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If God forbids something, whether it be killing, lying, stealing, fornicating, or anything else, he does so not just because these things are evil in themselves, but also because they make us evil, lowering our nature to the level of the beasts. In this context it is easy to understand St. Augustine’s exclamation: “What am I to you that you should command me to love you, and if I do not, are angry and threaten vast misery? Is it then a trifling sorrow not to love you?” Therefore the sixth commandment, though formulated negatively, is fully understood only within the context of the love of God — for this is how we are to understand that the prohibitive nature of the commandment actually entails positive dimensions. It makes little sense if we interpret it from an exclusively negative point of view; for indeed it is an invitation to love.
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