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제목 End of the First Commandment + Second Commandment(2016-02-07)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2016-02-08

 

 


End of the First Commandment + Second Commandment



My dear brethren,
There is one more act of worship which I have not explained last time: the proper use of sacred things, especially the Sacraments. Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, has instituted seven sacraments for our salvation. To use devoutly those most holy and abundant means of graces certainly gives honour to our Lord, to God; but to neglect these means dishonours Him.


Thus the Church teaches that they are necessary for salvation. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught the necessity of baptism and of the Holy Eucharist: “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5); “Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you” (Jn. 6:54). The proper use of the Sacraments, especially the frequent use of Confession and Holy Communion, gives great honour to God and is the source of very abundant graces for us.

But the abuse of the Sacraments is a very grievous sin: the sin of sacrilege, against the First Commandment. That can happen in a confession when one knowingly hides an unconfessed mortal sin; that happens unfortunately often today in bad communions, when people receive the Holy Eucharist with mortal sin on their conscience.


The very neglect of confession by many, who almost never go to Confession, yet go to Communion at every Mass, opens the door to many sacrileges. Also communion in the hands has opened the door to so many sacrileges, where our Lord is not given the honour that He deserves and that we owe Him. Another example of sacrilege which unfortunately happened in our modern time is the sins of impurity by the clergy or by consecrated persons: it is an abuse of the sacrament of Holy Order, the defilement of a “consecrated person”.

St Paul says: “with the heart [mind], we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10). Interior faith honours God, external confession of faith also: the martyrs professed the faith and persevered in that “confession of faith” even in front of the judge and were put to death for this: they are “witnesses of the Faith”, they gave testimony to the truth of the faith by their willingness to give their blood for it.


This is the very meaning of the word martyr. And this is the object of the second commandment: to honour God by our confession of the faith. In the early church there were some Catholics who were arrested and brought to the judge for the Catholic Faith: they confessed Christ, being ready to die for Him; yet they were put in prison (and often to torture) but did not die there, and later were released: these were called “confessors”, because of their public confession of the Faith. Later the Church extended the title of “confessors” to the Saints who, by their holy life, professed the Catholic Faith publicly but did not die martyrs.


God is the truth, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn. 14:6), and we must be willing to stand up for the truth, to give testimony to the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. This honours Him. “Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 10:32-33). Note that true martyrs do not kill themselves, much less do they kill others (like Muslims do): they are put to death by persecutors for Christ’s sake.

The sin opposed to the confession of faith is blasphemy, affirming something false about God (or denying the truth about Him), criticising God especially His Providence. We must absolutely forbid ourselves to do any such blasphemy! If we do not understand something, we should humbly pray about it and ask someone competent for help: God gives His grace to the humble… Heretics, who deny so many dogmas, “reinterpreting” the Word of God by their own way and practically emptying them of their true meaning, are practically blaspheming when they deny the Catholic Faith, even though they do not realise it.

The denial of the divinity of Christ, by Muslim as well as by Jehovah Witnesses and others, is a blasphemy, but also the denial of the Holy Eucharist, of the true presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist: this is a denial of the greatest mark of the love of God for us, a denial of the charity of God! This is a blasphemy. The same is true for the denials of any other truth of faith. To refuse assent to the truth is heresy, against the First Commandment; to profess such refusal by public denial is blasphemy, against the Second Commandment.


A typical example of blasphemy is the accusation by the Pharisees that our Lord had a devil: “thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil! Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me. But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth” (Jn. 8:48-50). In other words: be careful, you shall have to render an account of this blasphemy to the Judgement of God! So do penance!

A way to honour God in our words is by taking God as witness of the truth of what we say, when it involves some hidden truth. This is an “oath”. For instance the “anti-modernist oath”: God alone knows the heart, knows what one really believes: by making this oath, we take Him as witness that we do adhere to the true Faith and reject the modernist errors. This honours his supreme knowledge and His justice. The word “to swear” means this: “to take God as witness of what we say”. One should ONLY use such serious word with great care, and for a worthy cause, not lightly. If done properly, like in the case of the antimodernist oath, it is an act of virtue. But done in a wrong way, it is a sin, a grievous sin: that can happen first of all by swearing something false: to make a false oath is a very grievous sin of perjury.

But that can also happen when one swears lightly, i.e. for things of no value, or no real necessity: this is “to take the name of God in vain”. The same can happen if someone simply invokes the Holy Name of God, of Jesus, or of some saint, mixing such holy word within his conversation with no necessity, without paying attention to what one says, without the respect due to the Holy Name; some people have God’s name, or Jesus’ name, or some saint constantly on their lips for no purpose: this is wrong, deeply wrong. As much as the proper invocation of the Holy Name of God, such as in a devout prayer, gives great honour to God, the improper invocation of His Holy Name, almost as a swear word, is sinful and should not be.


This is also true for the use of words related to sacred things, such as the word “hell”, which some people use all the time outside of the right context, as in expressions such as “to have a hell of a good time”. Our Lord in the Gospel reproves this categorically: “I say to you not to swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God: nor by the earth, for it is his footstool: nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king: neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil” (Mt. 5:34-37).

