God And The Eighth Commandment
( Originally Published 1922 )
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
God gave us a mind to know the truth and the power of speech to express our thoughts. When we use our mind and our faculty of speech properly we tell the truth. God is truth; all truth comes from Him. In the Eighth Commandment God teaches us to love the truth and He warns us against falsehood. God wants us to speak well about others, because we are all His children. Backbiting, calumny, detraction, slander, talebearing, and lies come from the devil who is the "father of lies."
Children, I wonder what you would like to talk about to-day. You spoke about the Seventh Commandment the last time. Perhaps you would like to recall some of the things you told me about the other Commandments. What would you like to tell me about the Seventh Command-ment? Why does God want us to respect what belongs to others ? When did God tell us to keep our soul and body pure? To whom do our soul and body belong? What does God want us to do with our soul and body? How can we serve God with our soul and body ?
In what Commandment did God tell us to take care of our life and respect the lives of others? What does God want us to do with our life on earth? Why did God give us the Commandments? Why, then, does God want to show us the way to heaven?
Whose children are we all? Where did we get our life? Tell me some of the things we can do with our life. Tell me about our eyes, our ears, our voice. What can we do with the powers of our soul? What other beings can think? Why can no other beings besides God and the angels and people think? Why cannot the animals think?
How much does God know? Where does all truth come from? Why did God give us our mind? What do you think God wants us to know with our mind? Why does God want us to know the truth? Who loves the truth? Why do we say?—"God is truth." How long has the-truth been in God's mind? Why do two and two make four? From whose mind did that little truth come? Why cannot anybody change two and two into five? How long have 2+2=4, 3+3=6, 4+4=8? From whose mind did all truth come? What did God want us to know when He gave us our mind? How can we make known to others what is in our mind? Why did God give us the power of speech?
When did God tell us always to be truthful? What does God tell us in the Eighth Command-ment? How, then, does God want us to use our power of speech? Why does He want us always to tell the truth? What kind of people tell the truth? Whom do we obey when we tell the truth? What Commandment do we keep when we tell the truth? Whom do we love when we love the truth? Why do you love the truth? How long has God loved the truth? How long will you love the truth ? How long will the angels love the truth? Why did the saints love the truth so much? To whom does the truth lead us? How does God want us to use our mind? Who helps you, at home, to know the truth? What loving spirit helps you to know the truth? What Church did God send to teach us the truth ? Why does the Holy Ghost stay with the Catholic Church? Why are you sure that the Catholic Church always teaches the truth?
For what did the martyrs die? Tell me about some of the martyrs. What did the pagans try to make them do? Tell me about St. Cecilia, St. Tarsicius. Did you ever hear about St. Sebastian? He was an officer in the Roman army and a fine young soldier. He lived about seventeen hundred years ago. When the pagans learned that he was a Christian, they tried to make him deny his Faith. But he told them that his Faith was the truth that came from God and that he would sooner die than deny it. Then they tied him to a tree and shot many arrows into his body. Thus he died a holy martyr for our Faith.
Who gave the martyrs courage to die for the true Faith? What did God's grace do for them when the pagans tried to make them deny their Faith? When did St. Sebastian live? What did the pagans try to make him do? What did St. Sebastian say? How did the pagans kill him? What Commandment did the pagans break?
Who hates the truth? Why does the devil hate the truth? Why is the devil called the "father of lies"? Where do lying and falsehood come from? What lie did the devil tell to Adam and Eve? Where can you read about this lie? Who teaches people to tell lies? Why does the devil try to make people tell lies? Whom do people disobey when they tell lies? Why does the devil want people to disobey God? Why does the devil hate God?
Why is it a sin to tell lies? What Commandment do people break when they tell lies and falsehoods? Whose example are they following when they tell lies? Whom do people disobey when they commit sin? Whom do you obey when you are good? Why do you love to tell the truth always? Who gives you courage to tell the truth when it is hard to tell ? Who makes you strong enough to tell the truth even if you will be punished for it? Who helps you to tell the truth when you know others will laugh at you for it ? Who keeps you from being ashamed to tell the truth ? Why would you tell the truth even if it would cause you to lose money ? Why would you tell the truth even though you would lose your friends by it ?
Did you ever hear of Cardinal Newman ? He was a very learned man, but he was not born a Catholic. For many years he studied our holy Faith and prayed to God to make His holy truth known to him. At last God helped him to see that our holy Faith is the divine truth and so he made up his mind to become a Catholic. When his friends and relatives learned that, they turned against him. But God gave him the strength to come into the Church. He became a priest and later a cardinal. Many thousands learned from him to love the truth and to know that God sent the Catholic Church to teach it. Cardinal Newman died in eighteen hundred and ninety.
What do you think Cardinal Newman loved more than his friends and relatives? Who helped him to love the truth so much? Where did he get his courage and strength? For what did he pray many years? What kind of people always tell the truth? Why do good people always tell the truth? Why does God want us to tell the truth always? Why does God love the truth? From whom does the truth come?
