The Ten Commandments are Summed up in Charity

by admin on September 7, 2011

We have gone through the ten commandments of God’s Law, one by one, to discover how we should observe them. We have seen that by observing them we shall be saved, and by violating them we shall be condemned.

And we cannot say: That is my own business! as some do who are indif­ferent, cynical, defeatists or individualists:

But is it their own business? What if all Heaven was moved in order to save you? How can you assert that this business of saving your soul con­cerns you only? The Son of the Eternal Father died on the cross instead of you and in your place; are you now going to hand yourself over to hell which He has already conquered? Stop this nonsense of defying eternal death. Your Heavenly Father does not want you to be lost; how can you forget Him, despise Him, destroy his image within you? Does a Father’s grief, your Father’s grief, leave you utterly indifferent? If that is so, are you sure that you are still in the realm of the living, have you not, rather, gone down alive into the realm of the dead?

God’s suffering because of the sins of men is very great! In the appari­tion of October 1917, Our Lady ended her series of spoken messages, say­ing: “Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended. “And we offend God when we transgress his Law, the Command­ments.

But why does God feel so deeply offended when we sin against his ten commandments? God Himself, properly speaking, is not affected by it. He continues to be what He is: eternally happy, great, powerful, immense, source of life and of all good. But God is love, and by sin we diminish love: not the love of God for us, but our love for Him. The moment we trans­gress one of his laws, we cease to love God; we create a void in our love. How can a son say he loves his father, if, in the father’s own house, he disobeys and despises his orders, his instructions, his favours and his ca­resses. He must be – and he is – a rebellious son, not a son who loves his father.

All true love demands giving, renunciation, self-sacrifice, self-surren­der. This was how God loved us from the beginning. He created us in his image, making us sharers in his life, in his gifts such as intelligence, power of reflection, wisdom, free will, freedom, and destined us for eternal life. All this sharing in his gifts which He has granted us, in the order of nature as well as of grace, is, on God’s part, a self-sacrifice, a self-surrender, a self-revelation and a descent, out of love, so as to raise us up, to honor us, to perfect us and to associate us with Himself.

All sin on our part is a breach of love. When God saw us in our fallen state, He was inflamed with great love and compassion for us; and He gave Himself for our redemption in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, whom the Father sent into the world to save us. Unfathomable abyss of divine love, which St. John described thus: «And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father (…) For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.* (Jn 1, 14-17). And Jesus declares that He came down from Heaven because that was his Father’s will, and that He came to save us and give us eternal life, which we had lost through sin: «All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day* (Jn 6, 37-40).

The extent to which the Father loves us may be seen in the gift He makes to us of his own Son: «For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in Godt> (Jn3, 16-21).

Thus, Jesus Christ is the manifestation of the Father’s love; this love was sent into the world to be poured into the hearts of men, and enkindle in them the fire of that charity which burns and consumes Him for the good of His children, so as to unite them in the same perfection of supernatural life, of faith and of love of Him who created and saved them.  God is love, St. John tells us: «He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.» (1 Jn 4, 8-10) .

As we see, God gives Himself to us through love, and this love, when it is kindled in a heart, softens everything, sweetens everything, because it extinguishes the fire of unruly passions and smoothes the ways of holiness, which consist in the observance of the divine Law, through love. It is then that the person’s love for God becomes more fervent, and the union be­tween them is made closer by strong and unbreakable bonds, until this love becomes the person’s very life. And, led by this love, such a person gives him/herself completely to God and to others, for the love of God. What one then desires is to communicate to others this treasure of grace and happiness which we ourselves now possess within us, to make the way smooth for them and help them to continue on it, so that they may enjoy the same good fortune which has made us happy: love.

It is the new commandment which Christ came to give the world, and which, until then, was unknown or badly interpreted: «A new com­mandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.* (Jn 13,34). Christ loved us and surrendered Himself unto death for us. Thus Christ is for us the model of pure, chaste love, sacrificed for God and others; He is the model for our self-surrender, our consecration and our fidelity to God and to our neighbour. These words make me think not only of religious, but of everyone, because, by Baptism, we are all consecrated and dedicated to a religious life of love of God and our neighbour.

Already in the Old Testament, God had given this law: « You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself:  I am the Lord. You shall keep my statutes* (Lv 19,18-19). Yes, God ordered us to love our neighbor; He asked us to love Himself: «Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.» (Dt 6, 4-9)

Although this commandment was so explicit in the Old Law, it was misinterpreted and distorted, as Jesus showed the Scribes and Pharisees in the case of the commandment to honour our father and mother. «You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophecy of you, when he said: ‘This people hon­ours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. » (Mt 15, 7-9). A further proof of the confusion and difficulty with which people surrounded the Law of God can be seen in the question which an expert in the Law, with some others, put to Jesus: « “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as your­self. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets. “» (Mt 22, 36-40).

As Jesus teaches us, the whole Law is summed up in the love of God and of our neighbour for love of Him; in other words, we love others be­cause they are children of God like ourselves and, therefore, our brother or sister, with free will like ours, with the same rights as we have, and destined for eternal life. Accordingly, it is this love which leads us to observe each and all of the commandments, because all of them, in one way or another, refer to God and our neighbour. Their observance always redounds to the glory of God, our own good and that of our neighbour. On the other hand, their transgression affects God’s external glory – that is, in his crea­tion, not in Himself — does harm to our own good and the good of our neighbour, considered both as an individual and as a member of society.

