The Ten Commandments

   As people gather themselves and form social structures to guide their relationships, they must identify their dependence upon definite beliefs, core values and principles from which their religious, civil and common law flow and govern their activities.   

   Over time, pressures, both internal and external create the need to re-examine the spirit and value of these beliefs which have made our particular society unique from others in the past.  In the balance lies the renewed commitment to the values upon which our religious and civil freedoms have historically been built, or a society whose laws reflect little importance to its responsibility to God or to the Divine Laws he has established.  In truth, some express a conviction which questions the very existence of God.

   The society formed in the New World, while at first influenced by the nations which colonized these lands, in its early years separated itself from these 'founding countries' to establish One Nation Under God.  This new nation believed so firmly that its citizens had the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness under God, that these convictions became part of its Constitution, its Amendments and its Bill of Rights.  

The Old Testament

Divine Law - God's will made known to man through the Prophets and Revelation

 I   The Mosaic Law identified in the Old Testament of the Bible as the Divine Law
     is contained in the Pentateuch (first five books in Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
     Deuteronomy).

  A.  Mosaic Law was revealed by God to Moses c.a. 500 B.C. and was composed of: 
          Civil Law - Regulated relations among the People of God and their neighbors.
         Ceremonial Law - Regulated matters of religion and worship of God.
  B.  Moral Law (Higher Law) - Divine Code of Ethics containing the universal principles 
          of fairness, morality and justice.
  C.  Natural Law - Codified in the Ten Commandments.  Written in the hearts of man. 
          We know what we must do / what we must avoid. 
         Do to others what you would have them do to you (Golden Rule).
 
D.    Gathered from nature.
  E.    Summed up in the Decalogue (Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy).  Inspired by God, promulgated by Moses.
  F.    Parts known long before Moses wrote them down.  The basis of all true civilization. 


  G.    Standard for the Jewish Nation & Christianity.                                         

The Ten Commandments:

  I     I the Lord am your God, you shall not have other gods besides me,
        for I am a  jealous God.
 II    You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
 III   Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day for the Lord has made it holy.
 IV   Honor your father and your mother.
 V    You shall not kill.
 VI   You shall not commit adultery.
 VII  You shall not steal.
 VIII  You shall not bear false witness.
 IX   You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
 X    You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

Note:   The Mosaic Civil Law contained imperfections but was suited to the low stage level of civilization at that time.
                Foreign residents treated fairly.
                Absence of torture and mutilation.              
                Punishment for transgressors.
                Fewer cases of capital punishment than other societies.
                Material rewards result from God's pleasure, i.e. wealth, large family, good health, success in 
                battle/business, public esteem for followers and long life.

Note:   The Mosaic Civil Law was Superior to other codes of Civil Law at that time.
                Babylonia - Code of Hammurabi c.a. 1790 B.C., An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
                Assyrian Laws - Code of Assura c.a. 1075 B.C.
                Hittite Laws c.a. 1500-1400 B.C.
                Sharia Laws (Islamic Laws) c.a. 570 B.C.
                Draconian Constitution c.a. 700 B.C.
                Manusmriti c.a. 200 B.C.
                Twelve Tables of Roman Law c.a. 451 B.C.

The New Testament

The New Law (Beatitudes) Divine Law - Enacted by God and made known to man through Jesus Christ.

 II    The New Law identified in the New Testament (Matthew5:3-12).  Christ is the author
 
            Fulfilled and perfected the Old Law.
             Kingdom of God embraces all nations.
             Christ's death on cross sealed the New Covenant between God and all men.
             Heavenly sanctuary now open to all.
             The Paschal Sacrifice of the Mass renews the New Covenant each time it is offered.

 Note:   Christ came to fulfill and perfect the moral precepts of the Moral Law.
      The Gospel message raised the people above the civil and the ceremonial
       precepts of the Mosaic Law and required Israel and all nations to be
       governed by the Divine Will.
       Fulfills the moral precepts of The Law.  Charity (love toward God and man)
       as the motive for action rather than fear of punishment.
       Fulfilled the spirit and letter of The Law.
             All should obey with motives of charity.
             Spiritual blessings take precedence over temporal possessions.
             Focus on joys of eternal life over pleasures of the world.
             Strive to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Note:    The Catholic Church by virtue of the commission given to her by Christ is the Divinely constituted interpreter of Divine Law in both the Old and New Testaments.  "I say to you Peter, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:18-19)

 III   The New Law In the New Testament (Matthew 5:3-10)
       Jesus Christ - Sermon on the Mount
               
 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
 Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.   
 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
 Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of                                  heaven.
 Blessed are you when men reproach you, and persecute you, and, speaking falsely, say all manner of evil against you for my sake.  Rejoice and exult, because your reward is great in heaven; for so did they persecute the prophets who were before you.

       A.   Law of love - to love as God loves, to carry out our duties of life.
       B.   Respect his representatives:
               Those who participate in her authority do so as ministers of Christ's Church.
               The Pope, Bishops, priests, religious and lay men and women in union with the Pope.
       C.   All who act under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and Angels as they conform with God's will.
       D.   Condition of Blessedness (Beatitude) is the ultimate goal of human life.
               We move toward this goal as our actions are directed by the Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Activity of the Holy Spirit

 IV  Movements of the Holy Spirit.

