The 1st Commandment -Knowledge of God: Commentary by Sr. Lucia of Fatima

by admin on August 28, 2011

We have seen that God created us to love and serve Him here on earth, and then to see and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. The Message of Fatima reminds us that we must follow the road to Heaven. And it is observance of the Commandments that will lead us to eternal life. This is what Jesus Christ told the young man who asked Him:  “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life? And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments” He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honour your father and mother, and You shall love your neighbour as yourself.» (Mt 19,16-19). Therefore, the way to Heaven is this: keep the Commandments.
Since, unfortunately, the great majority of people neither know nor understand the Commandments, it will be useful to many people to recall them here, so that we may all understand what we must do in order to obtain eternal life.
It may possibly occur to someone to ask me: What have the ten Commandments got to do with the Message of Fatima? I answer that they have a great deal to do with it: they are among the chief aims of the Message. In fact, Our Lady ended the series of her apparitions in Fatima with these words: “Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended”. And, previously, on the 13th July, she had already said: “In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want. “Thus, what Our Lady wanted and, therefore, the main object of the Message, was to beg us not to continue to offend Our Lord because He was already so deeply offended.
There can be no doubt that what offends God most is the breaking of his law: all Sacred Scripture confirms this. All the Prophets protested against the breaking of God’s law; and, in the same way, Jesus Christ condemns it also, as does the Church, which continues to speak in his name in our own day.

In order to keep God’s commandments, we have to know Him. Who, then, is God?

The Book of Deuteronomy tells us how Moses, on the threshold of the Promised Land, called around him the twelve tribes of Israel in order to remind them of how God had led them from the time they left Egypt until they had arrived where they now were, at the River Jordan. This is how Moses recalls God’s great gift to his people, the Decalogue: « The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, while I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the moun­tain. He said: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Dt 5,4-6).

God showed Himself to his people on Mount Sinai, so that they would acknowledge Him as the one true God. We were there, represented by the Israelites; to us also God makes Himself known and addresses his word.

All the Israelites saw the fire on the mountains and all understood that it was supernatural fire, since it neither burned nor consumed. In this fire, in some way, they saw God and they were terrified, as they themselves confessed, finally asking Moses to be their mediator: «Behold, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire; we have this day seen God speak with man and man still live. Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out in the midst of fire, as we have, and has still lived? Go near, and hear all that the Lord our God will say; and speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you; and we will hear and do it.» (Dt 5, 24-27).

All this makes me think! While Moses is going peacefully up the moun­tain to draw near to God and talk to Him intimately, the people are terri­fied and are afraid they are going to die. Would that not be because, by the sin of idolatry, they have lost the strength of grace and can no longer, like Moses, see God and hear his voice? The fear which they felt certainly was not caused by the presence of God but came rather from the reproach of their own conscience, because that is what accuses us before God and con­demns us. As for me, how much I would give to be absorbed in that divine flame!

In this passage from Sacred Scripture, I seem to see in Moses the fig­ure of pure souls who are continually moving up towards God, climbing the mountain of holiness, while those who live sunk in a life of sin are descending all the time, burying themselves in a swamp of vice and mov­ing further and further away from God. They cease to love Him, because sin extinguishes the flame of love in them; they no longer trust, because sin confuses their minds and they cannot see the mercy of God; they lose their faith, because passion blinds them and prevents them from seeing the light of God.

In Moses, I see an image of the person who corresponds to God’s call. Nothing frightens him because his conscience is at peace, he believes in God, keeps his commandments and runs to meet Him. He knows that his Creator is the one true God, the Source of all that exists; therefore, he trusts in his power, his goodness, his wisdom, and his love.

God showed Himself to the Israelites in order to assure them of the reality of his existence and thus to make it possible for them to pass on the certainty of that truth. We, too, belong, spiritually, to that same people. Made one with Christ in Baptism, we became part of the People of God. We were chosen by God to become members of the mystical Body of Christ, which is his Church. And it is this Church which, all over the world, forms the People of God, as we see from the command it received from Christ: «Go into the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned* (Mk 16, 15-16). Thus, it is necessary to believe in God, and be baptised, in order to be saved, to belong to the People of God and to be counted among his chosen ones.

Terrified not only by the fire which God caused on the mountain, which itself trembled, but also by the voice of thunder with which God spoke to them, the Israelites begged Moses to be their intermediary with God. When Moses returned from God’s presence, he told them the laws which God had given him, and, then, said to them: « These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them upon two tables of stone, and gave them to me. And when you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burn­ing with fire, you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; and you said, “(…) Go near, and hear all that the Lord our God will say; and speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you; and we will listen and obey. And the Lord heard your words, when you spoke to me; and the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you; they have rightly said all that they have spoken. Oh that they had such a mind as this always to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their children for ever! (…) You shall be careful to do therefore as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.» (Deut 5, 22-24; 27-29;32).

It is Moses who transmits God’s message to his people. Could it be that no one else is capable of speaking directly to God? It is God who chooses each one of us and endows each of us with the capacity and the necessary gifts for the accomplishment of the mission, which He entrusts to us. The fear to which God refers – “of such a mind to fear Me” — is the love, which should lead us not to want to offend Him, in order not to lose his friendship and his grace.

