologians that call in question dogmas of faith: by their position in catholic universities they are scandals to the students and to many others). There are scandals against justice, e.g. when a boss commands his employees to cheat in business. There are scandals against chastity, by immodesty, by the display of pornography, by unclean conversations, etc. Such actions include two sins: the sin against faith/justice/chastity itself, plus the sin of scandal. Both need to be accused in confession.


 After commanding us the worship of God, Who is The Living, Eternal Life itself, and the first source of all life, after commanding us the respect of those through whom we received that life, then the respect of human life itself, now God commands us to respect the transmission of life: this is the object of the 6th Commandment. The transmission of human life is a very important act, which cooperates in the work of creation: it is thus called “procreation.” Therefore it has a very high value. It is not a game! Marriage is the setting designed by God for procreation: indeed since children need their father and mother, and not just for a few years, but for a very long time, one may not make children outside of the marriage! Marriage is precisely that very special life-long union between one man and one woman unto procreation. To disconnect the transmission of life from marriage is the first cause of many sins against the 6th commandment.


 Because it is necessary for the continuation of mankind, God has put a certain reward, a certain pleasure, in the act of marriage to encourage people to have children. Any honest person would acknowledge that if God had not put that pleasure in the act of marriage, there would be many less children, and probably mankind would not have survived and would have disappeared long ago! Hence one sees that God is good and wise. Yet it is important here to understand the very reason of being of that pleasure, as a reward for the transmission of life in the marriage. To disconnect pleasure from the transmission of life would be similar to an employee who would want a salary without work, reward without merit! Yet, this disconnection is very common in the modern world, and is at the root of many sins against the 6th Commandment.


 The act of marriage should therefore only be done within the marriage and in a manner open to life – not that every act should lead to a new life, but that the natural fruit of this act be never positively excluded. Note that the parents’ role is not merely to have children, but even more to educate them, in such a way as to prepare them not only for their life on earth, but more importantly to prepare them to go to Heaven: to give a good Catholic education is an important duty of parents. Note also that one of the greatest rewards of good parents is good children: pleasure passes away, good children remain; pleasure is a very fleeting reward, good children are a long-lasting one! If the children go to Heaven, they will be eternally grateful to their parents for the good education they received.


 The 6th Commandment thus commands fidelity in the marriage: not to have marital relations outside of the marriage. It is therefore the protection of true human love in the marriage: faithful love, self- giving love, life-long love, a true imitation of Divine love, as St Paul says: “Be ye therefore imitators of God, as most dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness” (Eph. 5:1-2).


 Therefore it forbids first of all adultery: it is against the good of the child that may be born of that adulterous union, thus not being with his father and mother; it is even worse when it induces a doubt as to the paternity of the child. But it is also against the good of the spouse, who is cheated of his/her marital right to exclusivity: it is both against the virtue of chastity and against the virtue of justice towards the spouse. Because of the life-long potential consequences of such act, it is a very grievous sin. In the early church long public penance was required if one had fallen in such a sin. St Paul insists on the evil of these sins: “For know you this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them” (Eph. 5:5-7).


 The 6th Commandment also forbids fornication, which is a marital relation between unmarried people. Chastity before marriage prepares for chastity within the marriage, and a lack of chastity before the marriage very often leads to infidelities within the marriage. So it is very important for young people to be pure and cultivate the virtue of chastity and virginity as a preparation for a good and holy marriage, and thereby a much happier marriage. The Church teaches that marriage is good and consecrated virginity is better. One should not think that virginity is required of the youth only for consecrated life; it is also required as a preparation for a good and holy marriage: it is God’s will that people remain virgin until the day of their marriage. Even though the modern world despises it, good Catholics must hold in great esteem this virtue and protect it in their children, by keeping them away from occasions of sins: in particular Archbishop Lefebvre used to strongly recommend avoiding TV; he even recommended not having TV at all! The example of the good religious and good priests is there to encourage the youth and to know that with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ such virtue is possible!


