The Ten Commandments Revisited

The RCIA program at Our Lady of Lourdes includes several talks centering around the Ten Commandments as a means of giving flesh to what it means to live a moral life. Some weeks ago I gave a presentation on the first three commandments (which you can find here). On another occasion the deacon in the parish gave a talk on the commandments having to do with marriage. Yesterday, I talked about the remaining commandments addressing our relationship to one another: Commandments 5, 7, 8 and 10.

I used to think of the Ten Commandments as the “bare minimum” – the minimum conditions for leading a moral life. And, if one approaches them literally, they are no more than that. However, reflecting on the commandments in terms of, not only the literal things they command us to avoid, but in terms of the positive behavior they seek to encourage, suggests a richer and much more challenging set of instructions for the moral life.

In my talk, for each of the Fifth, Seventh and Tenth, and Eighth Commandments, I spoke about the obvious and the not-so-obvious implications of the command. For each, I also included a series of questions one might ask to see how well one is doing in fully living in the spirit of the commandment. We ended with a lively discussion of the challenges, during which the participants found ways to tie in today’s discussion with prior discussions we’ve had about sin and discipleship.

You can listen to the talk I gave yesterday here or stream it from the icon below. The podcast runs for 33:48. (I interrupted my talk several times for comments from participants. I tried to hold the recorder in a way that would capture their comments; apologies if there are a places where the audio is unclear.)