Chapter 26. Second Commandment: Reverence God’s Name • 353
God then corrects the three friends because “you have not spoken
rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job” (42:8). God then restores
Job to health, grants him a family, and makes him prosperous once again.
Even in the midst of great suffering, Job praised God and, because of
his fidelity, experienced the awesomeness, majesty, and holiness of God.
In every circumstance of his life, he kept holy God’s name.
THE NAME OF GOD IS HOLY
The second commandment [requires] respect for the
Lord’s name. Like the first commandment, it belongs to
the virtue of religion and more particularly it governs
our use of speech in sacred matters.
—CCC, no. 2142
At the burning bush, Moses asked God for his name. God replied, “I
am who am. . . . This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent
me to you” (Ex 3:14). The Hebrews treated this name for God with
such respect that they did not speak it. It was honored in silence. Only
the high priest, once a year at the feast of atonement, pronounced this
name at the incense offering in the Holy of Holies in the temple. Out of
reverence for the revealed holy name, the people substituted the name
, which means “Lord.” Modern Jews adapt this custom by writ-
” instead of the customary spelling.
The Second Commandment calls us to the virtue of reverence for
God, which trains us to know and to preserve the difference between
the Creator and the creature. Respect for God’s name keeps us from
reducing him to a mere fact, or even a thing that we can control or
manipulate. At the same time, a gracious God desires to be intimate with
us, even becoming incarnate in Jesus Christ and dwelling in us through
the Holy Spirit. In John’s Gospel, Jesus applies to himself the expression
“I Am” (cf. Jn 8:58), thus identifying himself with God. He distinguishes
himself from his Father and from the Holy Spirit, whom he will send to