 There are some other sins against the 6th commandment, which add some further perversions against God’s order: sins of violence such as rape, which deeply wound the victim; sins against nature such as sodomy, which God calls an “abomination” (Lev. 18:22), or even worse such as bestiality; sins against the family, such as incest, which St Paul punished by excommunication! (1 Cor. 5:1-5). Sins of paedophilia, i.e. abusing children, which are very grievous. With the growing immorality of the modern world, these sins have multiplied and brought terrible corruption to today’s society.


 We have already seen the sins of contraception, sterilisation and abortion against the 5th commandment, because of the mutilation and killing they involve, but these sins are also against the 6th commandment, being the ultimate refusal of the transmission of life. Note that they were already found in ancient times, but have multiplied in the modern world beyond measure: in the Old Testament, it is mentioned that God put himself Onan, the son of Judah, to death for his cheating in the marriage, by withdrawal: and this grievous sin is thus called “onanism” by the Church. When the 20th century Popes condemned the modern means of contraception, they did no novelties: though the means were new, the doctrine was old and was found since this condemnation of onanism by God himself in the Old Testament; that condemnation was often repeated by the Fathers of the Church.


 The 6th commandment also forbids masturbation or self-abuse, both in and out of the marriage. This is sheer selfishness and slavery of the flesh; it is thus a perversion of love. It must be said that marriage is not a permission to do anything one wants, not a pig-stall, but requires the practice of the virtue of temperance, i.e. a certain moderation of the appetites. Archbishop Lefebvre used to say that marriage is a “beautiful school of chastity”. St Paul says: “Let marriage be honourable in all, and the bed immaculate. For fornicators and adulterers God will judge”(Heb. 13:4).

 One last sin against the 6th Commandment is immodesty. All the other sins exposed before are grievous sins, because the transmission of life is a grave matter. Immodesty may be venial when it is only a remote scandal, but may also be mortal, especially when it is a real scandal for others or when done explicitly with the purpose of seducing. Modesty on the contrary is a beautiful virtue, and it is the guardian of chastity: it is the shining of the beauty of the soul over the body; modest women are much more beautiful, of the real beauty, that of the soul, which is much more lasting than the fleeting beauty of the body.


 Hedonism, the search for pleasures as ultimate end, is spread so much in the modern world and does countless ravages in souls. This is not at all the spirit of Christ. Indeed St Paul wrote: “the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: they that belong to Christ, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences” (Gal. 5:17, 24). And again: “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of iniquity unto sin; but present yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of justice unto God” (Rom. 6:13). And again: “I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:27).


 Some people today think that it is not possible to obey the 6th Commandment. This is absolutely false. By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is possible to obey the 6th and all the other Commandments, in such a way as to avoid all mortal sin. Only our Lady, through the privilege of the Immaculate Conception, has been preserved from all venial sin and from all sins at all; even Saints have had small venial sins, and everyone must wage a life-long struggle against sin; but with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ it is possible to live without mortal sin after one’s conversion.


 This Easter time is there to prove it to us. Indeed St Paul said to the Romans: “Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over him” (Rom. 6:9). St Thomas Aquinas explains that the risen life of Christ is the pattern of the “new life” that we received at Baptism and that we recover in the sacrament of penance. Hence the fact that the risen Christ dies no more is the guarantee that the new spiritual life we received can “die no more”, i.e. we can avoid all mortal sins by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is thus truly a beginning of everlasting life, as Jesus said: “He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting” (Jn. 3:36). “Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life” (Jn. 6:48). “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day” (Jn. 6:55): he already has here below the beginning of everlasting life of the soul, and will have everlasting life of the body at the end of the world.

