Booklet Nine The Commandments
I am Catholic
By Pat Miron
“What God commands He makes possible by His grace.” CCC 2082
Long before Jesus was conceived in the virgin womb of his Blessed Mother Mary by the power of God, and the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit, the great “I AM,” presented his chosen people, our Jewish ancestors, ten rules for life.” Moses said to God, ‘if I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO AM.’” Known originally as the Decalogue (which means “ten words”), and presented to Moses in stone they were expanded to over six hundred rules by the time of the birth of Jesus. Our Savior clarified their intent and explained their current application to our life in His Sermon on the Mount. (Matt: chapter five). We know them today as the Ten Commandments. The Church Council of Trent formally pronounced their always-binding obligation on mankind. cf. CCC 2068
Each Commandment is far more expansive in its intended application to our life than might be evident from a fast and simple reading of them. Our God is all knowing and all wise. Our knowledge and wisdom are limited. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to ask through prayer, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, The Holy Spirit, to enlighten our understanding, and give us the needed courage to do all that God asks and expects of us.
“The Ten Commandments state what is required in the love of God and love of neighbor. The first three concern the love of God, and the other seven love of neighbor.” CCC 2067
The First Commandment:
I am the Lord thy God, you shall have no strange god’s before me. “‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? ’And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.’ “ Matt: 22: 37-38 “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to all the congregation of the people of Israel, You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy. I am the Lord your God. Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God.‘ ” Liv: 19: 1-4
A basic understanding of this first rule for eternal life includes knowing that our God is a jealous God. “The Lord is a jealous God and avenging; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.” Nahum: 1: 1-2
“Other gods” means more than the molten images of Aaron, and are to include anyone, and anything that we place in preference to God, or permit to hinder our adoration or love of God. Family members, work, lust, greed, envy, jealously, hatred and sloth are but some of today’s custom made idols that interfere with us always placing God first.
The first commandment embraces the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity: “The first commandment and the virtue of Faith, requires us to nourish our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it.” CCC 2088 We are directed by Christ Himself to “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are Gods.” Matt: 22: 21 This obligates us to prayer, sacrifice, learning the truth and accepting it, avoiding all superstitious practices, avoiding Divination (the art of knowing and declaring future events) and magic. It also obligates us to the Church’s (God’s) rules for fast and abstinence, which by the way apply all year long; and are not limited to the Lenten season. The Church does however permit, giving up something else in place of red meat. Fridays continue as a day of sacrifice, fifty-two weeks a year. This is a grave obligation.
*In faith this Commandment demands that we recognize God as our Supreme Creator. We cannot explicitly deny His reality and presence (atheism), including His Sacred presence in the Holy Eucharist. It obligates us to praise, honor, worship and glorify Him in all that we do.
*The first commandment and the virtue of Hope are concerned with sins of despair and presumption. CCC 2090 – 2092 “By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God.” Presumption takes two forms. Either man presumes upon his own capabilities ,without assistance from God, or presumes upon God’s mercy hoping to gain forgiveness without conversion, repentance or merit.
*The first commandment and the virtue of Charity “enjoins us to love God above everything and all creatures for Him and because of Him.” CCC 2093 Not only are we to love God, (always the first and primary love of our hearts), but we are to love our neighbor (everyone, without regard to race, creed or color), as ourselves. cf. Matt: 6: 44 The virtuous practice of Charity also prohibits sins of indifference, ingratitude, negligence, acedia (spiritual sloth), and sins of pride.
The Second Commandment:
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” Say what you mean, and mean what you say. cf. Matt: 5: 33-34
The second commandment prescribes respect for the name of our Lord, and forbids all abuse of Gods name. Promises and oaths must be kept. We are not to blaspheme God, His saints or His only things. We are prohibited to use God’s good name to cover up a crime, or to reduce people to servitude. The second commandment prohibits perjury and all lying. “Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and His holy name. It is (usually) a grave (Mortal) sin. CCC 2148
“In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains: “Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘you shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Matt: 5:33-37
Every Christian is baptized with a Christian name (The name of a saint); therefore our names too are holy and are to be treated respectfully. We are to be mindful when we make the sign of the cross that we are calling on our Triune Godhead for grace. Do so with respect.
