Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  602 / 904 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 602 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

602

Part Three

2514

St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or con­

cupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.

301

In

the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids

carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another’s goods.

2515

Etymologically, “concupiscence” can refer to any intense

form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular

meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the

operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it

with the rebellion of the “flesh” against the “spirit.”

302

Concupis­

cence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man’s

moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man

to commit sins.

303

2516

Because man is a

composite being, spirit and body,

there

already exists a certain tension in him; a certain struggle of tenden­

cies between “spirit” and “flesh” develops. But in fact this struggle

belongs to the heritage of sin. It is a consequence of sin and at the

same time a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience of

the spiritual battle:

For the Apostle it is not a matter of despising and condemn­

ing the body which with the spiritual soul constitutes man’s

nature and personal subjectivity. Rather, he is concerned

with the morally

good

or

bad

works, or better, the permanent

dispositions—virtues and vices—which are the fruit of

submission (in the first case) or of

resistance

(in the second

case) to

the saving action of the Holy Spirit.

For this reason the

Apostle writes: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by

the Spirit.”

304

I.

P

urification of

the

H

eart

2517

The heart is the seat of moral personality: “Out of the heart

come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication. . . .”

305

The

struggle against carnal covetousness entails purifying the heart

and practicing temperance:

301 Cf.

1 Jn

2:16.

302 Cf.

Gal

5:16, 17, 24;

Eph

2:3.

303 Cf.

Gen

3:11; Council of Trent: DS 1515.

304 John Paul II,

DeV

55; cf.

Gal

5:25.

305

Mt

15:19.

377, 400

405

362

407

368

1809