St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, October 24th 2018
Catechesis on the Commandments, 11 / A: Do not commit adultery
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In our journey of catechesis on the Commandments we arrive today at the Sixth Word, which concerns the emotional and sexual dimension, and reads: "Do not commit adultery".
The immediate appeal is to fidelity, and indeed no human relationship is authentic without fidelity and loyalty.
One can not love only as long as "it is convenient"; love manifests itself just beyond the threshold of one's own advantage, when everything is given without reserve. As the Catechism states: "Love wants to be definitive. It can not be "until further notice" »(No. 1646). Fidelity is the characteristic of a free, mature, responsible human relationship. Even a friend proves himself authentic because he remains such in all circumstances, otherwise he is not a friend. Christ reveals true love, He who lives of the boundless love of the Father, and by virtue of this he is the faithful Friend who welcomes us even when we make mistakes and always wants our good, even when we do not deserve it.
The human being needs to be loved without conditions, and who does not receive this welcome brings with it a certain incompleteness, often without knowing it. The human heart tries to fill this void with surrogates, accepting compromises and mediocrity that love has only a vague taste. The risk is to call "love" of unripe and immature relationships, with the illusion of finding life's light in something that, at best, is only a reflection of it.
So it happens to overestimate for example the physical attraction, which in itself is a gift from God but is aimed at preparing the way for an authentic and faithful relationship with the person. As St. John Paul II said, the human being "is called to the full and mature spontaneity of relationships", which "is the gradual fruit of the discernment of the impulses of one's heart". It is something that is conquered, since every human being "must with perseverance and consistency learn what the meaning of the body is" (cf. Catechesis, 12 November 1980).
The call to married life requires, therefore, a careful discernment on the quality of the relationship and an engagement time to verify it. To enter the Sacrament of Marriage, the engaged couple must mature the certainty that in their bond there is the hand of God, who precedes them and accompanies them, and will allow them to say: "With the grace of Christ I promise to always be faithful to you" . They can not promise fidelity "in joy and pain, in health and in sickness", and to love and honor each other every day of their lives, only on the basis of good will or hope that "the thing works". They need to build on the solid ground of God's faithful love. And for this, before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony, we need careful preparation, I would say a catechumenate, because we play our whole life in love, and with the 'love is not joking. Three or four conferences given in the parish can not be defined as "preparation for marriage"; no, this is not preparation: this is fake preparation. And the responsibility of those who do this falls on him: on the parish priest, on the bishop who allows these things. The preparation must be ripe and it takes time. It is not a formal act: it is a sacrament. But one must prepare with a true catechumenate.
Fidelity is in fact a way of being, a way of life. One works with loyalty, one speaks sincerely, one remains faithful to the truth in one's own thoughts and actions. A life woven of fidelity is expressed in all dimensions and leads to being faithful and reliable men and women in all circumstances.
But to arrive at such a beautiful life our human nature is not enough; it is necessary that the fidelity of God enter into our existence, infect us. This Sixth Word calls us to turn our gaze to Christ, who with his fidelity can take from us an adulterous heart and give us a faithful heart. In him, and only in him, there is love without reserve and rethinking, complete giving without brackets and the tenacity of acceptance to the end.
From his death and resurrection comes our fidelity, from his unconditional love comes constancy in relationships. From communion with him, with the Father and with the Holy Spirit comes the communion among us and the ability to live in fidelity our bonds.