What are we commanded by the First Commandment?
By the First Commandment we are commanded to offer to God alone the supreme
worship that is due Him.
It is written, "The Lord thy God shalt thou worship, and him only shalt thou
serve." (Luke 4:8)
| How do we worship God?
We worship God by acts of faith, hope, and charity, and by adoring Him and
praying to Him
| What does faith oblige us to do?
Faith obliges us: first, to make efforts to find out what God has revealed;
second, to believe firmly what God has revealed; third, to profess our faith
openly whenever necessary.
Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will
acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32)
| What does hope oblige us to do?
Hope obliges us to trust firmly that God will give us eternal life and the
means to obtain it.
Paul, a servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, in accordance with the
faith of God's elect and the full knowledge of the truth which is according to
piety, in the hope of life everlasting which God, who does not lie, promised
before the ages began. (Titus 1:1-2)
| What does charity oblige us to do?
Charity obliges us to love God above all things because He is infinitely
good, and to love our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.
And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him,
"Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?" Jesus said to him, "'Thou
shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and
with thy whole mind' This is the greatest and the first commandment.
And the second is like it, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' On
these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew
| How can a Catholic best safeguard his faith?
A Catholic can best safeguard his faith by making frequent acts of faith, by
praying for a strong faith, by studying his religion very earnestly, by living a
good life, by good reading, by refusing to associate with the enemies of the
Church, and by not reading books and papers opposed to the Church and her
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will get in among you, and
will not spare the flock. And from among your own selves men will rise
speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts
| How does a Catholic sin against faith?
A Catholic sins against faith by apostasy, heresy, indifferentism, and by
taking part in non-Catholic worship.
| Why does a Catholic sin against faith by taking part in
A Catholic sins against faith by taking part in non-Catholic worship when he
intends to identify himself with a religion he knows is defective.
This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear
witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.
| What are the sins against hope?
The sins against hope are presumption and despair.
| When does a person sin by presumption?
A person sins by presumption when he trusts that he can be saved by his own
efforts without God's help, or by God's help without his own efforts.
Nay I do not even judge my own self. For I have nothing on my
conscience, yet I am not thereby justified. (I Corinthians 4:4)
| When does a person sin by despair?
A person sins by despair when he deliberately refuses to trust that God will
give him the necessary help to save his soul.
May no temptation take hold of you but such as man is equal to. God
is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with
the temptation will also give you a way out that you may be able to bear it.
(I Corinthians 10:13)
| What are the chief sins against charity?
The chief sins against charity are hatred of God and of our neighbor, envy,
sloth, and scandal.
Charity does not envy. (I Corinthians 13:4)
| Besides the sins against faith, hope, and charity, what
other sins does the first commandment forbid?
Besides the sins against faith, hope, and charity, the first commandment
forbids also superstition and sacrilege.
| When does a person sin by superstition?
A person sins by superstition when he attributes to a creature a power that
belongs to God alone, as when he makes use of charms or spells, believes in
dreams or fortune-telling, or goes to spiritists.
Neither let there be found among you any one that ... consulteth
soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens. Neither let there be any
wizard, nor charmer. (Deuteronomy 19:10-11
| When does a person sin by sacrilege?
A person sins by sacrilege when he mistreats sacred persons, places, or
They have set thy sanctuary ablaze, they have profaned the dwelling of thy
name on the earth. (Psalm 73:7)
| Does the first commandment forbid us to honor the
saints in heaven?
The first commandment does not forbid us to honor the saints in heaven,
provided we do not give them the honor that belongs to God alone.
For, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Luke
| Why do we honor the saints in heaven?
We honor the saints in heaven because they practiced great virtue when they
were on earth, and because in honoring those who are the chosen friends of God
we honor God Himself.
| How can we honor the saints?
We can honor the saints: first, by imitating their holy lives; second, by
praying to them; third, by showing respect to their relics and images.
Brethren, be imitators of me, and mark those who walk after the pattern
you have in us. (Philippians 3:17)
| When we pray to the saints what do we ask them to do?
When we pray to the saints we ask them to offer their prayers to God for us.
| How do we know that the saints will pray for us?
We know that the saints will pray for us because they are with God and have
great love for us.
| Why do we honor relics?
We honor relics because they are the bodies of the saints or objects
connected with the saints or with Our Lord.
| When does the first commandment forbid the making or
the use of statues and pictures?
The first commandment forbids the making or the use of statues and pictures
only when they promote false worship.
Thou salt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to
thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or
in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the
earth. (Exodus 20:3-4)
| Is it right to show respect to the statues and pictures
of Christ and the saints?
It is right to show respect to the statues and pictures of Christ and of the
saints, just as it is right to show respect to the images of those whom we honor
or love on earth.
| Do we honor Christ and the saints when we pray before
the crucifix, relics, and sacred images?
We honor Christ and the saints when we pray before the crucifix, relics, and
sacred images because we honor the persons they represent; we adore Christ and
venerate the saints.
Do we pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics of the saints?
We do not pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics of the saints, but
to the persons they represent.