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by Ottavio De Bertolis sj

We have already mentioned the profound meaning of the sixth commandment, which is not to repress, but to free our affectivity and our sexuality itself. In fact, it is evident that these impulses can be disordered and be experienced in a destructive way, that is, not human, but simply animal: experienced in this way, they are not even satisfying, precisely because love is not a simple mechanics of organs, but an agreement of souls. , or, if you prefer, of hearts. Each of us, married or not, lay person or priest, is marked by the profound need to love and be loved: if we thought that chastity consists in suppressing this, we would be completely off track. In this sense, as we mentioned, the sixth commandment does not teach us to repress, but to integrate and live more fully the world of our affections, because it is instead possible to live them badly or "less".

Therefore "do not commit adultery" teaches us first of all not to consider ourselves only as bodies: that is, not to separate sex from love, which is instead very common

if you consider it only as a pastime or a pleasant game. Understood in this way, it acquires a different meaning: animals mate, but the union of men is something different and greater, even if it is always exposed to the risk and possibility of being just like that of animals. For this reason, learning to wait, to mature one's human relationship in terms of a shared and profound love and not of a simple whim, may not be easy, especially since there are many external influences to the contrary - it is certainly a question of going against the current mentality - and ultimately our very instincts "work against", as they say.
I'm always struck by the fact that there are many guys who tell their girlfriend: "If you love me, you have to take the pill." I would be very offended if they said something like that to me, believing that I am not meant to be someone else's entertainment. Yet, and this applies to both men and women, love and sex, which in themselves indicate the maximum possible communion between people, can in fact express the maximum dominion or power of one over the other, or vice versa. The Genesis myth expresses this with the words: “Your instinct will be towards your husband, but he will dominate you”. The fruit of sin is precisely that the two, created similar and reciprocal, become not companions but rivals: the man becomes the "macho", the dominant male who doesn't let one get away, and the woman becomes the seductress, making use of her own erotic power. In this way, they become a caricature of what they should be: and in fact you see many fifty-year-olds or older playing at being high school students, and many girls selling themselves - because in fact it is a sale - to the highest bidder.
But this happens precisely when you have lost the meaning of life, and therefore of yourself, that is, of your own dignity: you throw yourself away when deep down you think that you are worth nothing, and that no one is worth anything, and that love doesn't actually exist. I behave like a pig if I think I am one, and that everyone is one, including girls: we therefore see that these behaviors do not have their roots in themselves, but in a deeper "feeling", which faith and the encounter with Christ, on the other hand, purifies and renews.
Thus sexuality can be experienced as an escape: when our inner world is sad, when everything is grey, eroticism is a rush of vitality, and for this reason it is sought. In this sense, it is the cheapest equivalent of drugs or alcohol: you basically seek sex to forget a meaningless life. But this leads even more to depression, because a life without love is not illuminated by sex, but by love itself: and so everything is reduced to a joyless search for joy. Once again the observation of that psychologist we spoke about returns: do not separate sexuality from love and fertility, so as not to become internally divided or schizophrenic. Of course, it's a journey for everyone and it's probably inevitable that you'll make mistakes in one way or another.
I always remember in 2000, on a television program on World Youth Day, the host asked with a certain irony to a young man who had participated: "But, in short, the Pope speaks clearly: no sex, neither before nor outside of marriage. You applaud him a lot, but then, how do you do it?”. The big boy replied with a very beautiful word, not hypocritical (no one is a saint in this matter), and not even as the journalist expected: “Love is a language. When learning a language, mistakes are inevitable. But woe betide me if I said that those were not mistakes, because then I would no longer learn the language I want to learn."


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