id The commandments: quick ideas on the commandments. How to behave well? Brief commentary on the Ten Commandments.

1. Do we know how to behave ourselves? We can know how to behave properly since we have two sources of information:
  • It is possible to discover what is convenient for us by analyzing our own nature.
  • Our Creator has shown us what we should do and should avoid. The summary of this revelation is contained in the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God.
2. Are the Commandments a heavy burden forced by God on men? Not at all. The commandments are divine aids which lead our path. The Creator knows what is convenient for us. He wishes us to be happy; therefore He warns us of the proper behavior. Acts like stealing, killing and lying damage man and offend God’s love for man. This would happen even in the case that He would not have mentioned it expressly.

3. What are the first three Commandments? The first three Commandments sum up the duties that man has towards God. These are the following:

  • "Thou shall love God above all things"- It includes the duty of protecting one’s faith by fostering his or her Christian formation. It also calls for the need to always seek a greater love for God, avoiding lukewarmness.
  • "Thou shall not take God’s name in vain"- It calls for the duty of highly respecting God’s name.
  • "Thou shall keep The Day of the Lord Holy"- It includes the duty of giving due worship to God by attending Mass every Sunday. The importance of this can never be overemphasized since it is a rightful obligation towards God. Additionally, we need to receive all the graces channeled to us through the Mass.
4. What is the Fourth Commandment? After giving God his dues, He reminds us about our duties towards our parents and authorities: “Thou shall honor thy father and mother.” Here the duties of parents towards their children are also included. That’s the main reason for which divorce is a sin against the fourth and sixth commandments.

5. What about the Fifth Commandment? Henceforth we will see the duties towards our neighbor. Let us commence by “Thou shall not kill” in respect for life. This rule forbids abortion, euthanasia and in general terms to mistreat oneself or others. Examples of clear lack of self-respect are getting drunk or abuse of drugs.

6. What about the Sixth Commandment?: "Thou shall not commit adultery" or more commonly “impure actions.” After preserving life, Our Lord shows special interest in the capability of giving life. He reminds us of the dignity of sex which gives us the chance to co-operate with God in the birth of new human beings. Chastity, commanded by this rule, leads us to use sex properly: every husband with his wife. It forbids other sexual actions (masturbation, pornography, pre-marital relationships, etc.). It defends the dignity of human body and its intimacy.

7. What is the Seventh Commandment? Material possessions are necessary to preserve life. Our Lord reminds us of the need to respect other people’s goods. “Thou shall not steal.” The obligation of returning what was stolen is included in this command.

8. What about the Eighth Commandment? Man can improve more easily if he or she receives help from other people. That situation requires trust and loyalty. “Thou shall not lie” includes respecting the honor and good name of one’s neighbor.

9. The Internal Commandments.- Any action requires a previous internal decision. The commandments affect external actions as well as internal decisions. It is not right to wish for something we shouldn’t do. For example, it is evil to hate or kill. As it is more difficult for us to accept evil wishes; Our Lord willed to remind us about them by adding two commandments:

  • “Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” (related to the sixth commandment).
  • “Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s goods” (referring to the seventh commandment).
10. How can we sum up the Ten Commandments? The point is to behave properly; respecting God and men. To wish someone well is to love. To summarize, “Love thy God upon all things and thy neighbor in as much as thy love thyself.” It also means that we should also love ourselves but not above all things.

11. What are sins? A person who acts against any of these commandments causes harm to himself/herself and perhaps to others. That’s an offense to God who loves us and others. Offenses to God are called sins and they are willed reckless actions or omissions against God’s laws. According to their seriousness, they can be considered mortal or venial sins.

12. What are considered as mortal sins? There are several serious or mortal sins like: insulting God consciously; not going to Mass on Sunday; getting drunk or drugged; committing impure actions; amongst others.

13. When do you commit a mortal sin? Three conditions are necessary: serious matter, awareness and complete consent. That is to say: choosing consciously something seriously against God’s law. There is no need to attempt to offend God; it is enough to act badly and voluntarily; doing something seriously forbidden.

14. Is avoiding sins the objective for Christians? Not at all. The aim is much more attractive. The objective is getting oneself to be one with Christ, the same identity, being like Him from the inside; fully becoming children of God; growing in love with God in sanctity. That’s why the main commandment is the First one.