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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 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.