Acute Awareness in Examining Our Consciences|
Sister Mary Lucy Astuto
Several articles in recent weeks have been presenting an examination of
conscience. They can be found in the archives of this website. I encourage you to print these
articles out and refer to them for helping you make a good confession.
My reference is a booklet entitled: A Contemporary Adult Guide to
Conscience for the Sacrament of Confession by Fr. Richard J. Rego.
Today I will treat the Ninth Commandment, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.”
forbids covetousness for another person(s).
To “covet” means to desire inordinately. It certainly is not wrong to
desire things that we are
permitted to have. For example, we all need food, shelter, and clothes.
Certainly, married people may
desire to share conjugal love with their spouses. However, to desire
anything that we are not morally
permitted to have or to desire anything to the point that we would be willing
to sin in order to secure it, is
sinful and can often be mortally sinful and we must confess these before
going to receive Our Lord in
Regarding the Ninth Commandment Jesus said: “Every one who looks at a
woman lustfully has
already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). This
forbids “the would if I could mentality” for both single and married
persons. It forbids the DESIRE to
have sexual pleasure with anyone who is not lawfully a spouse. Even if the
action is not actually carried
out, to desire to do the action, if one could, is sinful and usually mortally
As humans, we cannot stop all thoughts and desires that first come into
our minds. However, we
can and must stop the ENTERTAINMENT of such thoughts, as soon as we recognize
them as thoughts
that we are not permitted to have. We, also, can avoid looking at impure
movies and pictures which can
arouse the “would if I could mentality.” We may not engage in bad reading.
How many novels are out
today that are read by so many that describe in detail sexual desires and
activities. How many people
commit mortal sins because they read these stories and then fantasize or act
out what they’ve read? How
anyone with a good conscience today can watch the impurities taking place on
TV and remain pure is
- Do you allow your children to watch French kissing, nudity (even partial)
and immoral and
impure acts on TV?
- What about telling dirty jokes at work or in front of
- Have you consented
to having impure thoughts?
- Have you neglected to control your imagination?
- Do you pray at once to
banish impure thoughts and temptations?
- Do you wear immodest clothing which
can arouse someone
else to sin?
- Do you keep company with people who speak impurely or tell
dirty jokes and stories?
you go to strip joints or bars?
- Do you subscribe to impure magazines?
you play games, such as strip
- Do you avoid all persons, places, and things which can lead you to
Those are called
“occasions of sin.”
In other words, dear reader, any thought, word, deed or omission that
excites the mind and/or
imagination to desire anything of a sexual nature, which is not our right by
justice and Sacrament, is a sin
against the Ninth Commandment and usually a mortal sin.
Next week, we shall consider how covetousness against our neighbor’s
goods is sinful.
God bless you!
For past columns by Sister Lucy, see GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER Archives
February 9, 2001
volume 12, no. 40
Sr. Mary Lucy's column GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER