The Catechetical Office continues to examine ways to regenerate moral and spiritual values. Five helpful ‘keys’ have been identified and the first two were addressed last week. Here are the other three:
3. Honour thy Father and thy Mother
It is important for us to understand the wisdom in this commandment. It does not only speak to our blood parents but all elders and those in authority. We have lost respect for these persons. By trying to live this commandment each day we begin to respect our parents and all members of our family. Respect does not mean we agree with what they do and how they live but we respect them as persons and so it transcends to all people.
The Ten Commandments are summed up by Jesus in ‘Love God and love neighbour’. The first three Commandments are about loving God and the latter seven are about loving neighbour. Notice the commandment to honour parents heads the list of those about loving neighbour. This commandment unlocks the door to healthy human relationships. This is what is highlighted in Galatians 5:13-15.
4. See the face of Christ in each person
Blessed John Paul II asked us to contemplate the face of Christ. We cannot effectively do that if we do not see the face of Christ in each person we encounter. No matter who the person is, even a criminal, we must seek Christ. There is good in each person and if we seek Christ in each person we will bring the good in the person to the forefront and so help the person transform his or her life. Our lives, too, will also be transformed positively by others – just as when people encountered Jesus. These daily encounters with Christ will make Him come alive in our lives. This attitude unlocks the door of community living. We were created in the image and likeness of a Trinitarian God who Himself exists in community. We become fully human through community living.
5. Be charitable to others
All of us are less fortunate in some way and need others to aid us. Being charitable unlocks the door of the heart so that our stony hearts become hearts of flesh and like that of Jesus. Being charitable does not only mean giving something that is financial, it means much more. It means opening our lives to others, such as a stranger who may need a kind word or smile, a co-worker who may need a word of encouragement or just anyone we encounter during the day with whom we can share time, talent or treasure. It is important not only to give from our surplus but to make sacrifices to give. We may need to leave a bit earlier so that we can give a lift to an old lady. Look around you, there is a lot we can do as we go about our busy lives. God is love and we must be transformed to love itself. Love itself is the ultimate encounter. Michael Pennock advocates that Christian faith must result in a life of loving service or it is an empty faith.