Covet is old English. Its synonym is Desire. So, the ninth and tenth commandments say essentially;
Thou shall not desire your neighbour’s wife/husband;
Thou shall not desire your neighbour’s goods.
Desire is a kind of intense feeling that is hard to shake off and can be fed for it to grow and get more intense. To desire, in itself, is not a bad thing; what makes desire bad is when we desire the wrong things.
The ninth and tenth commandments are admonishing interior sins, to counsel people who may think that it’s the acts that matter.
In Matthew 5:28, Jesus Says
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”
Also, in Matthew 15:19, it is written
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”
Covet can take its form in a variety of ways; a morose form, in delight (bad imagination with no intention of carrying it out), bad desire (bad imagination with intentions of carrying it out), enjoyment (dwelling on a past sin in delight), etc.
Things to note about internal sins include;
> There’s a difference between feeling and consenting
> Interior sins are easier to commit
> Not all desires are bad desires
> We can conquer evil by drowning it in good
> Frequent sacraments – Confession (Penance) and Communion
> We should pray often especially placing ourselves always in the Presence of God
> We could also practice Mortification – to help us build self-control
> We must work intensely; just as the classic saying goes – an idle mind is the devil’s workshop
> We should practice humility
> We should also try to examine our conscience regularly and in the Presence of God.
> We could also go for Spiritual Direction, with a priest or devout Christian who knows us well. We should talk about our trmptations, being sincere before God and our spiritual guide.
We should always go to Our Lady in prayer, asking her to help us not to commit interior sins and to help us keep in mind the Presence of God always.