The Third Commandment:
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
In Old Testament times, “the Sabbath day” was Saturday, the seventh day of the week. It was always a day of rest. Today’s Jews continue the Old Testament tradition of Saturday as a holy day of praise and rest. Christians use Sunday as our Sabbath day, because it was on Easter Sunday that Christ rose form the dead. Thus it was on a Sunday that our life under grace began. “ For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but (now) under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? (No!)” Rom: 6: 14-15
“’You shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you; every one who profanes it shall be put to death. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. “ Ex: 31: 14-17
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; so the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mk: 2: 27-28
The concise message and directive of the Commandments is love obediently applied through an obligatory informed conscience.
“The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and His Eucharist is the heart of the Church’s life. “ CCC 2177 Participation in this most holy and awesome gift from God, is the single most important and significant source of grace available to us. It is grace from God in a most direct, unique and special manner; as it is Jesus Himself we receive in Holy Communion. We invite Jesus Himself into our souls and our bodies. The Real Jesus, not simply a symbol. Therefore this privilege of Sunday and Holy Day Holy Mass imposes on all Catholics, a solemn, grave obligation for weekly attendance and full, active participation as minimal worship, praise and thanksgiving to our Triune Godhead. Only serious matter like illness, childcare, or dispensation from ones pastor, can excuse our not fulfilling this obligation without committing Mortal sin.
“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matt: 5: 48
Obedience and copying are perfect ways to flatter someone. We should not be surprised that our God desires that we do both of these things for Him. God loves us perfectly, and desires that we love Him perfectly in return. In order to do this we must hear and obey. “ So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.” Heb: 4: 1-3 Sundays are a day of rest from unnecessary work. This is God’s plan and law. As our Creator he knows well that we too need a regular time of rest. It should be a family day, a day of good works, leisure, piety and relaxation. cf. CCC 2184, 2185
The Holy Days of Obligation are:
“In accord with CIC 1246, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops decrees that the holydays of obligation to be observed in the United States are the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God; the solemnity of the Ascension; the solemnity of the Assumption; the solemnity of All Saints; the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception; the solemnity of Christmas. The solemnity of the Epiphany shall be transferred to the first Sunday following January 1st; the solemnity of Corpus Christi shall be observed on the second Sunday following Pentecost. When the solemnities of Mary, Mother of God, the Assumption, and All Saints fall on a Saturday or a Monday they will not be observed as holy days of obligation.” Note: The Feast of The Ascension has in many areas has been moved to the following Sunday.
The Fourth Commandment:
Honor your father and your mother. ” Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.’ ‘ Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.’ “ Rom: 12: 7 This commandment enjoins not only children, but also binds parents with specific responsibilities toward their offspring and each other.
Christ never failed to demonstrate in His own life’s example on earth, all that He commanded us. “All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.’ He said to them, ‘How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ They did not understand the saying, which he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.” Lk: 2: 48-51
The fourth commandment introduces the all-encompassing, binding law of love. “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Mt: 5: 43-46 Love begins at home with patience, forgiveness and charity. Then like the sun, it is to shine fourth for all to see, feel, share and experience. The Catholic family is the very foundation on which the Church exists and grows. It is from the family that the children of God are formed in His likeness. The family is the fountain of vocations, so necessary for the growth of the Church, and our salvation. “Marriage and the family are ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation (that is creation with Divine intent and intervention) and education of children. The love of spouses and the begetting of children create among members of the same family personal relationships and primordial responsibilities. “ CCC 2201
“The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can (and should) learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.” CCC 2207
“Children are to always show respect for their parents. This is especially true while they remain at home, regardless of age. If a child resides under the roof of his parents, he is to be obedient unto them. “But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so. “ As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” CCC 2217
“The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude.” CCC 2218
“The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.” CCC 2221
“Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.” CCC 2226
“Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country.” CCC 2240 “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” “We must obey God rather than men.” CCC 2242
“It is a part of the Church’s mission “to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it. The only means to be used are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all men according to the diversity of times and circumstances.” CCC 2246 While this does not limit itself to matters of life, the requirement for Catholics to vote Pro-Life, exceeds ones right to choose a candidate, regardless of party who openly and actively supports abortion. We are obligated to always vote our moral conscience in preference to party affiliation and consideration.