 Another proof that it is possible to obey the 6th Commandment is that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is capable even to raise certain souls to a higher virtue, that of consecrated virginity: if it can give the higher virtue, it can certainly give the lower one. Hence the example of good priests, monks and nuns is a great inspiration for the faithful to be pure and faithful in their marriage. By cultivating the esteem for consecrated virginity among their children, parents and educators will help them to practice the basic virtue of chastity. It is much better not even to start in the wrong way, to avoid all accidents, rather than to try to correct evil habits, or to repair the damages of sin: an unbroken vase is more beautiful than a broken one that has been glued back together! Do not compromise with sin!


 As impurities are the corruption of love, obedience to the 6th Commandment assures the protection of true love, and opens the soul to the contemplation of Divine Love: “Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8). “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord” (Ps. 118:1). Jesus loves purity, Jesus loves virginity: the “disciple whom Jesus loved” was the virgin disciple, St John!


 The great means for the practice of the 6th Commandment are prayer, penance, frequentation of the Sacrament of penance and Holy Eucharist, and a great devotion to our Lady. Prayer is necessary for salvation: he who prays saves his soul, but he who does not pray damns his soul! Prayer is necessary in general, but especially in the struggle for the virtue of purity: indeed, because of the wound of original sin, by which we have lost the automatic control over our senses, we need the help of God to control our emotions, our imagination: and we do get that help when we pray. Pray in temptation and you will not fall! I will go so far as to say that it is impossible to fall as long as you pray truly. If the temptation continues, continue to pray! Don’t stop until you have obtained the complete victory and temptation is gone. Then don’t fail to give thanks to God.


 The second mean is penance: combined with prayer it is a very powerful mean to obtain the victory over all kind of temptations but especially over lust. I do recommend kneeling on your fingers and praying some hail Marys until the temptation is gone: very powerful mean unto victory! Penance is required also in order to make reparation for sin. In order to encourage people to go to Confession, the Church has lessened the penance imposed in Confession, compared with what it was at the beginning of the Church! But we should not think that a few prayers are enough to make worthy reparation for our sins: we need to do real penance, and to unite it with the Sacrifice of our Lord on the Cross! Otherwise we will have a big debt to pay in Purgatory! Penance united with Christ’s sacrifice both makes reparation for the past sins and prevents the future ones!


 The third means is the frequentation of the sacraments. Don’t wait to fall into mortal sin before you go to confession: go to confession before you fall into mortal sin, precisely in order not fall into mortal sin! Venial sins are sufficient matter for confession. You do not wait to fall in the mud to take a shower; daily sweat is a sufficient reason to take a regular shower: so are daily venial sins sufficient reasons to go to confession frequently. That frequent confession is part of the battle. The sacramental grace of Confession is precisely to help avoiding sin in the future! Also the Sacrament of the holy Eucharist is very important: it strengthens the soul, elevates the mind to heavenly joys, it also gives a love of the Cross because it is the fruit of the Sacrifice: and the Cross is the opposite of sin. The love of the cross is the opposite of the love of pleasures! And the longing for the Holy Eucharist helps one to keep one’s soul free from sin. And after communion the remembrance of that grace reminds us that we ought to live worthily of our Lord Jesus Christ!


 The fourth – and necessary – means to practice of 6th Commandment is a true and deep devotion to our Lady: she is the most beautiful model of purity and chastity; she is a mother, who loves helping cleaning her children; her example, her protection, her help are very powerful means. Let us call upon her help right away in temptation and the unclean devil will flee. She is the “Mother of Mercy” always ready to receive the repentant sinner, and even to help the not-yet repentant one to come to true penance.


 Nothing unclean can enter Heaven: “Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord: or who shall stand in his holy place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbour” (Ps. 23:3-4). “Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? or who shall rest in thy holy hill? He that walketh without blemish, and worketh justice” (Ps. 14:1-2). Hence our Lord Himself says: “Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8)


 May we, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, so practice this 6th Commandment (and the others) so that we may reach that beatific vision of God, which will be eternal joy, with our Lady and all the Saints!  Amen.   


 Fr. Lainney(sspxasia)