Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Ten Commandments: 7th Commandment: Don't Steal

"You shall not steal"

Why do people steal? So many excuses and reasons could come forth, but the root of it all is greed and pride. If we are content with what we have, then stealing should not occur. However, some of us may not be content or satisfied. The urge of having something more, or something bigger, better, faster, newer, etc. could lead us to stealing. People steal in so many ways, some obvious, some subtle. Some may think that those who are poor or needy are more likely to steal, but one would be surprised to learn that even the rich steal. Are there any among us who are guilty of this?

If we have:
  • Commit theft, either directly or through the assistance of others
  • Damage the property of others, either on our own or through the assistance of others
  • Do not pay just debts (for example, we buy items on credit but do not pay up when the time comes to pay, or we avoid paying taxes)
  • Do not return found or borrowed articles (especially if we know the person who owns the article) - in some cases, we may not know the person but even if the person is present and looking for the article, some may keep the article and pretend to look elsewhere
  • Give unjust measure or weight in selling
  • Do not pay just wages (paying less than what was agreed or not paying what others are entitled to or even witholding payment without a just or valid reason)
  • Commit or help others to commit bribery
  • Commit or help others to commit graft or corruption
  • Cheat others in whatever form or method
  • Commit or help others to commit fraud
  • Accept stolen property
  • Not giving an honest day's work for wages received, for example by procrastinating or wilfully slowing the work so that the amount of time needed to complete the work is extended
  • Violation of contract without a just and valid reason
  • The list can go on and on...
then we could be breaking this commandment.

  • Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need (Ephesians 4:28).
  • Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death (Proverbs 10:2).
  • For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs (1 Timothy 6:10).
  • Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions (Malachi 3:8).
Regardless whether the item is big or small, cheap or expensive, light or heavy; stealing is still called stealing. Let us walk in the right path of God and avoid doing such despicable things.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Ten Commandments: 6th Commandment: No Adultery

"You shall not commit adultery"

Someone once joked that if infants should enjoy their infancy, so adults should enjoy their adultery. While this statement may sound funny, it is certainly no laughing matter in meaning and practice.

If we have:
  • Had unchaste relations in thought, word and deed with another's wife or husband
  • Watched or shared pornography, bad movies or books
  • Uttered obscene speech
  • Entertained impure thoughts and actions alone or with others
  • Committed or encouraged masturbation, fornication, homosexuality, incest, bestiality, pedophilia
  • Committed immodesty with ourselves or others in looks, dress, words, or actions
then we could be breaking this commandment.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honour God with your body... (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)." Thus we ought to practise chastity and modesty in all our looks, words, and actions, while avoiding occasions of sin.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Ten Commandments: 5th Commandment: Don't Kill

"You shall not kill"

Would anyone in his or her right mind kill another person? Perhaps not. But there are ways a person can kill another person directly or indirectly, and we should be discerning enough to know and prevent such ways from happening.

If we have:
  • Wilfully murdered another person
  • Committed or attempted suicide or caused another person to do so
  • Caused the abortion of a fetus of oneself or of another person's
  • Committed or promoted euthanasia
  • Used or encouraged others to use artificial contraception
  • Caused the sterilisation of self or others
  • Used or promoted In vitro fertilization (IVF), where often more than one female egg is fertilised by sperm taken from either the husband or a donor, then only one female egg is placed in the woman and the remaining fertilised eggs are either discarded or given to other women, depending on the circumstances
  • Caused or promoted cloning, which involves IVF procedure
  • Endangering life and limb of self or others, including dangerous attempts of bravado or showing off
  • Caused fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, and bad example, which lead to death of self or others
then we could be breaking this commandment.

Society is promoting more and more a culture of death, where without morals, "it is the strong who decide the fate of the weak," and "Human beings therefore become instruments of other human beings" (Evangelium Vitae 3, 12). Let us put aside our self-centered ways and promote a culture of life, where human life at all stages from conception through natural death is sacred.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Ten Commandments: 4th Commandment: Honour father and mother

"Honour your father and your mother"

As children, we are often taught to love, respect and obey our parents. As we grow up, we are also taught to show obedience to lawful civil authorities, as well as obedience to religious superiors (especially with matters concerning faith and morals).

However, if some us have:
  • Shown hatred of parents and superiors
  • Abandoned or showed unjust anger or insult especially towards ageing parents
  • Shown contempt, disrespect and disobedience towards our parents or lawful superiors
  • Rebellious towards lawful civil authorities or lawful superiors
then we could be breaking this commandment.

Honour here does not mean blind respect or obedience. One has to discern and ensure that proper respect or obedience be validly given. Sometimes, it is difficult to honour our parents, especially if
they have been unfair or abusive towards us. However, we honour them not because they deserve it, but because God taught us to love all, even our enemies.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Ten Commandments: 3rd Commandment: Keep Holy the Lord's Day

"Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day"

Most of us are busy people, but we should take care not to overdo things. Sometimes we do too much at the expense of something else. Perhaps the something else could be our health, and all the effort in doing so much ends up in poor health or hefty medical bills. Perhaps the something else could be our strained relationship with family and friends. Or perhaps the something else could be our deteriorating relationship with God.

If we:
  • Skip or miss church through one's own fault (no valid reason)
  • Conduct unnecessary servile work
  • Perform unnecessary public buying and selling
  • And whatever else that may hinder proper observance of the Lord's day.
then we could be not keeping holy the Lord's day.

We ought to remember that the Lord's day is for all Catholics to gather for Mass to be nourished by the Lord. Just as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done," human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.

There is more to life than just pursuing career, wealth, status and dreams. Let us not waste it only to one day regret that we could have done things differently to grow in our relationship with God and people. Are we willing to look at that person in the mirror and make the change?

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Ten Commandments: 2nd Commandment: Don't play play with God's name

"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain"

Some of us may be guilty of being too quick in saying something, only to regret later. Others may habitually use "flowery" words in one form or another, without realising or considering the degrading consequences of such words. As Catholics, we are reminded to show good example and preach the Good News by word and deed. However, when we commit one or many of these:
  • Utter blasphemy (the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.) by irreverent use of God's name, or speaking disrespectfully of holy things (Some may have said: "Oh my God! How can you be so stupid." or something similar)
  • Uttering profane words (cursing, swearing, using demeaning or degrading words: many of which are improper or blatantly disgusting to mention here)
  • Making false, rash, unjust, and unnecessary oaths or vows, and breaking of vows (either being unable to keep the vows or intentionally not keeping the vows).
then we could be breaking this commandment.

Proverbs 21:23 reminds us: " Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief." Jesus also reminds us that "It is not what goes into the mouth that makes a person unclean. It is what comes out of the mouth that makes a person unclean (Matthew 15:1)." Let us take heed and be careful with what we say.

BO and MO during Confession?

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