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Holy Father’s October 31 General Audience (Full Text)

Catechesis on the Sixth Word of the Decalogue

The October 31, 2018,  General Audience was held in St. Peter’s Square, where the Pope Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.

Continuing with the series of catecheses on the Commandments, in his address in Italian, the Pope focused his meditation on the theme: “Our spousal vocation finds its fullness in Christ” (Biblical passage: from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 5:25.28.31-32).

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present.

The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

* * *

The Holy Father’s Catechesis

 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” –, evidencing that the faithful love of Christ is light to live the beauty of human affectivity. In fact, our affective dimension is a call to love, which is manifested in fidelity, in hospitality, and in mercy. This is very important. How does love manifest itself? In fidelity, in hospitality, and in mercy.

Not forgotten, however, is that this Commandment refers explicitly to marital fidelity and, therefore, it’s good to reflect in greater depth on the spousal meaning. This passage of Scripture, this passage of the Letter of Saint Paul, is revolutionary! To think, with the anthropology of that time, and to say that a husband must love his wife as Christ loves the Church: but it’s a revolution! Perhaps, at that time, it was the most revolutionary thing said about marriage. Ever on the path of love, we can ask ourselves: to whom is this command of fidelity addressed — only to spouses? In reality, this command is for all; it’s a paternal Word of God addressed to every man and woman.

Let us recall that the way of human maturation is the course of love itself, which goes from receiving care to the capacity of offering care, from receiving life to the capacity of giving life.

 To become adult men and women means to be able to live the spousal and parental attitude, which manifests itself in the various situations of life, such as the capacity to take on oneself the burden of another and to love him without ambiguity. Therefore, it’s a global attitude of the person that is able to assume the reality and is able to enter into a profound relationship with others.

Who, then, is the adulterer, the lustful, the unfaithful one? It is an immature person, who has his life for himself and interprets situations on the basis of his own wellbeing and his own contentment. Therefore, to get married, it’s not enough to celebrate the marriage! One must undertake a journey from the “I” to the “We,” from thinking of oneself to thinking of two, from living alone to living in two: it’s a good journey; it’s a beautiful journey. When we succeed in de-centering ourselves, then every act is spousal: we work, we talk, we decide, we encounter others with a welcoming and oblative attitude.

In this sense, every Christian vocation — now we can extend the perspective somewhat, and say that every Christian vocation is, in this sense, spousal. The priesthood is so because it is the call, in Christ and in the Church, to serve a community with all the affection, concrete care and wisdom that the Lord gives. Aspirants to the role of the priest are of no use to the Church — no, they are of no use; it’s best that they stay at home –, but men are useful whose heart the Holy Spirit touches with a love without reservations for the Bride of Christ. In the priesthood, the People of God are loved with all the paternity, the tenderness and the strength of a husband and a father. Thus consecrated virginity in Christ is also lived with fidelity and joy as a spousal and fecund relationship of maternity and paternity.

I repeat: every Christian vocation is spousal because it is a fruit of the bond of love in which we are all regenerated, the bond of love with Christ, as the passage of Saint Paul, read at the beginning, reminds us. From its fidelity, from its tenderness, from is generosity we look with faith at marriage and at 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 to be loved and, in genuine love, there is no room for lust and for superficiality. Men and women deserve more than this!

Therefore, the Word “Do not commit adultery,” although in a negative way, orients us to our original call, namely, to full and faithful spousal love, which Jesus Christ has revealed and given to us (Cf. Romans 12:1).

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

  In Italian

 A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims.

I’m happy to receive the Chapter Members of the Religious Women of Mary Immaculate and the parish groups, especially those of Rome, Foggia, and Sarno.

I greet the participants in the pilgrimage organized by the Franciscan Secular Order of Italy; the personnel of the 132nd “Battering Ram” Terrestrial Artillery Regiment of Maniago; the groups of the Sailors’ National Association of Italy; the delegation of the Aleteia network and the blind sports group of Vicenza.

A particular thought goes to young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. Tomorrow we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints and, day after tomorrow, the Commemoration of all the deceased faithful. May the witness of faith of all those that have preceded us, reinforce in us the certainty that God accompanies each one on the path of life; He never abandons anyone to himself, and He wants all of us to be holy, as He is holy.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

About Virginia Forrester

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