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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 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-

ing “


” 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