“Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”
St. Paul is very blunt in warning us against indulging our disordered desires. We might be tempted to disdain our sexual desires altogether. Yet this is not St. Paul’s point. He is warning against disordered desires. Our sexual nature is a gift from God that allows us to participate in God’s creative and life-giving action. When we use that gift for disordered ends, then we are destroying relationships rather than creating them. Promiscuity and lust do not strengthen relationships between husbands and wives, nor do they order us toward stable society in our homes and communities. Orgies, drunkenness, rivalry, and jealousy drive us apart and demean us. We are called to greatness, not base indulgence.
Disordered affections break us down. We are called to something higher, something greater than ourselves, and this greater relationship in Christ demands that we order ourselves toward Christ in all things, including our relationships. I can judge whether my desires are ordered or disordered based on whether or not they will bring me closer to God, to my spouse, to my family. I can take St. Paul’s advice and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” inviting Jesus into every part of my life and relationships. I can share with Him my inmost desires and ask Him to reform my heart in His image.
Advent is a time to put our house in order so that we may be ready to welcome Jesus. This applies to our innermost selves as well as our homes. Let us take the time this Advent to honestly examine our lives and make the necessary changes that will re-order us toward God, toward healthy relationships with family and friends. Let us “put on the armor of light” and arm ourselves for battle. “For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
Peace in Christ, Today’s Readings: Is 2:1-5; Rom 13:11-14