In the Old Testament devout Jews never even pronounced the Holy Name revealed by God to Moses: when it was written in the Holy Scriptures, they read “Adonai” instead of reading “Jaweh/Jehovah”, so much so that when the Scriptures were translated into Greek some 200 years before Christ (the Septuagint version), it was translated as “Kyrie – Lord”, which translates Adonai. In the New Testament the Apostles follow that custom and call Jesus “the Lord” when it is obvious that they intended “the Name that is above all names” (Phil. 2:9-11).

If anyone has the bad habit to mix the Holy Name or other holy word into his conversation without the due respect, he must strongly fight against such bad habit, making reparation each time he catches himself having done so, making reparation by saying a prayer each time: thus assuring that he does not fully consent to such use, that “escaped” through his mouth without due deliberation. But if one does not fight against such habit, one thereby gives full consent and thus is fully guilty of mortal sin. If one fights against it faithfully, then if such word escapes, it is a venial sin for lack of full consent; making immediate reparation and prayer will obtain the victory over this bad habit, for the honour of the Holy Name and the edification of the neighbour.

 Another good way to invoke the Holy Name is when we make a promise to God, and this is called a “vow”. Holy Mother Church has always held in great esteem the Three Evangelical Vows, or rather vowing to observe the Three Evangelical Counsels. But there are other wows found in the lives of the Saints: thus the members of the “Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the redemption of captives” vow to give themselves as slaves of Muslim if that would be necessary in order to redeem other, thus making a holy exchange to help save the souls of their neighbours. Also the Jesuits make the vow of the mission, i.e. to go to any missionary work that the Pope would ask them; and at the beginning of their order, many holy Jesuits went to very difficult missions, such as St John de Brébeuf, who died martyr in Canada. Because it is an important matter, the Church teaches that faithful should NOT make vows unless they have the explicit previous permission of a priest. Otherwise they should consider them as simple “good resolutions” rather than formal promises to God.

St Thomas explains the goodness of vows thus: to give someone a whole tree is more than to simply give him its fruits every year: because he who gives the whole tree gives up the very right to the fruits, they belong to the one to whom they have given the tree. Thus by the Three Evangelical Vows, one no longer has a right to any possession, and even to one’s own will: he or she entirely belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. The vows also strengthen our will to fulfil what we have promised, because of the consideration of the honour of God, because of the holy fear of offending Christ to whom we have promised. Especially through the vow of obedience, one gets triple merits: the merit of the good act itself (e.g. prayer), the merit of obedience and the merit of the vow! But if one fails to fulfil it, one commits a triple sin: failure to duty itself, failure to obey and offense against the vow.

When our Lord Jesus Christ lives in us, He makes our thoughts and affections conformed to His, by Faith and Charity, and then our words should be echoes of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, our conversation should be good and edifying, as He says: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Lk. 6:45).


If our Lord reigns in our heart, in our soul, then our conversation, our words should be holy, and not vulgar; it should be on good and edifying topics, and not on worldly affairs. The Second Commandment bids us directly concerning the use of the Name of God, but it also bids us more generally concerning our speech: the conversation of a true Catholic should not be like that of worldly people, there should be nothing that could offend our Lord in it: no blasphemies, no swearing, no cursing, no dirty words, no injurious words, etc.


But on the contrary, it should be holy and undefiled as St James says: “Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew, by a good conversation, his work in the meekness of wisdom. … The wisdom, that is from above, first indeed is chaste, then peaceable, modest, easy to be persuaded, consenting to the good, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, without dissimulation” (James 3:13-17).

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of the Father, the perfect Word breathing Love, the Love of God above all things and the love of the neighbour. When He came on earth, His words were “words of grace”: “all gave testimony to him: and they wondered at the words of grace that proceeded from his mouth” (Lk. 4:22). When our Lord Jesus Christ lives in us, then our conversation becomes worthy of Him, as St Paul says to Titus: “In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity, the sound word that cannot be blamed: that he, who is on the contrary part, may be afraid, having no evil to say of us” (Tit. 2:7-8). “All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17).

Let us use our mouth for the honour of God, for the honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not allow ourselves any word that would be out of place on the mouth of a true Catholic. This is very useful for education of children: if parents are careful never to use any bad word, and much more never to u se God’s name without respect, then the children will easily distinguish good and bad friends, from their conversation: they will have a natural dislike for those whose conversation is not good. If the parents can say: “where did you learn that word?” knowing fully that the child did not learn it at home, the child will immediately realise that those who use such words are to be avoided.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary help us by her example and prayers to have always a good and holy speech! In the Holy Gospel, she was always very reserved in her speech, saying few words but full of wisdom; the only time she spoke more was for the praise of God in her Magnificat. She was full of the sense of the holiness of the Name of God and sang: “He that is Mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name” (Lk. 1:49).

May the Holy Name of God, the Holy Name of Jesus be blessed for ever! Amen!


Fr. F. Laisney(sspxasia)