The Fifth Commandment:
You shall not kill. “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. “ Mt: 5: 21-22
Human life is a sacred gift from God. It is to be respected, protected, cherished and nourished from inception to death. Both inception and death are reserved to a time and place of God’s choosing. This commandment prohibits much beyond the recognized murder of the innocent. It clearly includes the protection of all unborn babies. Do not doubt that abortion, avocation of abortion, “blind” support of abortion or any known association with abortion is likely a grievous sin. cf. CCC 2270-2274
We are permitted to defend ourselves our families, and our Country with reasonable means that could include lethal force. cf. CCC 2264 The State too, in order to protect its citizens can use reasonable, even lethal force, in order to accomplish its proper role. The State does have recourse to the “death penalty,” if non-lethal means are insufficient to protect the peoples safely from the aggressor. All life is sacred, and death is to be an exceptional, rarely applied remedy, and never used as a deterrent, but only to preserve other lives. cf. CCC 2267
Life is a gift without a return policy. Illness, old age, dissatisfaction with life’s crosses which come from God with a purpose that often only He understands at the time. Our lack of understanding does not give cause or justification for murder, euthanasia or suicide. Only God can determine the intent of the actions, and justly judge the consequences. All forms of murder are intrinsically ordered, and carry the high risk of grievous sin. “We should not despair if a loved one takes their life, as our God is a merciful judge, and extenuating circumstances are always factored in. We are stewards, not owners of life.” CCC 2280
“Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.” CCC 2278
“Autopsies can be morally permitted for legal inquests or scientific research. The free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritorious. The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.” CCC 2301
Less obvious is our obligation to take reasonable measures to protect our health by eating correctly, exercising, getting the necessary rest and relaxation, and avoiding non-medical drugs, and excessive alcohol. We need be mindful that our bodies are (should always be) temples of the Holy Spirit, and at the time of Holy Communion, the abode of Jesus Christ Himself.
This commandment also binds us not to gossip, cause slander, or endanger another’ good name. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Rom: 13: 9 -10 We must also work and strive for peace in our hearts, families, local community, Church and our world.
The Sixth Commandment:
You shall not commit adultery: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ “
“Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others. ” CCC 2332
The good news is that sex is good! cf. CCC 23
The bad news is that it is a gift from God to be used only as He as our Creator intended. Because most of the folks who will read this book will likely be married, or considering marriage, I shall cover this topic in a bit more depth. There exist today a prevailing mindset that we can decide for ourselves what is right for us. Our bodies “are our own,” and as long as we don’t hurt anyone, we are “free” to do with them, pretty much as we see fit. That certainly is the message broadcast media flaunts daily, and its acceptance and application is a sure path to hell. Sex outside of marriage is more than simply “O.K.,” its almost expected behavior in today’s New Age, anything does, don’t judge me, and I won’t judge you society, which is a serious moral wrong.
God creates everything. To create means to make out of nothing. Our bodies, minds and souls are created by God, and belong to God. They are simply on loan to us for the express purpose of giving Him greater honor and glory and working out His plan for our salvation. Unlike Grace, which is a gift, the basic elements of our existence are ours to use, not to keep. We therefore have only limited rights, as designed by God. All use of our minds, bodies and souls that do not give glory and honor to God, are to some degree, disordered and to varying degrees, sinful.
“Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept their own sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out. ” CCC 2333 “In creating men ‘male and female,’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity.’ CCC 2334 “Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure.” Married women have the same right to sexual satisfaction as do their husband. cf. CCC 2362
Every human person is to practice chastity to the degree and in the manner required by his station in life. cf. CCC 2348
*All forms of premarital sex are forbidden, as the express purpose of conjugal love is the unimpeded possibility of procreation. cf. CCC 2360-2361 This includes those who are engaged, but not yet married.
*Masturbation, which is the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure outside of conjugal love making (usually, but not always by oneself), has no possibility of procreation, is ordered only for personal gratification, and therefore is gravely disordered.
*”Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. ” CCC 2359
*Pornography is dangerous, habit forming, and disordered as it debases the sacred and beautiful act of love, wrongly stresses personal satisfaction, introduces in some manner a third “person” into the relationship, and profits those who sell their souls for illicit and immoral gain. It is especially dangerous to our youth who learn to see their opposite gender as mere “sex -objects,” acquisitions and in a sad unrealistic, morally distorted sense, sex toys.
