Over the past two weeks, we have discussed the honor and reverence that we owe to God, the Author of all life, and, by extension, to His saints. This week, in Lesson Thirty-Second of the Baltimore Catechism No. 2, we continue our series of lessons on the Ten Commandments by looking at the Second and Third Commandments as an extension of the First.
The Second Commandment—"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain"—follows from the First because the honor and reverence that we owe to God requires us to treat all that is holy with respect in our speech. Today, we think of that primarily in avoiding cursing, but that is not what it means literally to take the name of the Lord in vain. While we need to avoid cursing, blasphemy, and other profane language, we also must be careful not to make oaths or vows that we do not intend to fulfill.
When we take an oath, we swear "by God" that what we will say is true. Deliberately lying after taking an oath is not simply a sin against those to whom we lie but a sin against God, because we have invoked Him to witness to the truth of our statements. Likewise, a vow is a promise made to God; if breaking a promise to a friend or a relative is a bad thing, breaking a promise to the Creator of the universe is infinitely worse.
The Third Commandment—"Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day"—follows from the first, because, for Christians, the Sabbath of the Old Law has been replaced by Sunday, the Lord's day. To honor God—in particular, the Resurrection of His Son—we are to spend our Sundays in worship of Him and in His service (and the service of others). This is, in fact, the basis of our Sunday Duty.
Part of that duty is to rest from all servile labor. In times past, that largely meant manual labor, but today, the Church extends the meaning of servile to include any work that is unnecessary and that hinders the refreshing of soul and body. Taking care of ourselves is itself a way to honor God, the Creator of all life.
The parallel lesson this week in the First Communion Catechism is Lesson Twenty-Eighth. It includes 11 questions drawn from Lesson Thirty-Second of the Confirmation Catechism.
- Welcome to Sunday School!
- On God and His Perfections
- On the Unity and Trinity of God
- On Creation
- On Our First Parents and the Fall
- On Sin and Its Kinds
- On the Incarnation and Redemption
- On Our Lord's Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension
- On the Holy Ghost and His Descent Upon the Apostles
- On the Effects of the Redemption
- On the Church
- On the Attributes and Marks of the Church
- On the Sacraments in General
- On Baptism
- On Confirmation
- On the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Ghost
- On the Sacrament of Penance
- On Contrition
- On Confession
- On the Manner of Making a Good Confession
- On Indulgences
- On the Holy Eucharist
- On the Ends for Which the Holy Eucharist Was Instituted
- On the Sacrifice of the Mass
- On Extreme Unction and Holy Orders
- On Matrimony
- On the Sacramentals
- On Prayer
- On the Commandments of God
- On the First Commandment
- On the Honor and Invocation of Saints