By: Bernadette Parrott
Welcome to our Faith Renewal Series that is exploring The ABCs of Being Catholic. We are invited on a journey through the alphabet to explore Catholic terms, beliefs, and traditions. In this post we focus on the letter “T”.
August 12, 2021
Here’s an easy one! Of course, I’m kidding!
Most of us have probably watched “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston made in 1956. I watch is every year! It most certainly contains A LOT of Hollywood theatrics, but it also contains the story of faith – faith in God, a story of a covenant between God and man.
Of course, we could go to the Source where we will find the written account of the Moses and the 10 Commandments in the Bible in the Book of Exodus. This book of the Bible recounts the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, the call of Moses, the plagues, the deliverance of the Israelites, the journey through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, the receiving of the Ten Commandments (twice) and the building of the Tabernacle and God’s glorious descent upon it. It’s a really good read and I encourage you to take your time – maybe just a Chapter at a time to really allow it sink into your soul.
Let’s take a quick look at the Ten Commandments, also called the Decalogue. They are divinely revealed to Moses by God, engraved on stone tablets, and now engraved on our hearts.
I am the Lord your God, you shall not have strange gods before me.
This first commandment embraces faith, hope and charity. With it, we say “yes” to God. We confess that He is constant, unchanging, faithful and just. It commands us to believe in God and to love Him above all else, to adore Him and to serve Him as the one true God.
How do we fall away from this love of God? It can be from a lack of reverence for God, we can turn to superstitions, irreligious behaviour. We can injure or harm or destroy a sacred person, place, or thing. We can place money, fame, power and material possessions above God.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Of course, this one demands of us respect for the Lord’s name. It governs the use of our speech in sacred matters. The revealed name of God is sacred.
How do we fall away from the commandment? We use sinful language. We deny God, Jesus, Mary and the saints, we curse, tell falsehoods. We no longer recognize the holiness of the name of God.
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.
If God “rested and was refreshed” on the seventh day, man too should seek to “rest” and let others “be refreshed”. This holy day brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a reminder that God alone is worthy of our worship – work and servitude should be pushed aside. For Christians Sunday is the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day. It calls us to the celebration of the Eucharist, the very heart of the Church’s life. It is the foundation of all Christian practice and is a Holy Day of Obligation, a day to spend in the presence of God.
Honor your father and mother.
This commandment requires honor, affection and gratitude to permeate and flow to those who have given so much to us, who have provided for, protected and nourished with faith. We are called to obey our parents with love in all things that are not sinful. Parents too, are called to respect and encourage their children’s vocations.
How do we fall away from this commandment? We ignore our parent’s teachings. We fail to be with them as they age. We take advantage of them as they turn to us for guidance. This commandment also asks of us to obey the laws of our church and our country.
You shall not kill.
The fifth commandment deals with respect for human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Life is sacred – it is from God and it remains with Him to the very end. He alone is the Lord of life from its beginning to its end. We are called to take good care of ourselves both physically and spiritually. We are called to stand against injustices to all of humanity.
How do we fall away from this commandment? We condone murder, suicide, fighting, revenge, reckless driving, euthanasia and abortion.
You shall not commit adultery.
The sixth commandment concerns the vocation between husband and wife. Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. In this relationship, we are bonded together as one. It is a pledge of spiritual communion, united in the sacrament of marriage.
How do we fall away from this commandment? We show no modesty in words, looks or actions. We take part in premarital sexual relations, masturbation, fornication, pornography and homosexuality.
You shall not steal.
The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of others. We are also called to pay to others what we owe. It forbids cheating and dishonesty.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. We are called to speak the truth.
How do we fall away from this commandment? We speak mistruths or perform actions that are there to hurt our neighbor intentionally.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
The ninth commandment calls us to respect and to be faithful to our husband or wife. We fall away from this commandment we have impure thoughts or act upon desires.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
The tenth commandment unfolds and completes the ninth, forbidding coveting another’s goods.
How do we fall away from this commandment? We desire to take, ruin, or destroy the property of others.
The Ten Commandments are a call to a life focused on a true, deep relationship with our God and with our brothers and sisters. Combined with the Beatitudes, they are an excellent Examination of Conscience before going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Which path are we willing to take?