So there we have it!!
You might have noticed there are three versions of the Decalogue
Exodus Ch 20
Deuteronomy Ch 5
The classical catechetical version of the Ten Commandments
You might have also noticed that other Christian denominations have a different numbering or ordering of those same Ten Commandments
Where does that come from?
We can thank St. Augustine for that
In the 4th Century, St. Augustine attempted to communicate these Ten Commandments by synthesizing both the Book of Exodus and the Book of Deuteronomy into a way that was memorable
He was not taking anything away and not leaving anything out of God’s Commandments
He numbered them according to where he thought would be most helpful for people to accept, understand, and live out
Paragraph 2066 says, “The division and numbering of the Commandments have varied in the course of history. The present catechism follows the division of the Commandments established by St. Augustine, which has become traditional in the Catholic Church. It is also that of the Lutheran confessions. The Greek Fathers worked out a slightly different division, which is found in the Orthodox Churches and Reformed communities.”
The Commandments are divided into two kinds
Remember the Great Commandment?
“Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.”
The first three Commandments are all about LOVE OF GOD
The last seven Commandments are all about LOVE OF NEIGHBOR
THE UNITY OF THE DECALOGUE
If I am going to honor the Lord God, then I need to love my neighbor
When I do love my neighbor, I therefore honor God
Paragraph 2069 says, “The Decalogue forms a coherent whole. Each ‘word’ refers to each of the others and to all of them; they reciprocally condition one another. The two tablets shed light on one another; they form an organic unity. To transgress one commandment is to infringe all the others. One cannot honor another person without blessing God his Creator. One cannot adore God without loving all men, his creatures. The Decalogue brings man’s religious and social life into unity.”
We are not called to have a PRIVATE FAITH that we do not live in relationship with others
We are called to have a PERSONAL FAITH that we live in community in all aspects of our lives
THE DECALOGUE AND THE NATURAL LAW
God has inscribed in the human heart a sense of RIGHT and a sense of WRONG
We can come to know the difference between good and evil simply by human reason
St. Paul says in The Letter to the Romans Ch 1, “Now, again, since we have been granted reason, we have been given an intellect. One of the things we can do is we can discern good and evil. We can discern right and wrong at the same time.”
Because we are fallen, our intellect is darkened
Because we are fallen, our will has been weakened
So we absolutely need revelation
We can know these truths by natural reason and it is God’s revelation that clarifies it
Think of it this way…
Your eyeballs can see
If your vision is not perfect 20/20 vision, you can still see, but the image is not as crisp or clear
Because of the Fall, our spiritual vision, our intellect, is not 20/20
When you put on your glasses, that is like revelation
It’s like you can see a tree with your imperfect vision and then you put on your glasses and you can see the details of the tree (Like that SQUIRREL!! 😉)
Similarly, we can see that treating others with respect and dignity is a good thing
When we put on God’s revelation (glasses) we can clearly see not only the reason why it is a good thing, but how deeply that reason goes
Does that make sense?
THE OBLIGATION OF THE DECALOGUE
Paragraph 2072 says, “Since they express man’s fundamental duties towards God and toward his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart.”
THEY ARE SERIOUS!!
To violate these sins is GRAVE MATTER
Paragraph 2073 says, “Obedience to the Commandments also implies obligations in matter which is, in itself, light. Thus abusive language is forbidden by the fifth commandment, but would be a grave offense only as a result of circumstances or the offender’s intention.”
We have talked about mortal sin vs. venial sin
Mortal sin requires grave matter, full knowledge that it is a grave matter, and full consent of the will regarding that grave matter
Not all of the ways in which we could violate the Ten Commandments would necessarily be grave matter
For example, the Fifth Commandment is “thou shall not kill”
Thou shall not take an innocent life
To murder is always grave matter
There are also variations about this prohibition to murder
Using harsh or abusive language against someone else falls under the umbrella of murdering your neighbor
Jesus makes that connection when He says, “You have heard it said thou shalt not kill. But I say to you, anyone who grows angry with their brother is liable to judgment. Anyone who says Raqqa, or you fool to your brethren, be liable to the Sanhedrin.”
Someone could use abusive language but it would not necessarily be grave matter
But we can imagine the circumstances or the offender’s intention where it would be grave matter
When you’re in your car and you use abusive language to someone who cut you off
No one else hears it
They don’t hear it
But you have done it
That would be a sin, but not necessarily grave matter
Now take those exact same words and you say them to your mom or dad
Those circumstances and the dynamic of that relationship could make those exact same words into grave matter
“APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING”
Paragraph 2074 says, “Jesus says: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.’ The fruit referred to in this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ, partake of his mysteries, and keep his commandments, the Savior himself comes to love, in us, his Father and his brethren, our Father and our brethren. His person becomes, through the Spirit, the living and interior rule of our activity. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.’”
We are called to the heights of holiness
The Commandments are challenging
They are going to challenge our complacency
They are going to challenge what we are accustomed to
They are going to challenge our preconceived ideas
They are going to challenge our will
Do we want to do this?
Do we want holiness?
We need to be reminded that apart from Jesus, we can do none of this
We absolutely need Jesus and the Power of His Holy Spirit in order to move forward
When we say YES to the Lord in virtue, “...the Savior himself comes to love in us, his Father, and his brethren, our Father and our brethren.”
We cannot do that on our own
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!
Paragraph 2082 says, “What God commands he makes possible by his grace.”
Some of the Commandments are incredibly daunting
God will NEVER command us to do something that we are unable to do
God will NEVER ask of us anything that is impossible
Paragraph 2082 is something to stitch on a pillow and sleep on it every night
WHAT GOD COMMANDS HE MAKES POSSIBLE BY HIS GRACE
You do not have to do this alone
Not only can’t you do this alone
God is going to met us with his commands
What God commands He makes possible by His grace
So do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
DO NOT BE AFRAID!!
THE LORD IS WITH YOU!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you eventually!!