Tag Archives: modesty

Catechesis on the Sixth and Ninth Commandments

5 Dec

Stone tabletsThis week we will treat the Sixth and Ninth Commandments together. First, we have the Sixth Commandment (Catechism, nos. 2331-2400):

You shall not commit adultery.

It is generally understood that this commandment applies not merely to adultery itself, but all misuses of one’s sexuality. Amidst a culture that is largely addicted to sex (see this amazing article by Dr. Peter Kreeft), this commandment calls us to reexamine how we understand the incredible gift of human sexuality.

The Ninth Commandment (Catechism, nos. 2514-33) provides:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

As we shall see, this commandment forbids cultivating thoughts and desires that are connected to actions forbidden by the Sixth Commandment.

It’s easy to look at the Sixth Commandment simply from the standpoint of prohibited activities. But if we look just a little deeper, we will quickly see it’s all about fostering the virtue of chastity. It is a moral virtue requiring much effort, but at the same time it’s a gift of God and a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is expressed in our friendship with others.

Chastity is related to the cardinal virtue of temperance, in that it helps us to moderate our sexual passions according to reason and Christian morality. All men and women are called to chastity according to our state in life. Chastity is not the same as continence or celibacy, which entails refraining from sexual activity. Even married people with active, healthy sex lives are called to live chastely. Sex is not evil. In fact it’s more than good. It’s holy.

The “theology of the body” taught by Blessed John Paul II has helped us to understand the gift of human sexuality in a healthy, more holistic way that recognizes the complementarity (see Catechism, no. 372) of man and woman. Theology of the body helps us to understand our sexuality as a way of seeking the good of others rather than using them as objects. Continue reading

Worship the Lord in Holy Attire!

27 Jun

Our family has always made a habit of trying to wear our “Sunday best” to Mass. Of course, this can be challenging when the “comfort index” reaches a decidedly uncomfortable level during the dog days of summer. Since I’m going to wear shorts and a t-shirt most of the day anyway, why go to the trouble of wearing one set of clothes to Mass only to run home an hour later to change?

Does the Bible have anything to say about this? Well, actually it does. In the Scriptures we read: “Worship the Lord in holy attire” (1 Chronicles 16:29; Psalm 29:2; 96:9). Similarly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that even our clothing for Mass “ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest” in Holy Communion (no. 1387).

There are many motives for dressing up for Sunday Mass. We want to make the Lord the priority in our lives and give Him honor and glory. Out of respect for our family and friends we dress up for weddings and funerals. Similarly, out of respect for our employer and colleagues we dress well for work. Doesn’t the Lord, our sovereign King, deserve at least as much? Continue reading