Catechism and the Liturgy

The moral life is a response to the Lord's initiative of love

   CAT. 2052-2074: This is an interesting read in which the commandments are seen as positively requiring more than refraining from evil. They are kept through the two-fold commandment of love of God and love of neighbor, which provides the correct context for interpreting the law and the correct impulse for attempts at fulfilling the law.

   CAT. 2061-2063: The human life, that is the moral life, is a response to God's loving initiative. 

   An early Scripture scholar named Origen points out that we left the "paradise of freedom to  the slavery of the world as a punishment for sin."

   So, the first words of the Decalogue begin with the reminder that God is liberator: "I am the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. Therefore, I am the Lord thy God who you shall only worship."

   The next commandments are properly called

laws because they give obligations. However, they are consequences of our initial belonging to a relationship with God. By service, we worship him and cooperate in his plans for our destiny and that he intends for all humanity.

   The commandments are given in the singular, "I, the Lord," addressing a singular person - "you."

   This happens in the context of the Chosen People being given the law. It attempts to safeguard a personal relationship between God and the believer, but also a communal responsibility among the believers in approaching their God.

   Thus, St. Irenaeus claims, "We are made just by these commandments so that we might be neither unworthy of God nor unjust to our neighbor.

   "We Christians still keep the Old Testament commandments, but we have a higher emphasis because Jesus came in the flesh. He is the neighbor who is loved in all those connected to him, and he is the God who saves us while remining in perfect unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit who we are to adore, as God is."

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