The reason is this: we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ which is his Church. What happens in it is similar to what occurs in any living body: if one member is ailing, the whole body suffers; and, when one member is lost, the whole body feels the deprivation. Now, to transgress the commandments is a breach of love. Whenever we break a Command­ment in a serious matter, the bond of charity, which binds us to God and our neighbour, is broken. We cannot say we love when we offend!

In fact, with our transgression, we lesson the application of the re­demptive work of Jesus Christ to ourselves and, consequently, its fruit; we offend our neighbour by our bad example, either by leading them into evil ways or by harming them in their rights, their health, their life, their pos­sessions, their good name, honour, reputation, personal dignity, etc.

But we also damage ourselves, depriving ourselves of the grace of God, putting ourselves in danger of eternal damnation, throwing away our personal dignity, our good name, honour, material, moral and spir­itual goods and, in many cases, even the possibility of exercising our free­dom, since, as the Lord says: the sinner becomes the slave of sin. We sacrifice our health and, very often, our temporal and eternal life.  Sad consequences of our transgressing the Law of God!

And it is not difficult to see how any and every violation of the differ­ent Commandments ends by offending against the law of charity, which is the love of God, Whom we ceased to love when we transgressed his Law; love of our neighbour, which is damaged directly or indirectly; love of our­selves because we diminish and defraud ourselves by depriving ourselves of good things which are irretrievable either in time or in eternity. Perhaps without realising it, we disgrace ourselves completely.

The Commandments are summed up in love. They are all the expres­sion of that living fire of love, which is God. God is charity, God is love! It was through love that God gave us these precepts; like a good father who gives his children precise instructions so that they may walk in the right paths and be happy.

The Commandments are our best guardians; the best defence of hu­man life. If everyone kept these divine precepts today, there would be no assailants, thieves, adulterers, idolaters, no enemies of any kind. We would all love one another like brothers and sisters, helping one another in joy, peace and happiness, like children in their father’s house. Yes, because the world is just that: the house of our God and Father who created us all, so as to live united under his Fatherly eye, enjoying the same goods and the same loving relations, following the same road marked out by the same laws, living the same ideal which leads to the possession of the same king­dom, where life never ends, joy has no limits, and love is eternal; eternal because love is God, the love and life of God which are poured out on his children.

But how can we say that we possess charity if we do not love God and our neighbour; if we cannot manage to make the sacrifices necessary in order to fulfil each and all of the Commandments? We have no charity if we cannot deny ourselves sufficiently in order to be pure, chaste, humble, faithful to God and to our neighbour; if we cannot sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of our neighbours who are poor and need our help, our assist­ance in their difficulty, our alms and our comfort; if we cannot deny our­selves enough so as to give to our needy neighbour what we do not prefer­ring to waste it on what is useless and unnecessary.

Think of all the money wasted on sinful amusements, in the indul­gence of vices, on alcoholic drink, in cafes, in gambling — houses and places of licentious conduct, in luxuries and exaggerated vanities, on smoking, etc.! If we are foolish and selfish enough to waste completely what we could, and should, give to our brothers and sisters who are in need, cold and hungry, where, then, is our charity, our love of God and of our neighbour?

Where is our charity, if we cannot forgive from our heart, or pay back good for evil?  If we allow ourselves to be carried away by the spirit of venge­ance, by envy, jealousy, prejudice malevolence, hatred, etc.?

Sacred Scripture tells us: «You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand forth against the life of your neigh­bour: I am the Lord. You shall not hate your brother in your heart (…) You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord. You shall keep my statutes.) (Lv 19, 16-19).

And Jesus Christ taught us to ask the Father to forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have offended us, and He tells us why: «For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.* (Mt 6,14-15).

In his Gospel, referring to the question put to Jesus by a scribe: ” Which is the first of all the commandments?’ St. Mark describes the joy which filled that scribe at the answer he received and to which he replied: «”You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices‘» (Mk 12, 32-33). In these words, we have a marvellous explanation of the first and greatest of all the Commandments, that is to say, love – love of God and of our neighbour. But we must keep in mind that we will not be fulfilling it completely as long as we transgress any one of the various commandments given by God, all of which are included in these two, to the extent that a violation of any one of them involves a sin against the commandment of charity. The commandments are a kind of more detailed explanation given to us by God of the manner in which we should observe the commandment of love.

And, to end this little reflection on the Ten Commandments of God -as an integral part of his Message, sent to us through his Mother and ours, calling our attention to the path traced out by Him for all who wish to be saved – I leave you here what Jesus Christ recommended to his Apostles, and to us also, during the last hours of his earthly life: «As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love each one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. (…) This I command you, to love one another* (Jn 15, 9-14.17).

But Jesus takes the perfection of love of God and of our neighbour even further. It is easy to love our friends; but we also have to love our enemies, paying back with good the evil they have done to us. It is here that our charity touches the sphere of heroism! The Lord gave his life for his friends and also for his enemies «Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do» (Lk 23,34). He asked pardon for his enemies and wanted to save them, leaving an example to confirm what He had once said:«Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (…) your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful* (Lk 6, 27. 35-36).

Ave Maria!

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

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