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Adultery


Thursday, March 8, 2012 – Proverbs 5 – Adultery

On Monday we reflected on the many kinds of divorce we experience in life: divorce from workplaces, divorce from communities, divorce from causes, family and friends.  Today’s chapter in Proverbs cautions us that there are also many ways to commit adultery. 

Unfaithfulness to ourselves can lure us into thinking that we do not need to care for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves.  We begin to believe that we do not need to attend to regular healthy exercise or diet, regular prayer and worship, regular play time balanced by regular play time.  This unfaithfulness to the care of what is holy in us lures us into believing the words of Satan in Paradise . . . that we can be our own gods.

Infidelity to a vow separates us from our principles and our integrity.  It shatters the authentic self.  Betrayal of an intimate relationship can happen physically or in our minds . . . and in either case it is the same because it causes damage to our relationship with God in both overt and subtle ways.  It separates us from all that is sacred.  Even when we think we “have all the bases covered”, when we tell ourselves and others that “it is for the best”, this unilateral removal of ourselves from something we know to be holy and true begins an almost imperceptible erosion of our relationship with God into relativism. 

How do we know we have stepped into adultery to self and others and God?

When we consider a familiar habit or our own comfort before all else.  When we relax into avoiding difficult tasks because there is no immediate self-benefit.  When we commiserate with those who support our own and others’ poor choices.  When we become slave to anything but God.  When we become numb to both suffering . . . and to true joy.  When we put aside praying for those who harm us.  When we become smug knowing that we have avoided the cross we are meant to bear.

Sooner or later we must come to an accounting of our actions – or lack of them – in this life.  These are the threads that are woven into our heavenly garment.  What will we be wearing in the next life?  Scanty rags or capacious robes?  We do not have far to look to find the answer.

Sensual adultery is the most obvious brand of betrayal to pinpoint and describe; and most of us have likely escaped this obvious indiscretion.  The more elusive forms of infidelity are harder to see and name; yet they are still the calling card of The Evil One.  The initial succumbing to the honeyed tongue is the entrée into a life where no one trusts anything, where self-sufficiency is worshiped, and value is measured in how safe we have kept ourselves from feeling the wounds we have inflicted on self and others. 

Oh, why did I hate instruction, and my heart spurn reproof!  And why did I not listen to the voice of my teachers, nor to my instruction incline my ear! 

No sin is private, no straying goes unnoticed by the one who matters in all of this. 

For each man’s ways are plain to the Lord’s sight; all their paths he surveys; by his own iniquities the wicked man will be caught, in the meshes of his own self he will be held fast;  he will die from lack of discipline, through the greatness of his folly he will be lost.

Lent brings us all into a time when we are offered a clear choice as in the parable we read Monday of Lazarus the Beggar and the Rich Man.  Now is the time to continue our examination of the sincerity of our words, the purity of our actions.  Now is the time to be attentive to Wisdom and her instruction.  Now is the time to make reparations, to bind wounds and heal ruptures.  Now is the time to return in fidelity to our vocation of living The Word as best we are able.

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