✟ The 1st Commandment ✟
Truth of Faith

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind."

Lay Catechist Notes on The 1st Commandment
If there is one commandment that our God has made perfectly clear throughout the ages, especially in the Old Testament, it is that He will not allow the worshipping of false gods. Time and time again our Lord has made the case that false gods, especially those made of earthen resources (gold, silver, pottery, wood, etc.) can do absolutely nothing to help anyone's cause; they are completely inanimate and useless objects. Today, earthen objects used to worship have been replaced by worldly objects; money, cars, houses, boats, clothing, power, sex, and above all, the glorification ones self above all else.

The love of God through the Holy Trinity is the most important love every human being must have to be found worthy of being called "children of God." With this love comes obedience to all that God has revealed as truths required for eternal salvation and life forever in Heaven.
Divine Revelation (Scriptural Proof)
  • 2I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. 4Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. 5Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: (Exodus 20:2-5)
  • 3Hear, O Israel, and observe to do the things which the Lord hath commanded thee, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayst be greatly multiplied, as the Lord the God of thy fathers hath promised thee a land flowing with milk and honey. 4Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 5Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. (Deuteronomy 6:3-5)
  • 10Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:10)
  • 13Take heed diligently lest thou forget the Lord, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and shalt serve him only, and thou shalt swear by his name. (Deuteronomy 6:13)
  • 5And the devil led him into a high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; 6And he said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them. 7If thou therefore wilt adore before me, all shall be thine. 8And Jesus answering said to him: It is written: Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Luke 4:5-8)
  • 1Hear ye the word which the Lord hath spoken concerning you, O house of Israel. 2Thus saith the Lord: Learn not according to the ways of the Gentiles: and be not afraid of the signs of heaven, which the heathens fear: 3For the laws of the people are vain: for the works of the hand of the workman hath cut a tree out of the forest with an axe. 4He hath decked it with silver and gold: he hath put it together with nails and hammers, that it may not fall asunder. 5They are framed after the likeness of a palm tree, and shall not speak: they must be carried to be removed, because they cannot go. Therefore, fear them not, for they can neither do evil nor good. 6There is none like to thee, O Lord: thou art great and great is thy name in might. 7Who shall fear thee, O king of nations? for thine is the glory: among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms there is none like unto thee. 8They shall all proved together to be senseless and foolish: the doctrine of their vanity is wood. 9Silver spread into plates is brought from Tharsis, and gold from Ophaz: the work of the artificer, and of the hand of the coppersmith: violet and purple is their clothing: all these things are the work of artificers. 10But the Lord is the true God: he is the living God, and the everlasting king, at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his threatening. 11Thus then shall you say to them: The gods that have not made heaven and earth, let them perish from the earth, and from among those places that are under heaven. 12He that maketh the earth by his power, that prepareth the world by his wisdom, and stretcheth out the heavens by his knowledge. 13At his voice he giveth a multitude of waters in the heaven, and lifteth up the clouds from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings for rain, and bringeth for the wind out of his treasures. 14Every man is become a fool for knowledge every artist is confounded in his graven idol: for what he hath cast is false, and there is no spirit in them. 15They are vain things and a ridiculous work: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. 16The portion of Jacob is not like these: for it is he who formed all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the Lord of hosts is his name. (Jeremiah 10:1-16)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • 2084 God makes himself known by recalling his all-powerful loving, and liberating action in the history of the one he addresses: "I brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." The first word contains the first commandment of the Law: "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him. . . . You shall not go after other gods." God's first call and just demand is that man accept him and worship him.
  • 2086 "The first commandment embraces faith, hope, and charity. When we say 'God' we confess a constant, unchangeable being, always the same, faithful and just, without any evil. It follows that we must necessarily accept his words and have complete faith in him and acknowledge his authority. He is almighty, merciful, and infinitely beneficent. Who could not place all hope in him? Who could not love him when contemplating the treasures of goodness and love he has poured out on us? Hence the formula God employs in the Scripture at the beginning and end of his commandments: 'I am the LORD.'"
  • 2088 The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith:
      Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.
  • 2091 The first commandment is also concerned with sins against hope, namely, despair and presumption:
      By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his sins. Despair is contrary to God's goodness, to his justice - for the Lord is faithful to his promises - and to his mercy.
  • 2092 There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God's almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit).
  • 2094 One can sin against God's love in various ways:
    • - indifference neglects or refuses to reflect on divine charity; it fails to consider its prevenient goodness and denies its power.
    • - ingratitude fails or refuses to acknowledge divine charity and to return him love for love.
    • - lukewarmness is hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love; it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity.
    • - acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.
    • - hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments.
