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I Am The Lord Your God, You Shall Not
Have Other Gods Before Me
By Frank J Casella
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Photo: 'When Men Put God First, All Else Falls Into Their Proper Place' - Copyright Frank J Casella All Rights Reserved.
Note: The next ten blog posts will be a series on The Ten Commandments, (unless Bishop Perry has something to say) and excerpts from the Catholic Catechism on how this relates to 'Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man'.  
The Book of Exodus, chapter 20, tells of how God revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. Deuteronomy 5 tells of how Moses tells the Israelites the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 32:15, we read how God Himself gave Moses the two stone tablets which He had made. Moses broke them in anger when he saw the people had fallen into idolatry; in chapter 34, Moses cut two more tablets to replace the ones he had broken.
2067 The Ten Commandments state what is required in the love of God and love of neighbor. The first three concern love of God, and the other seven love of neighbor ...  As charity comprises the two commandments to which the Lord related the whole Law and the prophets . . . so the Ten Commandments were themselves given on two tablets. Three were written on one tablet and seven on the other. 27
2070 The Ten Commandments belong to God's revelation. At the same time they teach us the true humanity of man. They bring to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the fundamental rights inherent in the nature of the human person. The Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law:
From the beginning, God had implanted in the heart of man the precepts of the natural law. Then he was content to remind him of them. This was the Decalogue. 31
2072 Since they express man's fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart. 
I hope this blog series will help you reflect on both the commandments and the Catechism so that you may be renewed to grow more in holiness as a Catholic man. 
Frank J Casella
CMCS Co-founder & Executive Director
The First commandment: "I am the Lord your God, you shall not have other gods before me"
Following Jesus Christ involves keeping the Commandments. God's first call and just demand is that man accept him and worship him. The commandment most directly prohibits the worship of false gods, while also prohibiting images. The Jews were very prone to such idolatry before the great exile. Afterwards they seem to have been largely healed. However, in a loose sense, not a strict sense, some people today "worship" the false gods of secularism, which says this world is the only one to be considered, or hedonism, which makes pleasure the goal of life, or Communism, which denies the existence of God.
CCC #2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it." 70 The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone:
Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is. 71 
The first commandment embraces faith, hope, and charity. The Cross / Crucifix not only rid us of sin, but it also freed us from the law. Now we can freely love God because we know that He loves us. This is because obedience turns the will of the Father into our own, and enables us to share in His life. In order to be obedient to God, we must first understand His will. To do this we must cultivate a love for Him based on gratitude and admiration. The central virtue in the sacrifice of Jesus was His obedience to the will of the Father. This obedience turned the will of the Father into our own, and enabled us to share in His life.
CCC #2086 "The first commandment embraces faith, hope, and charity. When we say 'God' we confess a constant, unchangeable being, always the same, faithful and just, without any evil. It follows that we must necessarily accept his words and have complete faith in him and acknowledge his authority. He is almighty, merciful, and infinitely beneficent. Who could not place all hope in him? Who could not love him when contemplating the treasures of goodness and love he has poured out on us? Hence the formula God employs in the Scripture at the beginning and end of his commandments: 'I am the LORD.'" 8 
Our role in the Mass is not to be passive spectators, but to participate in the actions of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication. We should do these things, but we must not forget that our ultimate purpose is to obey God. St. Paul reminds us that being like Christ in our actions of reparation for sin is a key part of being saved.
And we need to remember this in order to not fall into self-absorption or forget the greater cause for the Mass. CCC #1074
Reference: The Ten Commandments from USCCB
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