354 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived
the world after his Resurrection. This was one way Jesus opened us to
understanding God as Trinity.
A name in some way conveys the reality of a person—the origin,
the history, the very being of the person. That is why people are pro-
tective about their names and expect them to be treated with honor.
The name of God obviously deserves the highest honor and respect. The
Lord gives us a Commandment that asks us to reverence his name and
not to use it in a disrespectful or manipulative way. When Jesus taught
the Our Father, his first petition was “Hallowed be thy name.” We also
praise God’s holy name in every Mass at the beginning of the Eucharistic
Prayer when we recite or sing the Holy, Holy, Holy.
We also draw strength from recalling our Baptism, which initiated
us into the Church “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit.” To be baptized in the name of the Trinity means to be
immersed into the very life of the Father, Son, and Spirit. God’s name
sanctifies us. In Baptism, we also commonly receive the name of a saint,
a disciple of Christ who has led an exemplary life, to remind us of our
call to holiness. Patron saints—that is, the saint or saints whose name
we have been given—serve as examples of the way to holiness by their
witness to faith, hope, and love. They also intercede with God for our
benefit. God calls us by name. Our name is sacred. We need to honor
God’s name and the names of others to make our world a center of dig-
nity and respect.
THE WRONG USE OF GOD’S NAME
The Second Commandment forbids the wrong use or misuse of God’s
name. There are a number of ways in which this happens. Blasphemy
uses the name of God and of Jesus Christ as well as those of the Blessed
Mother and the saints in an offensive manner. The
that blasphemy consists “in uttering against God—inwardly or out-
wardly—words of hatred, reproach, or defiance” (CCC, no. 2148). This
is gravely sinful. Habitual disrespect for God, displayed in cursing and
even in the use of vulgar language, can create an attitude that erodes our
relationship with the Lord.