  • 2096 Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge him as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve," says Jesus, citing Deuteronomy.
  • 2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.
  • 2112 The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them." God, however, is the "living God" who gives life and intervenes in history.
  • 2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon." Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast" refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.
  • 2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
  • 2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.
  • 2118 God's first commandment condemns the main sins of irreligion: tempting God, in words or deeds, sacrilege, and simony.
  • 2119 Tempting God consists in putting his goodness and almighty power to the test by word or deed. Thus Satan tried to induce Jesus to throw himself down from the Temple and, by this gesture, force God to act. Jesus opposed Satan with the word of God: "You shall not put the LORD your God to the test." The challenge contained in such tempting of God wounds the respect and trust we owe our Creator and Lord. It always harbors doubt about his love, his providence, and his power.
  • 2120 Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.
  • 2121 Simony is defined as the buying or selling of spiritual things. To Simon the magician, who wanted to buy the spiritual power he saw at work in the apostles, St. Peter responded: "Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God's gift with money!" Peter thus held to the words of Jesus: "You received without pay, give without pay." It is impossible to appropriate to oneself spiritual goods and behave toward them as their owner or master, for they have their source in God. One can receive them only from him, without payment.
  • 2123 "Many . . . of our contemporaries either do not at all perceive, or explicitly reject, this intimate and vital bond of man to God. Atheism must therefore be regarded as one of the most serious problems of our time."
  • 2124 The name "atheism" covers many very different phenomena. One common form is the practical materialism which restricts its needs and aspirations to space and time. Atheistic humanism falsely considers man to be "an end to himself, and the sole maker, with supreme control, of his own history." Another form of contemporary atheism looks for the liberation of man through economic and social liberation. "It holds that religion, of its very nature, thwarts such emancipation by raising man's hopes in a future life, thus both deceiving him and discouraging him from working for a better form of life on earth."
  • 2127 Agnosticism assumes a number of forms. In certain cases the agnostic refrains from denying God; instead he postulates the existence of a transcendent being which is incapable of revealing itself, and about which nothing can be said. In other cases, the agnostic makes no judgment about God's existence, declaring it impossible to prove, or even to affirm or deny.
Papal Encyclical Documents
  • Spe Salvi (2007) - Saved by Hope - Benedict XVI
    • "43. Christians likewise can and must constantly learn from the strict rejection of images that is contained in God's first commandment (cf. Ex 20:4). The truth of negative theology was highlighted by the Fourth Lateran Council, which explicitly stated that however great the similarity that may be established between Creator and creature, the dissimilarity between them is always greater. In any case, for the believer the rejection of images cannot be carried so far that one ends up, as Horkheimer and Adorno would like, by saying “no” to both theses—theism and atheism. God has given himself an “image”: in Christ who was made man. In him who was crucified, the denial of false images of God is taken to an extreme. God now reveals his true face in the figure of the sufferer who shares man's God-forsaken condition by taking it upon himself."
Church Magisterium Documents
  • The Didache (100) - The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles - Catholic Church
    • Chapter 1 – There are Two Ways, The First Commandment
      • Didache 1:1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between the two ways.
      • Didache 1:2 The way of life is this. First of all, thou shalt love the God that made thee; secondly, Thy neighbor as thyself. And all things whatsoever thou wouldst not have befall thyself, neither do thou unto another.
      • Didache 1:3 Now of these words the doctrine is this. Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies and fast for them that persecute you; for what thank is it, if ye love them that love you? Do not even the Gentiles the same? But do ye love them that hate you that hate you, and ye shall not have an enemy.
      • Didache 1:4 Abstain thou from fleshly and bodily lusts. If any man give thee a blow on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also, and thou shalt be perfect; If a man impress thee to go with him one mile, go with him twain; if a man take away thy cloak, give him thy coat also; if a man take away from thee that which is thy own, ask it not back, for neither art thou able.
      • Didache 1:5 To every man that asketh of thee give, and ask not back for the Father desireth that gifts be given to all from His own bounties. Blessed is he that giveth according to the commandment; for he is guiltless. Woe to him that receiveth; for, if a man receiveth having need, he is guiltless; but he that hath no need shall give satisfaction why and wherefore he received and being put in confinement he shall be examined concerning the deeds that he hath done, and he shall not come out thence until he hath given back the last farthing.
      • Didache 1:6 Yea, as touching this also it is said; Let thine alms sweat into thine hands, until thou have learnt to whom to give.
Fathers and Doctors of the Church Documents
  • On Grace and Free Will (426) - On Grace & Free Will - Augustine
    • Chapter 36 Love Commended by Our Lord Himself.
      • "Moreover, the Lord Jesus Himself teaches us that the whole law and the prophets hang upon the two precepts of love to God and love to our neighbour. Concerning these two commandments the following is written in the Gospel according to St. Mark: And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him: Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him: The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 This is the first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. Leviticus 19:18 There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:28-31 Also, in the Gospel according to St. John, He says, A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love to one another. John 13:34-35"