Lesson 69: Horse-power

The seventh commandment is Thou shalt not commit adultery. And My duty towards my neighbour is ... to keep my body in temperance, soberness, and chastity.

This is a commandment for married people, so I shall refer to it when the time comes for us to learn about Holy Matrimony. But it is also a commandment for the unmarried, such as you and I. It teaches us, not only our duty to our neighbours, but also our duty to ourselves.
Your body is good, not bad (Genesis i, 31). But since sin entered the world your will has been out of order, like a damaged clock, and does not control your body as it should. This is so with all of us, not only with you. So it is easy for N you to let your body become too fond of things good in themselves (food, dress, drink, going to the pictures). What each one of us has to learn—and it is often hard—is to say No to our bodies, to be their bosses and masters, to keep them under control (12). The sooner we begin to learn, the better for us and all our “neighbours.”

“Temperance” means “self-control”: not over-eating; too fond of sweets; too oftenat The Odeon in Hackney Road; liking bed so much that you are always late for school, Mass, work. “Soberness” doesn’t onlymean not “having oneoverthe eight,” being drunk (a disgusting habit); it means steadiness, reliability, mastership over your body. “Chastity” means “purity.”

This commandment means that a Christian owes it to God as well as to himself, or herself, not to let bad thoughts stay in the mind; not to look at pictures or books which suggest such thoughts; not to listen to rotten talk (if you have a friend who whispers about things you would not like your mother to hear, have done with the friend); not to play wrong games; not to do anything impure; to be clean in thought, word, deed.

Three great horses pull the dray that brings the beer to The Duke of York. Wouldn’t it be awful if they ran away? They don’t, because Bert their driver keeps them under control. A horse is a good servant; but a bad master, SO IS YOUR BODY.

Be boss, says this commandment. (St. Matthew, 5, 8) says our Lord.