      A.  Natural Virtues - Virtues are ways of acting which we can accomplish ourselves for our own physical and mental well-being.
            1.  Physical - for a sound body.
            2.  Mental - for a sound mind.

      B.  Supernatural Virtues (helps for acting in ways not possible using the Natural Virtues alone.  They are gifts from God for our spiritual well-being.  Habits are thoughts and actions which have God as their object. 
           Through the perfecting power of God's grace, we are motivated toward attitudes above those which are merely natural.  God's supernatural life encourages us toward actions inspired by:

            1.  Faith - To firmly believe all the truths God has revealed, on the Word of God revealing them, because he can neither deceive nor be deceived.
            2.  Hope - To trust God will provide the means for our salvation.
            3.  Charity - To love God with one's whole heart and mind, and one's neighbor as oneself out of love for God.    
                 a.  
Corporal Works of Mercy - Works of Charity for my neighbor’s physical well-being.
                          I must feed the hungry.
                          I must give drink to the thirsty.
                          I must clothe the naked.
                          I must shelter the homeless.
                          I must visit the sick.
                          I must visit the imprisoned.
                          I must bury the dead.
                  
b.   Spiritual Works of Mercy - Works of Charity for my neighbor’s spiritual well-being.
                          I must counsel the doubtful.
                          I must instruct the ignorant.
                          I must admonish he sinner.
                          I must comfort the sorrowful.
                          I must forgive injuries.
                          I must bear wrongs patiently.
                          I must pray for the living and the dead.

      C.  Moral Virtues (Cardinal – most important, upon which others depend).  - We deal with other persons and things as directed by our love of God, in cooperation with his grace, and according to his will.

       1.  Prudence - Helps me to decide what is truly good.
       2.  Justice - Helps me to give everyone his due.
       3.  Fortitude - Helps me to overcome difficulties in going good and avoiding evil.
       4.  Temperance - Helps me to be moderate in the use of food, drink and legitimate pleasures.
       5.  Additional Virtues:
            a
).  Patriotism - Love of one’s country to the extent of giving up life for its defense subject to morality.
           
b).  Filial Piety - Respect as a child of God for God the Father, for our parents, and for those in authority.
            c
).  Obedience - Recognize and carry out orders of legitimate superiors. 
                    Sinful commands may never be followed.
            d
).  Veracity - Saying in speech what one honestly believes to be true.
            e
).  Liberality - Generosity in material, spiritual and intellectual gifts.
           
f).   Patience - Endure the trials of life in resignation to God’s will without despair.
           
g).  Humility - An appreciation and external expression of one’s true position to God and neighbor.
           
h).  Purity - Freedom from sin in soul, heart, conscience, motive or intention.

 V.  Gifts of the Holy Spirit - Given to us as He dwells in our soul prompting us to be holy.

  A.  Wisdom - To find joy in the things of God and judge everything according to God's standards.
  B.  Understanding - Helps me to grasp and appreciate the mysteries of God’s love for us.
  C.  Counsel
        1.  Helps me to see what is best for the glory of God, for mine and my neighbor’s salvation.  
        2.  Supernatural common sense.
  D.  Fortitude - Permits one to face the evils he dreads.
  E.  Knowledge - Helps me to recognize the value of created things as they point toward God.
  F.  Piety - Helps me to love and respect God out of love rather than duty.
  G.  Fear of the Lord - Helps to respect and follow God’s laws because he is our father rather than  
        out of fear.  

 VI.  Fruits of the Holy Spirit - Result from our cooperation with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Good attitudes are formed which encourage us to practice the following:
 
       A. 
Charity - Actions driven by love for God and neighbor.
       B.  Joy - Helps a person serve God cheerfully.
       C.  Peace - The mind is untroubled in face of spiritual or temporal trials.
       D.  Patience - Bear the trials of life with resignation to God’s will, not giving in to sadness.
       E.  Benignity - Kindness, gentleness, sympathy, wishing well for others.
       F.  Goodness - Something is pleasing because its worth and value flow from God.
       G.  Long-suffering - Christian endurance of evils over a long period of time out of love for God.
       H.  Mildness - Gentleness but not softness without strength.
       I.    Faith - Believe all that God has revealed because he can neither deceive nor be deceived.
       J.   Modesty - Moderation in all things, behavior and dress, respect for one’s worth.
       K.   Continence - Voluntarily with one’s partner abstain from legitimate marital intercourse.
       L.   Chastity: 
             1.  Single persons - Exclude all indulgence in and voluntary pleasure from the sexual  act.
             2.  Married persons - Control of the sexual appetite according to right reason.  Intercourse between husband with lawful wife is chastity.

The New and Eternal Covenant
 

  Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my   Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

 Do this in memory of me
.
 (Prayers at the Consecration during the Mass)

Now, all have access to the heavenly sanctuary.

  Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of    the world. 
   Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

  Priest / All: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,   but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
  (Prayers at the Communion of the Mass)

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