God And The First Commandment
( Originally Published 1922 )
"I am the Lord thy God ; thou shalt not have strange gods before me."
God made all things. God gives us life. God rules the world and all things in it. God is the Lord of heaven and earth. God said : "I am the Lord thy God." We must serve God all our lives. We must pray to God. We must believe in Him and hope in Him. We must love Him.
Children, I would like to hear you tell the story again about Moses and the Commandments. Tell me where we can read about them. In what part of the Bible are they written? Perhaps you would like to tell me the story of the world. Where does everything come from? Tell me how every-thing makes you think about God. What can you tell me about the sun, the moon, and the stars? Tell me what God does for us every day. You might talk about the things we eat, the things we wear, the things that make us happy here. Where do we get our life? At first we are little babies. What follows? How do we grow? What happens at last? What happens when we die? Where did heaven and earth come from? Who rules heaven and earth? What did God say in the First Commandment?
Now, somebody might ask you how God rules the world. I would like to hear you tell what God does for the world. For what do you thank God every day ? What do you do to serve God ? What Church teaches us what God wants us to do? Why did God say?—"Thou shalt not have strange gods before me." What kind of gods did the pagans worship ? Why do we worship God alone? How long has God been God? How long will God be God? To whom do we offer the Sacrifice of the Mass? Whom do we honor when we offer the Sacrifice of the Mass? What does the priest offer to God in the Sacrifice of the Mass? Under what form does the priest offer our Lord's body and blood?
Perhaps you could tell me about the sacrifice of the Old Law. Cain and Abel offered sacrifices. Noah offered sacrifice when he came out of the ark. I am sure you can tell me about these sacrifices and where you can read about them. Do you know what sacrifice God told Abraham to offer? He told him to offer his son Isaac. Abraham was very sad ; but he was willing to obey God. So he took Isaac up on a mountain to offer him as a sacrifice. Then God sent an angel to stop him. (Book of Genesis.)
How does the priest worship God? Why is the Sacrifice of the Mass the best worship we can give to God? What does the priest offer in the Sacrifice of the Mass? How do the people worship God? Why do you genuflect when you enter the church? Whom do you worship when you go to church? Whom do you worship when you pray? What prayer did our Lord teach us? What do you call God when you say the Lord's Prayer?
Our Lord taught the Our Father to the Apostles. That is why it is called the Lord's Prayer. You can read about this in the Bible. It is written in the Gospel of St. Matthew, Ch. 6, 9.
Tell me some of the things we ask of God in the Our Father. How do we pray that all may honor God's name ? Why do we say? —"hallowed be thy name." How do we pray that all may obey God? What do you mean when you say? — "thy kingdom come." Why do you say? — "thy will be done." How do we ask God for all that we need every day? How do we ask God to forgive us ? What do we ask God to keep us from ?
What prayer do we say to honor God's holy mother? Who first said the first part of the Hail Mary? When did the Angel Gabriel say this to the Blessed Virgin Mary? You know God sent the Angel Gabriel to tell the Blessed Virgin that she was to be our Lord's mother. You can read about this in the Gospel of St. Luke, Ch. 2.
Why do you say the Apostles' Creed? What do we say that we believe when we say the Apostles' Creed? Who taught us the things in the Apostles' Creed? What Church teaches us those things now?
Whom do we adore? Why is it a sin to adore any other than God? Why do we kneel when we pray ? What kind of gods did the pagans adore? Whom do we adore when we kneel before the crucifix? Whom do we honor when we pray before a statue of the Blessed Virgin? Why do we pray before statues of the saints? Whom do we honor when we honor relics of the saints? Why do we honor the cross? Why did our Lord die upon the cross?
Do you know a large part of our Lord's cross is kept in a church at Rome? Our Lord's cross was found in Jerusalem by St. Helena, who was the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine. She lived about three hundred years after our Lord died. Constantine, her son, became a Christian. He was the first Roman Emperor to be a Christian. What would you do if you saw a piece of our Lord's cross? Who found our Lord's cross in Jerusalem ? Who was St. Helena's son? When did St. Helena live? Who was the first Christian Emperor of Rome? Why do you honor the cross so much ? Why do we have crosses on our churches? Why do we have the crucifix in our homes?
