To keep Aleteia free of charge and radiate the hope that is within you,
No human relationship is authentic without fidelity and loyalty, Pope Francis said during the general audience on Oct. 24th, in taking up the 6th Commandment — thou shalt not commit adultery — in his catechesis series on the Commandments.
“One cannot love only as long as ‘it’s convenient’; love manifests itself beyond the threshold of one’s own advantage, when everything is given without reserve,” the pope said. And citing the Catechism, he said that love “cannot be an arrangement ‘until further notice.’”
Fidelity is the characteristic of mature human relationships, he said, even in friendship, as a friend “proves himself authentic because he remains a friend in all circumstances.”
Of course Christ is the exemplar of this, “the faithful Friend who welcomes us even when we make mistakes and always wants what is good for us, even when we do not deserve it.”
Francis noted that this unconditional love is a human need, “and those who do not receive this acceptance carry within themselves a certain incompleteness, often without knowing it.”
A heart lacking unconditional love seeks “surrogates,” and accepts “compromises and mediocrity that have only a vague flavour of love.”
The risk is calling unripe and immature relationships “love,” with the illusion of finding the light of life in something that is at best only a reflection of it.
The pope warned that this leads us to give too much weight to physical attraction, for example. Though a gift of God, physical attraction is merely to “prepare the way” for an “authentic and faithful relationship.”
Fidelity is indeed a way of being, a style of life. One works with loyalty, one speaks with sincerity, one remains faithful to the truth in one’s own thoughts, in one’s own actions. A life woven in fidelity is expressed in all dimensions and leads us to be men and women who are faithful and trustworthy in every circumstance.
However, Francis affirmed, human nature is not enough to bring us to such a “beautiful life.”
It is necessary for God’s faithfulness to enter into our existence, to spread to us. This Sixth Word calls us to turn our gaze to Christ, Who with His fidelity can take from us our adulterous heart and give us a faithful heart. In Him, and only in Him, is there love without reserve or changes of mind, complete giving without parentheses, and the tenacity of full acceptance.
See the Holy Father’s series on The Commandments here: