As I was driving today, trying to pray and examine my conscience — while staving-off non-stop questions from my four- and five-year-old girls — into my head popped this line from the aborted wedding scene in my favorite Shakespearean play, Much Ado About Nothing:

“Give not this rotten orange to your friend;
She’s but the sign and semblance of her honour.”

He further protests that he intends:

“Not to be married,
Not to knit my soul to an approved wanton.”

Or, as the hilarious SparkNotes “No Fear Shakespeare” translates it into modern English:

“Don’t insult a friend by giving him a beautiful orange that rots inside. She only appears honorable from the outside.”

And:

“I won’t be married. I won’t join my soul to such a proven slut.”

(Claudio, Act IV, Scene i)

I don’t usually think in Shakespeare, of course, but I just watched the excellent 1993 movie version a few nights ago.

Isn’t our reception of the Eucharist at Mass, and in a lesser way in spiritual communion, often this very sort of thing?! With whatever rot we’ve got inside of us (however we appear to others), we go to be joined to Our Lord. And — wonder of wonders — not only does He not refuse and make a scene as Claudio did, but He joins His Body and Soul to ours, over and over, if we but desire it! And, He offers to heal the rot, especially in Confession. Deo gratias!

Don’t insult a friend by giving him a beautiful orange that rots inside. She only appears honorable from the outside.
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