The 6th Commandment

“You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mt 5:27-28

The 6th commandment is not just some arbitrary rule that is imposed on you. Rather, it’s a prescription of how to live your best life. To practice the virtue of temperance is to live a chaste life. A life where you are not dominated by thoughts and actions of sex. You’ll be miserable if you hop from bar to bar, looking for a one-night stand. A meaningless life, dominated by sex will never be enough to fill the emptiness you will feel.

Imagine the scene, where the young man is enticed by the beautiful woman. She beckons for him and he resists because he loves another. Finally, the young man has a change of expression and one of determination and succumbs to his desires. Men and women have a choice, to master their passions or be enslaved to them. You can live a life of free choice or you can be moved by blind impulses.

Let’s say in the example above, the young man succumbs to his desires and is unfaithful, but his young bride never finds out. Is it ok then? There are two issues with this thought and first and foremost, is that nothing you do is unseen to the Lord. Nothing will go unpunished in a sinful life. The second is that you, yourself, know of your unfaithfulness. Even if you can’t express it, you know that you’ve failed. The demons in your head are in and they will continue to whisper to you, louder and louder; you are not free, but enslaved to the master of lies. Only through the sacrament of reconciliation and repentance can you find your burden eased.

In baptism, we are all called to live a chaste life. A life of chastity is a life of mastery over self and allows you to appreciate the integrity of another rather than reducing a person to their sexual function. The 6th commandment is not just about NOT committing adultery, but rather, its about loving one’s neighbor. The commandment is about the integrity of the person.

Not too often do you hear of the word chastity or chase other than as part of some joke (think chastity belt). Much like how today, we hear pride as a good thing to have, but when the good is bad (chase) and the bad is good (pride) do we know the devil is at work trying to trick us. “Chasity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.” CCC2337. When you are free from the desire, you can know yourself better, live a better and holy life and have a better relationship with your God, who loves you.

In the 6th commandment, at first, you see quiet simply that you must be faithful to your spouse. As you dig more, you come to realize that the 6th commandment is about, once again, love. It’s about the respect and integrity you must acknowledge about your fellow man. As we are drawn more and more closely to God and His love, we can live both a moral and free life but also an unflappable life in knowing God’s love always wins out.

Thank you for reading this blog today! God bless!

The 8th Commandment

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:15

How often have you thought this commandment was fairly straightforward? Don’t spread gossip about your neighbor and don’t lie. Most people would say, they don’t lie, but would most say they don’t get involved in gossip?

The 8th commandment is actually much more than what not to do (lie) but rather, what to do, tell and live the truth.

“So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:37

We are called to adhere to this commandment by speaking the Truth, and that Truth is that Jesus is our Lord, our God and our Savior. To deny this statement, is to deny the Truth, violating this commandment. Not only must we speak the Truth about Jesus, we must live it too. We must strive to live the truth as well as speak it. Our actions and are deeds should be shaped by the Truth. In all societies, we respect truthfulness and we rely on truth in our dealings. Life is hard when there is rampant distrust. As good Catholics, we must strive for living the Truth to testify to it.

If you do not bear truthfulness, in grave situations, you violate the truth to a greater degree. When you deny the Truth of the Lord, you rob someone of hearing the truth that saves.

Regarding every day matters, I hope it is obvious that truthfulness must have discretion. Not all truth must be shared. In many cases, the truth would only harm and in those instances, it is not necessary to speak the truth. If you know something embarrassing that happened, you are not obliged to share that truth or imagine you are at a dinner party, and the host asks how are the meatballs, it is not appropriate to tell him they are dry and tasteless.

Rash judgement also speaks to the truth. When someone gives you their opinion, its best to assume the best and ask for clarification if it differs. Often, many people speak from their heart about some touchy subjects and its important to try and understand their rationale, even if you disagree. How much better would any political or religious discussion be if you assumed that the person’s heart was in the right place, even if he or she is wrong?

Identifying objections to another’s faults, without purpose also violates the truth. Constructive criticism is important, but if it is delivered only to harm, then it does not align with truth. Silence and or discretion should be sought to protect others.

Truth that is scandalous should also be avoided in sharing. When you are taken into confidence about a sensitive subject, that confidant’s subject should end with you. How easy would it be to then take another into that same confidence? For example, “I’m going to tell you something I heard, but you can’t repeat it…” often a recipe for disaster.

I’m often told that in life you just need to be a nice person and if you are a nice person, you don’t need a Church or a religion. The 8th Commandment might seem obvious and that nice people know it, but I don’t know of one person in this world that has mastered the 8th Commandment (me included). I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t benefit in their life from the Church instructing oneself to the 8th Commandment.

The Church calls us to live a better more truthful life. We strive to adhere to this life as the Bible prescribes and the Church teaches. Happy learning!

God Bless!