*Married couples may not employ any unnatural means (contraception) to limit the possibility of a pregnancy. To do so is gravely disordered, as it seeks to usurp from God our Creator, His option and control of birth issues. “Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment.” CCC 2366
*”A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality: When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart” CCC 2368
*”Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self- observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, ‘every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible’ is intrinsically evil. CCC 2370
*Divorce: A proper Sacramental, consummated marriage cannot, may not be dissolved or terminated.
*Every station in life brings with it joys, sufferings, sacrifices and crosses. Each has its own path to heaven and to personal happiness; marriage is but one-way to eternal salvation. The noble and natural purpose of marriage is procreation and the growth of God’s Church. However not every married union is blessed with children. This to is God’s plan, and charitable, self- giving sex is both permitted and encouraged, as chaste conjugal love is the cement of a happy marriage. God insists on being the “author of life.” “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. “ Gal: 5: 4 –5
The Seventh Commandment:
You shall not steal: “ A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Prov: 11: 1, 21: 3 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust * consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Mt:6: 19 – 21
I forget at times to gives thanks for being born in America. No other country offers its citizens, and its guest so much freedom and opportunity for wealth. Yet we have proven time and again, that these two can be a source of sin. Materialism as a religion is commonly practiced, and we are told continuously, that it is all right to do what ever we desire. Is it even remotely conceivable that Jesus, for a time became a mere man, gave up His heavenly throne, and suffered the most humiliating and excruciating death known to mankind, and not expect that we too endure the crosses He sends us? Each tailored specifically to lead us to heaven. No, it is not.
God’s rules for obedience of the seventh commandment are common sense, practiced with charity and applied with love.
* We can only serve one God so the virtue of temperance is to be practiced. Do not allow yourself to become overly attached or attracted to worldly goods “In economic matters, respect for human dignity requires the practice of the virtue of temperance, so as to moderate attachment to this world’s goods; the practice of the virtue of justice, to preserve our neighbor’s rights and render him what is his due; and the practice of solidarity, in accordance with the golden rule and in keeping with the generosity of the Lord, who “though he was rich, yet for your sake . . . became poor so that by his poverty, you might become rich.” CCC 2407
*The basis for economic justice is that we should not take or desire to take anything that is not ours. This includes damaging the good name or reputation of someone, even an organization. It also obligates employers to provide living wages and treat employees fairly and justly, including reasonable opportunity for advancement. Employees must give a full day’s work with good effort. All are obligated to pay social security and assist those in greater need. cf. CCC 2429, 2434, 2436, 2443
*”The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one’s disposal and use the property of others.” CCC 2408
*”Promises must be kept and contracts strictly observed to the extent that the commitments made in them are morally just. A significant part of economic and social life depends on the honoring of contracts between physical or moral persons – commercial contracts of purchase or sale, rental or labor contracts. All contracts must be agreed to and executed in good faith.” CCC 2410
*”The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.” CCC 2415 “It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.” CCC 2418
The Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” Mt: 7: 12 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”Mt:19:19
The Eighth Commandment:
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor: “Do not devise a lie against your brother, nor do the like to a friend. Refuse to utter any lie, for the habit of lying serves no good.” Sir: 7: 12-13
“The one you have chosen as Master is not a merchant of illusions, not one of the powerful of this world, nor an astute and clever thinker,” the Pope said during his homily. “You know whom you have decided to follow: He is the Risen Crucified One! Christ who died for you, Christ who rose for you.” “And I assure you that you will not be disappointed,” the Pontiff added. “Man’s real strength,” he continued, “is seen in the fidelity with which he is capable to render witness to truth, resisting blandishments and threats, incomprehension and blackmail, including harsh and merciless persecution.” “Only if you are willing to do this, will you become what Jesus expects of you, namely salt of the earth and light of the world; ” “Dear young people, do not lose your flavor of Christians, the flavor of the Gospel!” the Pope concluded, raising his voice. “Keep it alive by constantly meditating on the paschal mystery: May the cross be your school of wisdom!” Pope John Paul’s Palm Sunday homily to European youth, The Vatican, 2002: Zenit: ZE02032404
The source of all truth is God Himself and we are to live this truth as taught by the life example of His Son Jesus. “Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful with each other.” CCC 2469 “Man tends by nature toward the truth. He is obliged to honor and bear witness to it: “It is in accordance with their dignity that all men, because they are persons . . . are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth.” CCC 2467
What does the Eighth Commandment compel?
* It prohibits giving false witness and perjury.
