Friday, October 9, 2009

2nd commandment, Part 2

As at least a couple of people have requested, written for our parish bulletin, part of our occasional series.
Living our faith in the real world
The Second Commandment:
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
2083 Jesus summed up man’s duties toward God in this saying: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”1 This immediately echoes the solemn call: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD.”2

God has loved us first. The love of the One God is recalled in the first of the “ten words.” The commandments then make explicit the response of love that man is called to give to his God.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
If we really take this concept at face value, as we should since it comes from Our Lord directly, then everything we do should reflect our relationship with God. Difficult as that is to remember in daily living, we can be helped immeasurably if we think of the ten commandments as our guideposts in how to respond to God in love.

Where does that leave us when considering the second commandment in our lives? It may help us to briefly review from the previous insert on the second commandment when we examined why the ancients had a different understanding of this commandment than we do. Names conveyed such an essential reflection of the person themselves that pagans used them in conjuring. God’s people understood this sense from the fact that a change of name reflected a true change of character as well. They understood this so well that when Jesus proclaimed using “I am” which was God’s name alone, they tried to stone him for claiming to be God.

Such reactions to names these days likely would draw accusations of being superstitious to give a mere word such power. Yet, let us reflect for a moment on the fact that names are likely to still contain a great deal of power for us.

Which of us would care to hear someone using our mother’s name as a curse of frustration? How many of us could remain calm if hearing our child’s name used casually to express contempt for someone? We know and love those people and the idea of hearing them used as figures of fun or scorn in casual conversation would rouse us to fiercest anger. At the very least, this helps us understand just how far we are from knowing God as a person who we truly love if we regularly show disrespect for His name or laugh it off when others do so.

Hand in hand with our modern incomprehension of a name being important, goes the concept that to lie using God’s name is a sin. At the least, many people consider this old fashioned. However, let us remember that to call on God’s support in things that are contrary to His nature shows how very little we know or love God. In fact, it brings to light the fact that we are claiming a closeness to God which cannot exist.

Still another way that this commandment can be disobeyed in daily life is if we place responsibility on God for our own actions or use Him as a scapegoat for failures. This is a way of making God’s name exist to serve us rather than acknowledging that quite the contrary is true. Part of our essential job as disciples is to bear witness to God’s greatness, certainly not the other way around.

As when we examined the first commandment, it can be very helpful to examine our consciences in light of a deeper consideration of just what the second commandment really means. The examination below is offered in that spirit.

Examination of Conscience*: 2nd Commandment
  • Do I show disrespect for God’s name by misusing it out of frustration or anger or to look “tough” to others?
  • Have I sworn a false oath or lied, using God’s name to prove my sincerity?
  • Do I hesitate to mention God’s name in appropriate situations, in conversations with friends and family members?
  • Do I fail to keep vows or promises made to God?
  • Do I blame God for our failings?
  • Do I continue to learn about God by paying attention in church, religion class and through paying attention to Catholic periodicals, articles on religion in the secular press and television programs?
1 Mt 22:37; cf. Lk 10:27:”. . . and with all your strength.”
2 Deut 6:4.
* An examination of conscience is not intended to be a checklist used only in preparation for the sacrament of reconciliation. The purpose is to help souls know what actions or attitudes are sinful and realize the gravity of committing them. This may help in avoidance or in turning away from sin and towards God and joy.


  1. You obviously love the Lord because you write a webpage, a vey nice one, to share your contemplations, considerations, and ideas about how to love God and live righteously. I write this to you as the gal you sat new to in church that last 4 decades, out of love for my brothers and sisters of catechism. We agree that the Holy Bible is the word of God and that God is the BOSS- please, I beg you for your own sake and as one of you: PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE BIBLE. You yourself claim no special divine authority, yet you would undoubtedly like for people to your carefully selected words on this very nicely assembled page.... God too would like the same. He hand selected all the prophets, left us all sorts of evidence in archeology that has been unearthed in the last few years- God wants HIS children to know HIM and HIS words AS HE GAVE THEM TO US. They are only fully visible in the book- the book the Catholics are not urged to read and read and read again- read.
    I picked up Jeremiah in search of info for a project. It surprised me and scared me. I backed up a chapter to see what I missed, Isaiah made it clear Catholics are in the dark- the word ransom was surprising so I searched on biblegateway's passage look up and found it Timothy- by the time I had finished those 2 books ofTimothy and the books of Jeremiah and Isaiah, my life was forever brightened by the Holy Spirit. I suspect it will be the same for you and I pray for your openness to the light.

    Samuel 15 23
    Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee

    John 12 35
    Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

    John 8 31
    Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
    And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    Ezekiel 11 12
    And ye shall know that I am the LORD: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you.

    Luke 13 23 30 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
    Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
    When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
    Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
    But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
    There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
    And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
    And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

    If you want to get through the gate, you better know everything the gatekeeper said.... in HIS own words- start with Jeremiah, God hates the queen of Heaven, says NEVER EVER EVER eat flesh and blood for a sacrifice, the blood of Jesus forgives all sins period, you are to call no man father, there is no mediator between man and God, no man can forgive sins.... these are direct quotes... please, for your soul's sake, read the Bible, know the prophecy of the man of sin and the son of perdition- God Himself is the authority- He has made it very easy.

    God Bless you.
    ps that is only the the 2nd Commandment to Catholics. the rest of world calls it the 3rd. God’s cmds are in Exodus 207 if God is your authority, the second commandment is the one about not bowing to statues…praying to humans- dead or alive- statues, icons & images= idolatry

  2. no? you won't approve my comment, rather, you'd deny the hope of Christ - either to me, being in error that others may correct whatever is wrong, or to others, in that (should I be correct) they too may find salvation in our Lord Jesus-as He Himself designed and revealed of TRUTH through the Word of God- the sole authority of all the UNIVERSE?

  3. Elissa, after I leave work on Friday I normally do not swing through the blogosphere again until Monday. The weekend joke is set up ahead of time to post on Saturday. :-)

    So, I happened to swing through and saw your comments. Although I appreciate your ardor, many of those quotations have been taken out of context in the situation of considering the Eucharist. I have never found anything better than Our Lord's own words on this subject in the Gospel of John 6:23-69, especially when one takes into consideration that Jesus just finished feeding the multitudes, which puts this into an even deeper context.

    I would quote the entire thing here, but the comments box won't let me include that much, so I will put what I can and trust you to go read the entire passage, really the entire chapter would be better.
    It is written in the prophets: 'They shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
    Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.
    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
    I am the bread of life.
    Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
    this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.
    I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."
    The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"
    Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
    Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
    For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
    Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
    Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
    This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."
    These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
    20 Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?"
    Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you?
    What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
    It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
    But there are some of you who do not believe." Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
    And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father."
    As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
    Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
    Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
    We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."
    Note that Jesus does not tell the disciples who are leaving that he was speaking allegorically or that they are mistaken. He simply turns and asks his closest companions what their reaction is to this shocking news. It is especially shocking when you consider that the original language does not simply use a word like "eat" but instead uses a word that was usually applied to animals "gnawing." So there is even greater reason to take Jesus literally.

    I will not be coming back to the blog until sometime Monday, just fyi. :-)