Now, you might tell me what the angels and saints do for you. Tell me what you know about the saints. Tell me how they lived on earth. Why do you pray to the angels and the saints? Where are the saints? Why do you honor the saints? Why do you honor the Blessed Virgin more than all the other saints? Tell me some other saints whom you know. Perhaps you know some of the Apostles. What happened to the Apostles? Tell me how they died. Tell me about the Holy Innocents.
I will tell you about a boy saint. His name was St. Tarsicius. He lived at Rome about seven hundred years ago. At that time they used to allow people to carry the Blessed Sacrament, and one day, as St. Tarsicius was carrying the Blessed Sacrament to a sick person, he met some pagans. They asked him to give them the Blessed Sacrament, but this he would not do. Because he refused they killed him and he became a martyr though he was only a boy. What can you ask St. Tarsicius to do for you? What can you ask St. Cecilia to do for you? When did St. Cecilia live? When did St. Tarsicius live? What was St. Tarsicius guarding when the pagans killed him?
What can you do for the souls in purgatory ? Why do you like to pray for the souls in purgatory ? What will the souls in purgatory do for you when they go to heaven? What does the priest do for the souls in purgatory ? How does it help the souls in purgatory to have Mass said for them ?
Why do you believe all that God told us ? Why must all that God tells us be true? What Church teaches us all that God told us? What does it mean to have faith? What prayer do you say to show that you have faith? Say the Act of Faith. Tell me what you said to God then. Why do we believe all that the Catholic Church teaches? Now, you might tell me something about the Catholic Church. Somebody might ask you how the Catholic Church came to be and how you know it always teaches the truth. What kind of people have faith? Why must everybody have faith? What do you believe about the Blessed Trinity? Who told us about the Blessed Trinity? Why do you believe everything in the Bible? How do we know what the Bible means?
Tell me some of the things God has promised us. He has surely promised us many good things. What has God promised to do for us when we die? What does He promise to do for our soul? What does He promise to do for our body? When will He bring our body back to life? What has God promised to give us in heaven? How long has God promised to make us happy? How long has God promised to love us? What has God promised to do for us on earth? What help has He promised us here? Why has God promised to help us be good? What kind of people keep their promises? Why are you sure that God will keep His promises? What does it mean to have hope? What do you hope God will do when you die? What do you hope God will give you in heaven? Whom do you hope to see in heaven? With whom do you hope to be in heaven? What do you hope God will do for your body in heaven? How long do you hope God will love you?
What do you hope God will help you do on earth? What do you hope God will help you believe? What kind of thoughts do you hope God will put into your mind? What prayer do you say to show that you have hope? Say the Act of Hope. What did you say to God then? What do you hope God will do for sinners? What do you' hope God will give you when you die? What do you hope God will help you gain? Why do you say the Act of Faith every day? Why do you need to have faith? Why do you say the Act of Hope every day? Why do you need to have hope?
Tell me some of the reasons why you love God. You have often spoken of God's goodness. Why do you love God more than all else? Where do all good things come from? Where do your mother and father come from? Where does all the love in the world come from? Why do you love all the people in the world? Tell me about God's children. Tell me how God wants us to live together on earth. Why does God love all the people in the world? What prayer do you say to show that you love God and all the people in the world?
Say the Act of Love. What did you say to God then? Tell me the different parts of that beautiful prayer. To love God and our neighbor means to have charity. Faith, hope, and charity are divine virtues. They come to us from God.
Why does God give us the virtue of faith? What does He want us to believe? Why does God give us the virtue of hope? Of what does God want us to be sure? Why does God give us the virtue of charity? Whom does God want us to love? Which do you think is the most beautiful virtue? Why is charity the most beautiful of all virtues? Do you remember what St. John, the Apostle, used to say when he was a very old man? What Commandments do people keep who love God? How long do you hope to love God? How long will God love you in heaven?