A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH
How Chiara Lubich Presents the Commandments to Kids
"God's Law for a New World," Says Focolare Founder
ROME, 28 JULY 2004 (ZENIT)
"God's law for a new world" is the way Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, presents the Ten Commandments when addressing children.
"We have the laws of God, the world's greatest Legislator," she says. "God gave precise commands to men and women so that the old world could become a new world. If we want to serve humanity we must rediscover these laws, which have been buried."
Here are highlights of Lubich's approach when presenting her message. The points were reported by the Vatican agency Fides.
1) "I am the Lord you God, you will have no other god."
We break this commandment to love God with all our heart if we make an object our god and we love it more than God. This is the sin of idolatry.
It can happen that children love something more than God. Sometimes they have little idols in their heart which they defend with fists and shouts. These idols can be a game, a doll, an animal, a football, a motorbike, a book, anything which robs God of the first place in our heart. But there is only one God and we must adore and love him with all our heart and mind and strength.
Some people are superstitious. They want to know the future by reading the stars or playing cards. But only God has our future in his hands. To obey this commandment we must pray to him and listen to what he says.
We must also sing to him. This commandment contains all our religion, it speaks of our relationship with God.
2) Do not take the name of God in vain.
We must only speak about God when it is necessary and with great respect. Some people use God's name with offense or ridicule. This is the sin of swearing.
If we receive Jesus in holy Communion unworthily, we commit a sin of sacrilege, we profane his holiness.
Often, for important things, God is called as a witness, in courts of justice and this is right. But a person who give false witness commits perjury, which is a serious sin. Jesus says we must agree with each other without taking an oath: We must say yes or no.
3) Remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day!
How many boys and girls today forget about Sunday Mass? Unless they love God, they will not go to meet him.
Sunday should be a day of spiritual and physical recreation, which gives us strength for the week ahead. If we know of people who are sick or lonely, Sunday is a good day to go and visit them.
4) Honor your father and your mother.
It is terrible to see how many young people treat their parents badly, with total disrespect. They have no idea how to honor them. This commandment is very necessary!
God gives us our parents and we must honor them, take care of them, obey them. But we are not only members of a family. We belong to a town, a country and an even bigger family, the family of all mankind.
And some of us are baptized members of the Church, and we must honor the Church, our country and all humanity. This will make us children of the world.
5) Do not kill.
This commandment says we must not kill or commit suicide. But it also means we must take care of our body and our health.
A boy who eats too much or drinks or smokes or takes drugs breaks this commandment. This also includes exaggerated efforts in sports, which are harmful to health.
We must also care for the life of others. We break this commandment if we hit anyone!
We must never think that we should help old Grandpa to die so he will stop suffering. This sin is called euthanasia.
And if you ride your motorcycle dangerously, you could kill or hurt people. This commandment also says not to kill the soul through scandal, which leads others to commit evil.
6) Do not commit impure acts.
Better to die than to commit an impure act. When we are tempted the only thing to do is to run away. It's no good to try to fight the enemy. We must call God and Our Lady to help us.
To be pure we must restrain our curiosity, avoid occasions of sin, avoid idleness which is the father of all vices. Young boys and girls should not start relationships. Boys and girls who do are weak, and they walk their spiritual life with chains on their feet.
But we must not lose heart. The priest hearing confessions is there to pour out plenty of God's endless mercy.
7) Do not steal.
Be careful. Sometimes we might start by taking something small, but then this leads to ever-bigger things. We must respect things that belong to other people. And we must respect creation, which belongs to everyone: beaches, fields, towns, schools, classrooms. We must return things we borrow.
8) Do not bear false witness.
The Eighth Commandment says we must not tell lies or break our promises. We must not flatter people for our own gain. We must not give false witness against people.
We must withdraw calumny or slander because — as the Cure d'Ars used to say — a person who commits slander is like a man who takes a chicken to the top of a steeple and plucks it and the feathers fly all over the place. Then he tries to collect them!
9) Do not desire your neighbor's wife.
This is for adults. God says that "desiring" is like "taking."
10) Do note desire the goods of others.
God has already said, Do not steal. And here he says, Do not desire, because stealing begins in the heart.
These, then, are the laws which God has given us and if people obeyed them the world would be a different place.
Today we must rediscover the Ten Commandments given us by God and make them known to the boys and girls and the men and women of our times.
These commandments are not difficult to keep, as Jesus said when he came on earth.
They can be summed up in the new commandment he gave us: Love God and love your neighbor. People who love do not kill, or steal or commit impure acts, or slander. People who love do not sin. So dear children, love, love, love!
This article has been selected from the ZENIT Daily Dispatch
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