The Ninth Commandment - You Shall Not Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife
by Deacon Tom Frankenfield
Robin and Jan were two young children who were lucky to have a grandmother who loved them and always invited them to visit her. For them, it was a great adventure to visit Grandma. She made Robin and Jan the total center of her attention and the kids knew they we completely and unconditionally loved by Grandma. Robin and Jan enjoyed all of her stories and her songs but they especially loved Grandma’s food. From fresh cookies and sweets, to home-made cakes, Grandma’s food put a huge smile on their faces and made their bellies’ feel tighter.
On this particular day, Grandma was working in the kitchen making a wonderful lunch of home-made pizza with fresh cheeses, meats and sauce. Whenever Grandma cooked she would hum and sing. She had so much joy that wherever she went, that joy would gush forth in the form of song. Robin and Jan were always full of joy, too and sometimes Robin and Jan were a bit mischievous. On this day Robin and Jan snuck into the attic and knew they couldn’t get caught, as long as they could hear Grandma singing while she cooked.
Robin and Jan loved Grandma’s attic because it had lots really cool stuff! There were tons of treasures from the past. Grandma made sure everything in the attic was organized and neatly stored in boxes and storage containers. On days she felt lonely, Grandma would go into the attic to remember her past and rekindle the feelings of love from days gone by.
Soon, Robin and Jan explored. They looked into a box full of old style dresses that were all ironed and neatly folded. From box to box, they went exploring, while getting more and more engrossed. Suddenly an old letter fell out of one of the boxes. The two children looked at each other and with a sneaky smile. Jan opened the letter. “Wow!” Said Jan, it is from Grandpa.
Grandpa died 2 years earlier and this was actually a letter that he wrote. They looked closely at the date and it said 1945. It was from Grandpa’s days in the Army during World War II. The paper had yellowed but the words were very clear. The letter said:
My dear and sweetest Ellen,
I miss you greatly and still I continue to love you with all my heart. When the time comes, I will come to you as fast as I can. It I could run on water, I would go at full speed, jumping from white capped wave to white capped wave to get to you as fast as possible. If I could fly, I would soar through the skies to be with you--the one I love.
Please remember as you read this letter that you have my complete and unconditional love. While other men are tempted to be with other women or look at impure books and magazines, I promise that I will never do that. I will never ruin the special love I have for you in my heart. I know that my love for you is strong and that I have God’s support to help me in that love all the days of my life…
There was lots of other mushy stuff that made the kids giggle and they decided to return the letter to the envelope. As they were putting the letter away, they realized that Grandma’s humming had stopped. They looked up and looking down on them was Grandma.
With a very serious look on her face, Grandma said, “Could I please have that letter, it is special to me.” Robin and Jan though, “Oh gosh, we are in big trouble for reading this letter.”
To their surprise, Grandma sat with them on the attic floor and said, “Kids, you need to know why this letter is so important. It is a lesson about God’s love. For in today’s world, with all the bad things you can see on television, in the movies and in magazines, God’s plan of love for married couples gets hidden.”
Grandma continued, “You need to know that in the Sacrament of Matrimony God gives us the special gift of a spouse to love for our entire life. The gift of marriage is a special bond between a man a woman. God would never want any other man or woman to take this gift away. So, couples are not to be with anyone else and we are not to wish that we had another husband or wife who has more money, better looks or more intelligence”
Grandma further said, “God thought this was so important, that He included it in the 10 commandments and wrote them on the tablets for the entire world to know. We are talking about the 9th Commandment: ‘You Shall Not Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife.’” Grandma insured them the rule also applies to Husbands.
All of a sudden, Grandma let out a loud laugh as she said, “Enough of this get down those stairs and get some pizza while it is still hot.”
In our story, Robin and Jan realized that each of us should only love the one God chooses for us. Only then, can we be happy in life and pass happiness to others like the love Grandpa passed to Grandma. Because she was loved, she could pass that love to them.
My friends don’t look at the television, movies, music or magazines for your model of love. Look to God to guide you to those who work hard to love their spouses and enjoy the gift of the Sacrament of Matrimony so they don’t look at others’ spouses.
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