Watching the HBO Sopranos series recently, I was captivated by the story of a mobster, Tony Soprano, who does horrible things to make a living and yet has to deal with the typical problems every father, son, husband, and brother have to face.

The three episodes I have watched could be entitled “The Commandments We Do Not Keep: A Guide to Living an Immoral Life.”

Some of the mobsters do not seem to have any pangs of guilt about their transgressions, but Tony Soprano’s visits to a therapist give evidence that Tony does experience guilt about his egregious violations of the Ten Commandments.

In The Commandments We Keep: A Catholic Guide to Living a Moral Life, the third book in his Pillars of Faith series, Monsignor Peter Vaghi holds up the Ten Commandments for our generation.

“Living the faith is about free choices,” Vaghi suggests, “at home with our families, in the workplace, at places of recreation, and during the time we spend alone.”

Although following the Ten Commandments is essential, Vaghi recognizes that “the moral life is about life in Christ Jesus, about following him and living in him.”

At the end of the book, Vaghi appends a guide to confession and an examination of conscience.  These “exam” questions are designed to help us confront our sins, be forgiven, and not repeat them.

Tony Soprano first seeks out a therapist when his actions cause him to have panic attacks, and he experiences a loss of consciousness.  Sin has a corrosive effect on our souls and our bodies.  Without a way to confront our sins, the sins just multiply.

We do not need to lead the life of Tony Soprano to reap the benefits of reforming our actions.  When we strive to keep his commandments, God’s love is perfected in us.

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