* We are obligated to go out of our way to protect another reputation. We must avoid making rash, unsubstantiated judgments; we are to avoid detraction, which without valid reason, discloses another faults or failings; we must avoid the sin of calumny, by not making remarks contrary to the truth, and giving the occasion for making false judgments against them. cf. CCC 2477
* We are to avoid flattery or adulation, which confirms or encourages another in malicious acts or perverse conduct. cf. CCC 2480
*We are to avoid bragging. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1:Pet: 5: 5
A lie is the most direct offense against the truth. “A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving.” CCC 2482 . The sinful seriousness of a lie depends of the intention to do harm, and on the amount of harm done. All lies are sinful, some lies can be grievous. All lies should be confessed in the sacrament of Penance.
“Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another’s reputation. This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience.” CCC2487
* “The right to the communication of the truth is not unconditional. Everyone must conform his life to the Gospel precept of fraternal love. This requires us in concrete situations to judge whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it. “CCC 2488 The command to “love our neighbor as ourselves” always has merit and application in living our lives as Christians. “The secret of the sacrament of reconciliation is sacred, and cannot be violated under any pretext. “The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason.” CCC 2490 Professional secrets, from political office, soldiers, physicians and lawyers, are confidential information, given under seals of secrecy and must be kept, except in where keeping it will cause very grave harm to the one confided. cf. CCC 2491
I was somewhat surprised to discover that ones artistic gifts and talents are also covered under this Commandment. CCC 2501,2502 As all our abilities are gifts from God, they are to be developed and put to proper use in giving glory, honor and praise to the Almighty Triune God-head. Certainly this applies to Domus Dei, Gods house. Every Christian, not only Catholic Churchs should give physical evidence of whose house it really is, and who is the center of our worship. One can attend a simple school room to learn ones faith, but if a church is to be a place of Divine worship, the center of that worship had better be the Great I AM, or it is grievously misdirected. Catholics are able, and therefore obligated to manifest this truth in a most spectacular and special manner by having the reserved tabernacle wherein resides the Real Person of Jesus Christ, visible to all, and available to all. As we have previously shown, the only, exception to this, is when this tabernacle location would regularly be exposed to desecration from unbelievers.
“A church, “a house of prayer in which the Eucharist is celebrated and reserved, where the faithful assemble, and where is worshipped the presence of the Son of God our Savior, offered for us on the sacrificial altar for the help and consolation of the faithful – this house ought to be in good taste and a worthy place for prayer and sacred ceremonial. In this ‘house of God’ the truth and the harmony of the signs that make it up should show Christ to be present and active in this place.” CCC 1181 A Church is always, first and foremost a place for Divine worship. Of extreme importance, but secondarily, it is a place where God’s people gather and are united as the people of God, in a real sense as His church, His holy people. Ask yourself if the interior of the church in which you worship gives clear physical evidence of being a sacred and holy place, not merely reflective of a “gathering space.” Yes you can lift your mind and heart to God in a meeting hall, with God, all things are possible, but are we giving to God all the glory and respect He demands, and except for ego and personal opinion are able to give God?
“For this reason bishops, personally or through delegates, should see to the promotion of sacred art, old and new, in all its forms and, with the same religious care, remove from the liturgy and from places of worship everything which is not in conformity with the truth of faith and the authentic beauty of sacred art.” CCC 2503 This directive neither implies nor mandates that all signs of piety are to be removed, as at times happens.
* “Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. “Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.” CCC 2473
The Ninth Commandment:
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife / husband: A thief of hearts you cannot be. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1: Jn: 2: 15 – 16
The ninth commandment is an extension and further articulation of the sixth commandment, which prohibits all sinful sexual acts; but you have heard Jesus tell us; “‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” Mt: 5: 27 -30 Jesus is not telling us to maim ourselves, He is telling us that this is a serious, potentially grievous matter, so listen up.
Both men and women above the age of reason possessing certitude of understanding are bound by this commandment which specifically prohibits sexual covetousness. “To covet,” means to desire something, or in this case someone whom we are not morally entitled to have sexual union with. It applies equally to the single and married state of life, and to both males and females. It prohibits all intentional, uncontrolled sexual desire for anyone except our spouse, and even then our desires are to be controlled, and chastely directed. (We have already explained that sex in marriage can and should be a mutually enjoyable and satisfying experience). We are not to dream, fantasize, or even willingly think impure thoughts about having sex outside of marriage, or with anyone except our spouse. Is this possible? YES, but only with Divine intervention. It cannot be accomplished by our own volition and will.
