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Year of Faith Series 8

Posted on : 16-07-2013 | By : TAG | In : Faith Series

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LIFE IN CHRIST

(Ref. CCC Part 3, Sections 1 and 2)

 

Our series now come to Part Three of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that is, Life in Christ.

God has inscribed the physical laws in the very natures of physical things. He has engraved the natural moral law in the heart of each man to enable him to know how to act. Thus, all men can distinguish between good and evil and are aware of the fundamental principle that one ought to do good and avoid evil. Besides, the human will is naturally inclined toward good.

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As a consequence of original sin and our personal sins, man also feels in his human nature a certain tendency toward evil. Although he realizes that he should not let himself be carried away by this inclination, if he succumbs, it weakens his knowledge of good and evil. He can tend to justify his behavior by no longer considering bad certain actions which he had formerly recognized clearly as evil. In this way, people come to adopt mistaken life styles or what we call loss of the sense of sin.

To make sure that all men would clearly know the natural moral law, God wanted to reveal it in the Old Testament in the form of the “Ten Commandments. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught that these commandments could be summed up in two: Love God above all things (the first three commandments) and love your neighbor as yourself (the fourth to the tenth commandments). Thus, the commandments are not mere negative precepts but expressions of love.

These laws were established by God when He created human nature, and they were subsequently revealed directly by God (to Moses). For this reason, the Ten Commandments are called the “Law of God”. This law is objective; it does not depend on the subjective view of individuals, since no one has created himself. Only God who created us can tell us why we were created and how we ought to behave. The Law of God is immutable, it can never change, because human nature always remains the same. Human nature does not change essentially even though social, economic and other circumstances may go through dramatic variations. The Law of God is universal because it is to be kept by all men and women of all times.

Here we shall take up the first three commandments which Jesus summed up as man’s duties toward God – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”. (CCC 2083)

 

The First Commandment:

I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD, YOU SHALL NOT HAVE OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.

When asked which was the first and foremost of all the commandments, Christ answered: “The first commandment of all is, ‘Hear O Israel! The Lord your God is one God: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength.’ This is the first commandment” (Mark 12, 29-30). God asks us to love Him with unqualified boundless love. St. Augustine says: He who made you asks for everything that you are.”

This commandment embraces the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Our moral life has its source in faith in God, hence, we must nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance and reject everything that opposed to it. Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing and the beatific vision of God. Charity is our response to God’s love and enjoins us to love God above everything and all creatures for him and because of him.

Every person has the right and the moral duty to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church. Once the truth is known, he has the right and moral duty to embrace it, to guard it faithfully and to render God authentic worship.

This commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself to his people; such as superstition, idolatry, divination and magic, irreligion, atheism, agnosticism.

 

The Second Commandment:

YOU SHALL NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD YOUR GOD IN VAIN.

The Second Commandments prescribes respect for the Lord’s name and governs our use of speech in sacred matters. Respect for his name is an expression of the respect owed to the mystery of God himself and to the whole sacred reality it evokes. The sense of the sacred is part of the virtue of religion. God calls each one by name. Everyone’s name is sacred.

It is forbidden to call on the Name of God to justify a crime or to us the holy Name of God in any improper way as in blasphemy, curses and unfaithfulness to promises made in the Name of God.

 

The Third Commandment:

REMEMBER TO KEEP HOLY THE LORD’S DAY.

In speaking of the sabbath, Scripture recalls creation “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Ex 20:11)

The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life. Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church. The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice; hence the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation. Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and being faithful to Christ and to his Church.

Christians keep Sunday and other days of obligation holy by participating in the Eucharist of the Lord and by refraining from those activities which impede the worship of God and disturb the joy proper to the day of the Lord.

Although we are not obliged to attend Mass on other days, it is certainly highly beneficial to do so as often as possible, even daily. You cannot imagine how much graces are poured unto us every time we attend Mass and receive Our Lord in Holy Communion!

 

July16, 2013, feast of our Lady of Mt. Carmel

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