St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Catechesis on the Commandments, 11 / B: Our nuptial vocation finds its fullness in Christ
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today I would like to complete the catechesis on the Sixth Word of the Decalogue - "Do not commit adultery" -, highlighting that the faithful love of Christ is the light to live the beauty of human affectivity. In fact, our emotional dimension is a call to love, which manifests itself in fidelity, acceptance and mercy. This is very important. How does love manifest itself? In fidelity, in acceptance and in mercy.
However, it should not be forgotten that this commandment refers explicitly to marriage fidelity, and therefore it is good to reflect more deeply on its spousal meaning. This passage from the Scriptures, this passage from the Letter of St. Paul, is revolutionary! To think, with the anthropology of that time, and to say that the husband must love his wife as Christ loves the Church: but it is a revolution! Perhaps, at that time, it is the most revolutionary thing that has been said about marriage. Always on the road of love. We can ask ourselves: this command of fidelity, to whom is it destined? Only for the spouses? In reality, this command is for everyone, it is a paternal Word of God addressed to every man and woman.
Let us remember that the path of human maturity is the path itself of love that goes from receiving care to the ability to offer care, from receiving life to the ability to give life. To become adult men and women means to arrive at the spousal and parental attitude, which manifests itself in the various situations of life as the ability to take upon oneself the weight of someone else and to love it without ambiguity. It is therefore a global attitude of the person who knows how to take reality and knows how to enter into a profound relationship with others.
Who then is the adulterer, the lustful, the unfaithful? He is an immature person, who keeps his own life for himself and interprets situations based on his own well-being and satisfaction. So, to get married, it is not enough to celebrate the wedding! We need to make a journey from the "I" to the "us", to think for ourselves and to think in two, to live alone and to live in harsh conditions: it is a beautiful path, it is a beautiful path. When we come to decentralize ourselves, then every act is spousal: we work, we talk, we decide, we meet others with a welcoming and oblative attitude.
Every Christian vocation, in this sense, - we can now widen the perspective a little, and say that every Christian vocation, in this sense, is spousal. The priesthood is because it is the call, in Christ and in the Church, to serve the community with all the affection, concrete care and wisdom that the Lord gives. The Church does not need aspirants to the role of priests, they do not serve, better that they stay at home - but they serve men to whom the Holy Spirit touches the heart with an unconditional love for the Bride of Christ. In the priesthood one loves God's people with all the paternity, tenderness and strength of a husband and a father. Thus also consecrated virginity in Christ is lived with fidelity and joy as a spousal and fruitful relationship of motherhood and fatherhood.
I repeat: every Christian vocation is spousal, because it is the fruit of the bond of love in which we are all regenerated, the bond of love with Christ, as Paul's passage at the beginning reminded us. Starting from his fidelity, his tenderness, his generosity, we look with faith at marriage and every vocation, and we understand the full meaning of sexuality.
The human creature, in its inseparable unity of spirit and body, and in its masculine and feminine polarity, is a very good reality, destined to love and be loved. The human body is not an instrument of pleasure, but the place of our call to love, and in authentic love there is no room for lust and for its superficiality. Men and women deserve more than this!
Therefore, the Word "Do not commit adultery", even if in negative form, directs us to our original call, that is to the full and faithful spousal love, which Jesus Christ has revealed to us and given us (cf. Rom 12: 1).
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