“If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. “Rom: 5: 17 – 21 God, by His justice and mercy is obligated to provide, and offer sufficient grace to permit our salvation. In the same way, we are similarly obligated to cooperate, accept, apply and use the grace as God intends.
“The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” But he (Jesus) said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it (sufficient grace) is (will be) given.” Mt: 19: 11″ Even when it is sought by a priest or religious, it is a gift from God to those He extends to provide the extraordinary graces to live this life for Him.
There is much debate, most of it senseless and improperly motivated, regarding the “absurdity of virginity,” and Catholic priest being married. “Virginity: This word is used in more than one sense. Integrity of the hymen in women is called physical virginity. Perfect chastity or continence, which is the intention in men or women to avoid all sexual pleasure, is also called virginity. As a moral virtue, virginity is properly defined as the firm intention of abstaining from all sexual pleasure in one who has never enjoyed it licitly (in marriage) or illicitly. It is in the teaching of Christ (Matt. 19:11) and the Church (Council of Trent). Paul recommended virginity to both men and women on the grounds that unmarried people can give more time to God than married people (1 Cor. 7:25-35; 1 Tim. 5:22). Although marriage was the common state in the Old Testament, virginity was not unknown. Moses’ sister, Miriam, does not seem to have had a husband nor does the prophet Jeremiah seem to have had a wife. In the New Testament, Martha does not seem to have had a husband; and John the Evangelist and Paul did not have wives. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the chief example of perfect virginity, even though she was also a mother.” Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible
Directed by God, we choose our vocation. If we have chosen wisely, God provides all the necessary grace and help we need to fulfill His call. Virginity is but one way to serve our Lord. It is as Saint Paul tells us, a more difficult, but a more perfect way. While we are all priest in the order of Melchizedek (Heb: 5: 6), those men called by God to Holy Orders, serve a special need and purpose, and are (supposed to be) willingly and knowingly committed to celibacy. This is both a chosen sacrifice and a most worthy gift. With thirty – five years of marriage, many of them in management, it is evident to me that a married minister (or as proposed by some, a priest) is pushing the limits of prudence and justice by supposing that he can adequately fulfill both full-time positions. It is rare (but not impossible), that an ordained man of God can be both a good minister / priest, and a proper father. Celibacy while not specifically demanded by God, has been the long and prudent Tradition of the Catholic Church, and has been successfully lived by many thousands of priests, religious and Saints through the years. It may be more difficult in this time of sexual permissiveness, flaunted immorality, and New Age, godless religion. But thousands of committed holy men and women are waging the battle, and with God’s grace, staying the course. Are there no married pedophiles? How does a married priesthood solve this problem? We either accept and apply God’s grace, or we refuse it to our detriment. All of God’s people are called to live chaste lives, each according to his state in life. Grace ABOUNDS where sin is present.
All of us in our actions, dress, and words are to constantly exhibit modesty. We are to avoid the near occasion of sin by avoiding pornography, suggestive movies, novels, and TV shows, lewd friendships and dirty jokes. When you look for trouble, guess what? You find it! We must train ourselves to discipline our eyes (the window to our souls), minds, hearts and wills. This is not an option; it is one necessary path to heaven. Its not supposed to be easy; it’s a cross!
The Tenth Commandment:
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1: Cor: 6: 9
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust * consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is their will your heart be also. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Mt: 6: 19- 21, 24
This is an easy Commandment to understand, but difficult to live. If it isn’t yours, don’t be consumed with desire for it. If God wishes you to acquire more, He shall guide you to it. We can serve only one master, and it had better be God. This is less a prohibition on improving one’s state in life, than a serious warning that God’s, and therefore our priorities must be: God, family then, and only then, career. A desire to gain more, simply to “keep up with or surpass the Jones,” is an excuse, not a valid reason. If you adhere to these rules and still acquire wealth, count it as a blessing from God, and give Him thanks.
“Envy is a capital sin. It refers to sadness at the sight of another’ sin. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor, it is a mortal sin.” CCC 2539 “Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia. CCC 1866
One of the great risks of wealth is endangering one’s humility. Humility, coupled with an active prayer life, and a life of charity, are key’s to holiness and piety. Jesus asks: “For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” Mk: 8: 36