The Two Great Commandments
Lesson 15 from the Baltimore Cathechism
188. Besides believing what God has revealed, what else must we do to be saved?
Besides believing what God has revealed, we must keep His law.
If you love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
189. Which are the two great commandments that contain the whole law of God?
The two great commandments that contain the whole law of God are:
- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
- Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
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 22:35-40)
190. What must we do to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves?
To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves we must keep the commandments of God and of the Church, and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18)
191. Which are the chief corporal works of mercy?
The chief corporal works of mercy are seven:
- To feed the hungry.
- To give drink to the thirsty.
- To clothe the naked.
- To visit the imprisoned.
- To shelter the homeless.
- To visit the sick.
- To bury the dead.
192. Which are the chief spiritual works of mercy?
The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven:
- To admonish the sinner.
- To instruct the ignorant.
- To counsel the doubtful.
- To comfort the sorrowful.
- To bear wrongs patiently.
- To forgive all injuries.
- To pray for the living and the dead.
193. Is everyone obliged to perform the works of mercy?
Everyone is obliged to perform the works of mercy, according to his own ability and the need of his neighbor.
For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me. (Matthew 25:35-36)
194. Are all the ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others true works of mercy?
All the ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others are true works of mercy, if done in the name of Christ.
For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ's, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mark 9:40)
195. Which are the commandments of God?
The commandments of God are these ten:
- I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- Remember thou keep holy the Lord's day.
- Honor thy father and thy mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.
196. Should we be satisfied merely to keep the commandments God?
We should not be satisfied merely to keep the commandments of God, but should always be ready to do good deeds, even when they are not commanded.
If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. (Matthew 19:21)
197. What does Our Savior especially recommend that is not strictly commanded by the law of God?
Our Savior especially recommends the observance of the Evangelical Counsels – voluntary poverty, perpetual chastity, and perfect obedience.
You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)