The First Commandment: How do I worship my God?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever! We continue our short meditations on the Ten Commandments of our Lord. But first, let me remind you of what I wrote in my previous articles. I started with the First Commandment: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before
them or serve them” (Exodus 20, 2-5).
The First Commandment consists of three parts: Theological (Who is my God?), Pastoral (How do I believe in my God?), and Liturgical (How do I worship my God?).
I already have explained the first two parts. Therefore, I will concentrate — and meditate — on the commandment’s third and final part: Liturgical (How do I worship my God?).
The third part reads: You shall not bow down before them or serve them. Here we note some significant nonactions: “not bow down” and “not serve” other gods. To better understand these terms, let us examine their definitions.
The first is a phrasal verb “bow down,” which means to show respect to someone, to show that someone is very important, to become prostrate before someone or something. The second verb “serve” means to perform duties or services for someone.
Our Lord strictly prohibits us to bow down before or to serve other gods. We cannot serve an “idol or god” and our Creator at any time, in any way. Continue reading

The First Commandment: You shall not make for yourself an idol

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!

The Ten Commandments are the basis of our Christian morality and our moral behavior. The commandments are God’s divine laws, unchangeable, given for humanity’s sake once and forever. Therefore, the importance of explaining them, studying them and remembering them should be obvious to every Christian.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in my last article I explained the First Commandment in general as well as in its theological context (Who is my God?). In this article I will reflect on the second part of the First Commandment: You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth (Exodus 20, 2-5). We refer to this part of the First Commandment as Pastoral (How do I believe in my Lord?).

This part of the First Commandment strictly prohibits us from creating an idol of any kind. An idol is biblically defined as a created image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. An idol is something that distracts a person from our living God. Something that invites affection and passion. Something a person can serve, given the time or the money.

When a person makes an idol for himself, he overlooks — perhaps abandons — Almighty God. When a person creates, worships and serves an idol, he commits one of the greatest mortal sins — Idolatry, which can vary in kind. Continue reading

The First Commandment: I am the Lord Your God

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we continue this series of articles in the field of Moral Theology. One of Moral Theology’s most important lessons is the Decalogue (literally Ten Words) or the Ten Commandments. I am sure you remember them from your catechism classes but let me review them so you may reflect on them for yourselves.

Very often when we hear about the Ten Commandments, we immediately imagine something negative, something that prohibits us from doing something: “Don’t do this or don’t do that.” Yet at the same time, we overlook why God gave the Decalogue to the people.

In Chapter 20 of the Book of Exodus, we read God was a protagonist and gave the commandments to the Jewish people because of His love for them. The Decalogue served as a sign of the Covenant, a sign of God’s love for the Jewish people. By keeping the Ten Commandments, the Jewish people accordingly declared their love for God and obeyed God’s word because of His love.

With the coming of Jesus Christ, scripture inherited a universal character. It also offered the world a new and everlasting Covenant, one established through the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ for the benefit of all nations. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Continue reading

Contemplating God’s importance in our lives

May the Peace, Love, and Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you!

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, very soon we will celebrate the greatest feast for all Christians — the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ! Continue reading

Approach with fear of God and with faith

My name is Father Vasyl Symyon, originally from the Byzantine Cathol i c Eparchy of Mukachevo, Ukraine, and currently a Byzantine Catholic priest within the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.

I have served as pastor of two wonderful parishes in the Archeparchy for nearly five years. And during my time here, I have been asked by many of my parishioners about the need to confess their sins. Questions such as: “What must I say when I come to confession?,” “What do I have to confess?,” “Of what I believe I do wrong, are some
of them really sins?,” “What is the definition of a grave sin?,” “What is a venial sin?,” and “When and how often do I have to go to confession?”

With those questions in mind, this article is the first in a series through which I will provide important answers to important questions in the field of moral theology and bioethics based on the teaching of the Catholic Church. Therefore, I hope to enlighten all readers to grow their spiritual lives, enhance their holiness and help them reach the Kingdom of God.

As significant material for this article, I referenced a very important document of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States. On Nov. 14, 1996, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a document, “Guidelines on the Reception of Communion,” which teaches us:

“As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.” Continue reading