The Five Commandments
I asked son #2 what he was learning in Faith Formation class and to his credit he didn’t reply with “nothing”. He thought about it for a bit and then told me, “the Commandments Mom, the FIVE Commandments.” My husband and I look at each other. “Wow, the FIVE Commandments. There used to be TEN back in the day. Which ones don’t we have to follow any more?” I ask. He realizes his mistake and back peddles. “No, Mom, it’s TEN Commandments.” “Are you sure about that? I kind of like the new revised version. (wink-wink) Let’s see, can we steal and murder now? Do we get to treat the Sabbath like a Saturday?” I ask. This is very interesting stuff. I thought the Catholic curriculum was stable. Who knew Pope Francis was so radical?
We ran with the jokes for awhile but then I asked him if he could name the Ten Commandments. He couldn’t and neither could I. Ironically, I could only come up with five, giving my son license to tease me. With my husband’s help we were able to come up with all ten.
Here they are in order (paraphrased).
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the Earth beneath.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, wife…..
It was a good refresher to revisit the basic rules of being a good Christian. At first glance it seems these rules are reasonable and easy to follow. I don’t kill, commit adultery or steal. I consider myself a “decent person” and a “good citizen”. I should have these basic tenets under control but when I look a little more closely I realize that I don’t. Sure I go to church on Sunday but I can’t say I keep the whole day holy. I try to honor my father and mother but I know I can do a better job. Do I covet? – Hell yes! Do I have other gods? – Yes, in the form of material wants, pride, selfishness (think deadly sins – are there still seven of those?). I realize I’m not as upstanding as I thought. I am a sinner and I have improvement work to do.
My son was unintentionally insightful for me. There are Five Commandments – Five Commandments that I really need to work on. We’ll all remember that there are ten commandments and in case we forget, they are etched in stone.