In Moses, we see represented the Head of the Church, commissioned by Jesus Christ with the task of passing on to us the laws and words of God. Therefore, we have to believe in God and in his Church, just as the Israel­ites believed and said to Moses: «Go near, and hear all that the Lord our God will say; and speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you; and we will listen and obey. (Deut. 5, 27). This should be our response too: to listen to the Church, and believe what it says – certain that what it tells us is the word of God – and obey. ” We will listen and obey”

Just as God said to Moses: «Arise, go on your journey at the head of the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give them.» (Deut. 10, 11) so also He says to his Church: «Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,* (Mt 28,19). Thus, the Church is the Messenger of God to direct his People in the ways which He himself has traced out for them by means of the laws and the doctrine which He has confided to it. And just as the Israelites believed and followed the direc­tions of Moses because he was the messenger of God, so we must follow the guidance of the Church because she is, for us, the messenger of God. And let us not waver or move away from the Church when we see imperfections in some of her members, because, individually, we are all weak and sinful. But the Church does not cease to be holy for all that: holy in her laws and in the doctrine entrusted to her by God, holy in her Head, Jesus Christ, her divine Founder and Saviour, holy in the divine Spirit which animates and helps her, and in the life of grace generated and nourished by the Sacraments.

In Moses, God found imperfections also; and, as a punishment, He did not grant him the grace of entering the Promised Land with his people. But, in spite of that, he was still the man chosen by God as leader of his people.

Moses doubted when he struck the rock in the desert, as God had commanded, so that water would gush from it. Because of this, the Lord said to him, and to Aaron: Because you did not believe in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them (Num 20,12). This passage of Sacred Scripture shows us how God wants us to believe not only in his existence from all eternity, but also in the efficacy of his word. Moses carried out the command that God had given him; he struck the rock as God had ordered him to do, but with a certain lack of faith and confidence. He was afraid that God would not work the promised miracle.

As a punishment, he was not to enter the Promised Land, but only glimpsed it from afar, as the sacred text tells us: «And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, all the land of Ephraim and Manas-seh, all the land ofjudah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the valley of Jericho and the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, I will give it to your descendants’. I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor» (Dt 34, 1-6).

All this shows how firm our conviction should be and the extent of our faith in God; we have to believe in the immense power of His operative word, in the eternal wisdom of his Being, which is the very source of life, in his laws which trace out the way we should go, in his creative and redemp­tive work, in what his Word, his Son Jesus, says and in the truths which He taught us, in his Church which is the treasure-house of the truths entrusted to Her by the Eternal Word, in his mercy, in his forgiveness and in his love.

The beginning of the whole spiritual life is belief in God. This faith opens up to us the marvels of infinite Being, leads us to find God in his works, to live the life of God present within us. We ourselves are poor and have nothing; but in God we possess everything and lack for nothing.

The person who believes in God is happy, because he knows he has a Father from whom all things come, yet is above all human paternity. He loves his Father, rests in his arms and lives for this Father who is goodness, mercy, forgiveness and love! One thing only He asks:  Fidelity in the observ­ance of His laws* God gave this advice to his people through Moses: « The Lord said to me (…) ‘Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.” But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you all the commandments and the statutes and the ordinances which you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess’. You shall be careful to do therefore as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that it may go well with you» (Deut 5, 28, 30-33).

The fact that God is invisible does not justify the incredulity of those who do not want to believe in his existence. God created, for the good of humanity, many invisible forces, whose existence nobody doubts. Who, for instance, has seen the wind? We hear it, we feel it when it blows upon us, and we see its effects when it shakes the trees and tosses the seas. The same is true of oxygen, hydrogen, electricity, etc. There are other invisible elements, which are used for the benefit of humanity. Well then! Before all this existed, God, who created it and formed it from nothing, was already present. And it was to these invisible forces that God gave most power: electric energy, different sounds, etc.

God manifests Himself also in the preservation of created beings. We see that the achievements of men are realised by using materials created by God; and, with time and use, these wear out, deteriorate and disappear. How different is the destiny of the works which originate solely from the hand of God! Consider the sun: it has always the same strength, the same degree of heat, the same brilliance, follows always the same course laid out for it by God! The same is true of the moon, the stars, the planets, the earth, the seas and all that exists and was created by God! It all must remain the same because that is what God wishes, since that depends on his om­nipotent will. And they are here, before our eyes, indisputable witnesses to the power, the wisdom, the will and the eternal existence of God.

We have no difficulty in believing that such and such famous men lived, because history mentions them. But it also speaks of the existence of God, his deeds, and his works. Why, then, do we not believe? Is sacred history less worthy of belief than profane history? Are the sacred writers less truthful than profane ones? Now, the sacred writers tell us: In the begin­ning God created the heavens and the earth.» (Gen 1,1) «In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made» (Jn 1, 1-3) « Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created* (Rev 4, 11).

Ave Maria!

Click Here to see the List of The Ten Commandments with 122 Questions to Examine Your Conscience with.

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