While Father Bill is taking a “post-vacation” break, please enjoy this article from our Pastoral Assistant for Stewardship &
Evangelization, Anne Frederick. If you have any questions or comments on her article, please feel free to reach out to her at
Extension 125 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19b)
Years ago, when I was preparing children and their parents for First Communion, I often pondered why most of the Ten Commandments used a “Thou Shalt Not” format. As a child, I could never imagine killing someone, so I was probably quite safe when it came to the Fifth Commandment. However, over time, I began to ponder what it would be like to
rewrite the Commandments as what we “Shall Do”.
With the First Commandment, I could see that not worshipping false gods called me to rely on the providential grace of God, rather than chasing the idols of materialism and consumerism. Following the Fifth Commandment reminded me to honor the reputations of others, as gossip can be lethal. Not coveting the possessions of others was directing me to be a generous steward of all that God has shared with me.
One of the great blessings of being Catholic is recognizing the paradox that we find joy and freedom when we give ourselves freely to serve others. Just as we find in the Beatitudes, God’s Commandments are a call to move toward goodness. Following God’s law is a blessing, because it leads us to a freedom for excellence, which engenders happiness and holiness. When we live a virtuous life, we find our authentic selves and deepen our ability to search for purpose and meaning.
Consider how different it is when we help another person not out of obligation, but from a heart of compassion and love. As we soon approach Ash Wednesday, how might we prepare for Lent by asking not what we will give up, but rather what we might give in service to God and one another?