Why does God want you to hate falsehood? From whom does all falsehood come? In what Commandment does God tell us to avoid all falsehood? What Commandment do people break when they tell lies? What did God say in the Eighth Commandment? How does God want us to speak about others? Why does He want us to speak well about others? What Command-ment do people break when they tell lies about others? Whom do they disobey when they lie about others? What do people who lie about others have to do to be forgiven? What Sacrament must they receive? For what must they be sorry ? What must they promise ? What must they do for the person whom they have injured?
Whose pardon must they ask? What injury must they repair? How can they make up for the lies they have told? What must they tell those to whom they told the lies about others? How many of them must they tell that what they said was untrue? Who tries to make people lie about others? What did bad men say about our Lord? Why did they accuse our Lord of evil? For whom did our Lord pray when He was hanging on the cross? What did He ask God the Father to do for those wicked men who nailed Him to the cross?
Why do you forgive those who say mean things about you? Why do you pray for them? What do you do when any one injures you? Whom do you imitate when you forgive them? Why do you think some people hate the Catholic Church? What teaching does the Catholic Church give us? Why did those men hate our Lord and nail Him to the cross? What did the pagans of Rome do against the Catholic Church for three hundred years? Why did they put the martyrs to death? How did the people arrange so that they could go to Mass and Holy Communion then? Tell me about the catacombs. What kind of places were the catacombs? For whom do you think the martyrs prayed when they were dying? Whom did they forgive? Why did they forgive the pagans who were putting them to death?
Why do people sometimes tell lies about the Pope, and bishops, and priests? Who sent the Pope, and bishops, and priests to teach you? What do they do when people tell lies about them? Why do they forgive them? Who wants them to forgive them? Why do they pray for those who injure them? Of course, many people do not know better. They just listen to those who tell them false things about the Catholic Church and about the Pope and the bishops and priests. It was the same when the people cried out to ask Pontius Pilate to crucify our Lord. They believed the falsehoods the Pharisees had told them about our Lord. What Command-ment did they break when they told those false-hoods? Why did the people cry out ? — "Crucify Him." Why do many people talk evil against the Catholic Church?
What kind of sin is it to take away another's good name by lying? Why is it a sin to tell the secret faults of others ? How does it injure others to tell their secret faults? If a man had been in jail and some one told it where it was not known, what harm might that cause the poor man? What Commandment does anybody break when he injures others by telling their secret faults?
Why are you always careful about other people's good name? Why is it a sin to take away another's good name? Why is it a sin to injure others? How does God want us to act toward others? Why does God want us to be kind to others? Why do you say "please" when you ask others for something? Why do you always show respect for others? What do you say when somebody does something for you or gives you something? What do you. say if you happen to bump against anybody or step on his foot? Why do you say?—" I beg your pardon" or "excuse me." Why do you always try to be polite to others in that way? How do those things show that you love them? Why do you always try to be cheerful and agreeable to others? But, why do you like to make others happy? Whose children are they all?
What Commandment do people break when they carry tales about others? How does tale-bearing often cause trouble ? How does God want us all to live together in this world ? What would you do if anybody tried to carry tales to you about others? Why would you refuse to listen to them? Whom would you please by not listening to those tales? Who tries to make people backbite others? Why does the devil love backbiting and talebearing? Why does he like to see people hate one another? Who wants us all to love one another?
What did God say in the Eighth Command-ment? Did you ever see anybody take an oath in court? What kind of sin is it to swear falsely? Why is the sin of perjury a mortal sin? Whom do they call to witness when they take an oath? What do they promise God to tell when they take an oath?
What Commandment do people break when they call others bad names and use bad language to them? Whom do they disobey when they do this? Why is it a sin to use bad names and bad language against others? Why is it a sin to think evil about others? How does God want us to think about others ? Who wants us to avoid all false suspicions about others? Why do you think it is dishonorable to spy upon others? Why do good people always avoid peeping to see what others are doing ?
Why is it wrong to read other people's letters without their permission? What makes it dishonorable to do this? Why do you always keep secrets that are confided in you? Why would it be wrong to tell others' secrets? Why do doctors and lawyers keep the secrets that people tell them? Why would it be a sin to tell these secrets?
Why does the priest guard so carefully what is told him in confession? What do you think the priest would be willing to suffer to keep secret what he heard in confession?
Why will you love the truth all your life? Why is truthfulness a noble virtue? Whom do we imitate when we love the truth? Why will you always guard the good name of others? Who taught you to love others? What will you always avoid in talking? Why did God give you the power of speech? Why did God give you your mind? Where does all truth come from?
What are the sins against the Eighth Commandment? Tell me how people sin by talking about others. Who is the "father of lies"? Who will give you the grace to be truthful all your life? Why did God give us the Ten Commandments? Why does He want us to be good? Why does He want us in heaven? Why, then, did He give us the Eighth Commandment? Why does He want us to be truthful? Where does the Eighth Commandment help us to go when we die? How does the Eighth Command-ment show that God loves us?