By Sarah Damm
“Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.” ~Deuteronomy 6:6
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us about the essential nature of God’s commandments. They are at the very heart of our faith. We keep the Ten Commandments because we believe in the supremacy of God.
“Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3).
Yes, God is God, and we are not. It is good to keep a proper perspective when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. For if we truly believe in the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and in His supremacy over Heaven and earth, then we need to surrender to His authority over us, too. In essence, He makes the rules; we do not.
God Loves Us First
But of course, God is not just a ruler in the distance. He desires a more loving, more intimate relationship with us. He creates us in His image and likeness, and He adopts us as sons and daughters through Baptism. So, when we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, it is because “He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Realizing just how much God loves us and remembering all the ways He demonstrates His love, we respond to Him with love. And as a result, we grow in our desire to live the way He calls us to live, which is through the Ten Commandments.
From Ten to Two
As Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel, the Ten Commandments can be simplified into two main commandments:
- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
- “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Of the Ten Commandments, the first three pertain to our relationship with God. When we break these, we directly offend God. The remaining seven commandments point toward how we relate to others or our neighbors. When we break these, we are harming a relationship with another human being.
Confession Keeps Us on Track
Whenever we fail to follow the Ten Commandments, we need to approach God’s throne of mercy in the Sacrament of Confession to make things right again. Thankfully, “His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). So, with a contrite heart, we can receive the gift of His forgiveness and grace over and over again.
Just like any habit, the more we practice, the stronger we get. When we intentionally practice keeping God’s commandments, we “grow and prosper the more.” We draw closer to the ultimate prize of being happy with God in Heaven, in that “land flowing with milk and honey” (Deuteronomy 6:3).
The Saints Lead the Way
The saints perfected how to abide by God’s commandments, and we celebrate their holiness, courage, obedience, and love tomorrow on the Feast of All Saints. Let us turn to them for help, guidance, and intercession, so that one day Jesus may say of us, too: “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34).
I love You, Lord, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Amen.
Call to Action
What saint can you call upon to help you abide more perfectly in God’s commandments?
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