The Ten Commandments are arranged in logical order to embrace all laws necessary for the enforcement of the two precepts of charity, the two great commandments of love of God and love of neighbor. The first three commandments comprise our duty towards God. The first commandment requires adoration and loyalty; the second requires reverence; the third requires formal service, the sanctification of a day for the exclusive honor of God.
The last seven commandments comprise our duty to ourselves and our fellowmen. The fourth commandment contains our duties towards our parents and superiors, as representatives of God. Conversely, the commandment also contains the duties of superiors towards their subordinates. The fifth commandment assures the protection of life; the sixty of purity; the seventh of property; the eighth, of reputation and honor; and the ninth and tenth of domestic life.
We are strictly obliged to obey the commandments of God.
God has imprinted the substance of the ten commandments in the human heart and mind, and they have therefore binding force. Even if they had never been revealed, we should still be obliged to keep them, for they are dictated by reason, and taught by natural law.
While it is true that reason does not tell us to sanctify Saturday or Sunday, it certainly requires us to keep some day or days holy, to give exclusive honor to our Creator.
Our Lord Jesus Christ confirmed the Ten Commandments and laid them upon us in more complete form.
Christ reiterated the Ten Commandments when speaking to the rich young man. (cf. Matthew 19:18), and in the sermon on the mount. On various occasions He explained several of them separately, "I say to you, till Heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one title shall be lost from the Law, till all things have been accomplished" (Matthew 5: 18-29).
We should gladly keep the Commandments, because God wishes and orders us to do so. It is the way to serve Him. If we keep the Commandments, we show by our acts that we love God, and so serve Him.
The Ten Commandments of God state the minimum requirements for salvation. They should be observed not only according to the letter, but also according to the spirit; this obliges us to strive for much greater perfection.
Next Thursday: The First Commandment part one