The Depth of the Commandments According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church

While The Ten Commandments are popularly known as God’s rules for Christians to live by, there really is just one commandment: the commandment to love. All the others follow from just this one overarching commandment. The commandment to love can be split into two more specific commandments: love God and love one another. The commandments to love God and one another can then be expanded further into The Ten Commandments. The first through third commandments involve loving God. The fourth through tenth commandments involve loving one another.

Every single sin can be described by how it opposes one of these commandments. There are no sins that do not fit under a commandment. In some cases, it’s not clear why a sin fits under a commandment, but that’s where the Catechism of the Catholic Church fits in. It explains each commandment in detail including all the opposing sins.

Interesting is the fact that the ninth and tenth commandments are more extensions of the sixth and seventh commandments than entirely new commandments. The sixth commandment (“You shall not commit adultery.”) covers the sinful actions related to impurity while the ninth commandment (“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.”) covers the sinful thoughts related to impurity. The seventh and tenth commandments follow the same model except covering sinful actions (seventh) and thoughts (tenth) related to stealing.

I have summarized this information in the chart below. It starts at the top with the commandment to love, then to love God and one another, then to the ten commandments, and finally, the sins that oppose those commandments. I have made the ninth and tenth commandments extensions of the sixth and seventh commandments, all under Love One Another. The commandments are in circles with orange text while the sins are in rectangles with red text. In parentheses next to each sin is the reference number of the corresponding passage in the Catechism of the Catholic Church for further reading.

The commandments and their opposing sins.

Click image to view full screen.

May God bless you with his abundant grace,
Jared

God’s Will vs God’s will

It can be confusing when studying the faith because there are many words and phrases that seem to have more than one meaning. God’s will is one example. Many times I will see it used in this way:

If you do God’s Will, you will get to heaven.

Here, “God’s Will” is just a shorthand way of referring to God’s overall set of rules for us to follow. There’s the commandments and other rules from the Bible, plus all the rules from the Church’s doctrine. Those would all be God’s Will, in a sense. God truly will’s us to follow these rules. The reward is a place in heaven. To do God’s Will would then be to follow God’s laws (CCC 2825). Here is another way I see God’s will used:

It was God’s will that I got hired for the job.

In this sense, “God’s will” is used like the idea of destiny. “It was my destiny that I got the job.” This is a much more bold claim to make. Anyone can say we need to follow God’s laws, but for a person to say God personally directed something to happen in their life is a little arrogant in my eyes. It may be completely true that God did make something happen for the person, but there’s no way to know for sure. For the most part, God does not predetermine what’s going to happen in our lives. He gives people free will to make decisions (CCC 1036).

I think it is best to avoid using God’s will to refer to destiny. Better to say, “God answered my prayer, and I got the job.” Even then, however, the reality is God did not force the manager to hire the person. At most, God planted the idea in his head that this person would be a good hire. The manager still had the free will to choose who to hire (CCC 311, 1705). Prayers are not useless — they have an effect — but they will never force someone to do something.

Throughout this article, I used a capital ‘W’ to refer to the phrase meaning God’s laws and a lowercase ‘w’ to refer to the meaning about destiny. I will try to remember to use capital and lowercase letters if I write any future articles using both phrases. I like my writing to be as clear as possible though, so I doubt I will refer to destiny using “God’s will”. I will only use it as the Church does, about what God wants Catholics to be doing.

May God bless you with his abundant grace,
Jared