Aug 8, 2013

The Commandments

Pillar Focus The Commandments: Intro

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Lord's Prayer (Le Pater Noster) - James Tissot.jpg
James Tissot, 19th Century
Jesus teaches us in his Sermon on the Mount:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:17-20)."
We follow the Commandments (and the Sermon on the Mount) to the best of our abilities (see CCC 1724). God provides us with the grace we need to accomplish this.

What God commands he makes possible by his grace (CCC 2082).

And how do we access this grace?
  1. We believe and profess the symbol of faith (the Apostles' Creed). 
  2. We receive Christ in a unique and privileged way in the Sacraments. Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Confession, Matrimony... these unite us ever more closely to our Lord because it is he who acts in them (wow!!). 
  3. We pray.
Maintaining these "prerequisites," we are well equipped to practice the Christian moral life (see CCC #1691-1696).
..What the symbol of faith professes, the sacraments communicate. Indeed, through them the faithful receive the grace of Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit which give them the capability of living a new life as children of God in Christ whom they have received in faith.. (Compendium #357)
In the end, we follow the commandments to liberate ourselves from sin that leads to spiritual death. We don't want death, we want life. God knows how to provide this life for his own creation.


Additional Links
[A young man asks Jesus] "What good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" [Jesus responds] "If you would enter into life, keep the commandments" (see Mt 19:16-17). Click here for a great sermon concerning this scripture passage. 

Click here for an entry that discusses the relationship between law and grace.

Click here for brief summaries of each commandment


Study the Catechism
#434-441
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part 3, section 2
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