Life in Christ
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.
The commandments of the Decalogue, although accessible
to reason alone, have been revealed. To attain a complete and
certain understanding of the requirements of the natural law, sinful
humanity needed this revelation:
A full explanation of the commandments of the Decalogue
became necessary in the state of sin because the light of
reason was obscured and the will had gone astray.
We know God’s commandments through the divine reve
lation proposed to us in the Church, and through the voice of moral
The obligation of the Decalogue
Since they express man’s fundamental duties towards God
and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their
obligations. They are fundamentally im
mutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can
dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by
God in the human heart.
Obedience to the Commandments also implies obligations
in matter which is, in itself, light. Thus abusive language is forbid
den by the fifth commandment, but would be a grave offense only
as a result of circumstances or the offender’s intention.
“Apart from me you can do nothing”
Jesus says: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who
abides inme, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from
me you can do nothing.”
The fruit referred to in this saying is the
holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When we believe
in Jesus Christ, partake of hismysteries, and keep his commandments,
the Savior himself comes to love, in us, his Father and his brethren, our
Father and our brethren. His person becomes, through the Spirit, the
living and interior rule of our activity. “This ismy commandment, that
you love one another as I have loved you.”
31 St. Irenaeus,
4, 15, 1: PG 7/1, 1012.
32 St. Bonaventure,
4, 37, 1, 3.