Adultery

Then the Scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a  woman caught in adultery.  And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses, in the law, commanded that such should be stoned.  But what do You say?  But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.  So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  And again, He stooped down and wrote on the ground.  Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.

And when Jesus was left alone, and the woman was standing in the midst.  He raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?  Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.”  And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. 

He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

No one is immune.  No one is exempt.  No one ought to think, and none of us should ever say “How does a guy like Tiger, John Edwards, Mel Gibson, Kobe Bryant __________ (fill in the blank)  fall into adultery?”  “I mean, what were they thinking…he has it all?”   “Why would he risk everything like that?”  “Why wasn’t he more careful?  “For goodness sake he’s married to a Swedish bikini model what more does he want?”  And so it goes with our self-righteousness accusations.  And while spouting our best, ‘that would never happen to me’ attitude, and while vilifying our culture’s supposed role models, it’s at that very moment when condemnation slips from our lips, that our eyes, and our lust, wander over toward a co-worker walking by, noticing her or him in a sexual way – imagining ‘what might be’.  We, are like the Pharisees with stones in hand, who desire to  justify ourselves by saying, “Hey, I look – but I don’t touch.  I would never actually do anything”  – but in fact – you just did.  At that very moment, we have fallen just like Tiger and John.  We walk away dropping our stones, knowing that in the woman on the ground, we find ourselves.

Make no mistake about it.  Adultery is sin.  God is very clear.  One man.  One woman.  Chaste before and during marriage.  Offering themselves only and always to each other, in the confines of sacred marriage until death parts them.  Imagine the pain and devastation in people’s lives that could have been avoided, if they only knew God’s plan, and for others who knew, imagine the suffering that could have been alleviated if they lived by those plans.  Our Passions are good gifts from God, but they are meant to be controlled and channeled into virtue – not vice.  Selfish Lust must always die to Sacrificial Love.  True love is the ability to sacrifice for another, to put them ahead of me.

This is freedom.  This is God’s very best for us.

So how do we fall? 

Better yet how do we prevent ourselves from falling, in a culture that is hell-bent on  tantalizing and teasing us in every moment of everyday, with every new technology that opens a world wide web of temptation?

First, don’t fight alone.  If you do, you’ll die.  But we stand with, and on, the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and we listen to the voices of our Mothers and Fathers in the faith.  Here is way to begin fighting the sin of adultery, and the place to start is by saying like the woman at Jesus’ feet, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner!”

What shall we say about adultery?  Let us ask an adulterer why he commits this sin.  “It is the tyranny of lust”, he replies.  “Why”, we ask, “are you under this tyranny?  Why could you not satisfy your sexual desire through intercourse with your spouse?”  The adulterer replies, “I am consumed with passion for someone else’s spouse.”  Yet this very reply reveals the contradiction in which the adulterer places himself.  If it is physical lust which impels him, then he could resist that lust; no physical desire is stronger than the power of the soul to resist it.  If it is loving passion which impels him, then he should be repelled by the very thought of adultery: a truly loving man could not indulge his love for someone else’s wife at the expense of his own wife.  Besides, love can never force someone to do anything: love is gentle not violent, even when it is passionate.  Sexual desire is a very powerful craving which even a life of celibacy does not suppress. 

 But adultery is always a matter of choice; no amount of lust, and no passion of love, can overwhelm a person’s capacity to choose between fidelity and betrayal.   – St. John Chrysostom

Yes, we can fall.  Sometimes we do.  Repentance and contrition brings mercy.  But the good news of Christ for His people  is that we don’t have to fall!  Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.”  In other words  cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and fight back!  Satan is defeated, we can control our passions, we can kill lust and keep love, we are not like animals who have no ability to say ‘no’ to primal passions.  Unlike them, we have given the gift of rational CHOICE.

So, for the sake of our souls, our spouses, our children, our culture – our legacy.   In the power of Jesus and His Church and Her sacred Mysteries:  Say no to Lust.  It’s a lie.  Say yes to Love.  Say no to immorality.   It’s a lie.   Say yes to fidelity.   Choose life…that you may live.  We are saved in Community (i.e The Church) we are damned in isolation.

Whoever follows Me shall not walk in darkness,

but have the light of life.

Anaphora!

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