Francis' Video Message to '10 Squares for 10 Commandments'

"The Ten Commandments come from a God who has created us for love, from a God who has forged a close alliance with humanity, a God who only wills the good for man"

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) | 1992 hits

Here is a translation of the text from a video message sent by Pope Francis to the "10 Squares for 10 Commandments" initiative, sponsored by the Charismatic Renewal.

The Charismatic Renewal hosted the event in the context of the 40th anniversary of the movement's establishment in Italy. The Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and the Italian episcopal conference collaborated in the initiative. 

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Good evening all!

I am happy to join you, who are participating in the main Squares of Italy, in this rereading of the Ten Commandments. A project called “When Love Gives Meaning to Your Life,” on the art of living through the Ten Commandments given by God not only to Moses but also to us, to the men and women of all times. Thanks to those in charge of Renewal in the Holy Spirit – they are good these <people> of Renewal in the Holy Spirit, congratulations! – who organized this praiseworthy initiative in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and the Italian Episcopal Conference. Thank you, to all those who contributed with generosity to the realization of this special project of the Year of Faith. Let’s ask ourselves now: What meaning do these Ten Words have for us? What do they say to our time, agitated and confused, which seems to want to do without God?

The Ten Commandments are a gift of God. The word “commandment” is not fashionable; it reminds the man of today of something negative, the will of someone who imposes limits, who puts obstacles to life. And unfortunately history, including recent <history>, is marked by tyrannies, ideologies, logics that have imposed and oppressed, which have not sought man’s good, but rather power, success, profit. But the Ten Commandments come from a God who has created us for love, from a God who has forged a close alliance with humanity, a God who only wills the good for man.

Let us trust God! Let us trust in Him! The Ten Commandments point out a path to follow, they also constitute a sort of “ethical code” for the building of a just society, to the measure of man. How much inequality there is in the world! How much hunger for food and for truth! How much moral and material poverties derive from the rejection of God and from putting so many idols in His place! Let us allow ourselves to the guided by these Ten Words that illumine and orientate the one who seeks peace, justice and dignity. The Ten Commandments indicate a path of liberty, which finds its fullness in the law of the Spirit written not on stone tablets, but in the heart (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:3). Written here are the Ten Commandments! It is essential to recall when God gave the people of Israel, through Moses, the Ten Commandments. At the Red Sea the people experienced great liberation. They touched concretely the power and fidelity of God, of the God who renders us free. Now, on Mount Sinai,  God Himself indicated to His people and to all of us the way to remain free, a path that is etched in man’s heart as a universal moral law (cf. Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:1-22). We must not see the Ten Commandments as limitations to liberty. No, they are not this, but we must see them as indications for liberty. They are not limitations but indications for liberty! They teach us to avoid the slavery to which the many idols reduce us that we build ourselves – we have experienced this so many times in history and we are experiencing it also today. They teach us to open ourselves to a dimension that is larger than the material, to live respect for persons, overcoming the avidity for power, for possession, for money and to be honest and sincere in our relations, to protect the whole of creation and to nourish in our planet lofty, noble and spiritual ideals. To follow the Ten Commandments means to be faithful to ourselves, to our more authentic nature, and to walk towards the genuine liberty that Christ taught in the Beatitudes (cf. Matthew 5:3-12.17; Luke 6:20-23). The Ten Commandments are a law of love. Moses went up the mountain to receive the tablets of the law from God. Jesus does the opposite: the Son of God abases Himself; he descends into our humanity to indicate to us the profound meaning of these Ten Words. Love the Lord with your whole heart, your whole mind, and your whole strength and your neighbor as yourself (cf. Luke 10:27).

This is the most profound meaning of the Ten Commandments: the commandment of Jesus that bears within it all the commandments, the Commandment of Love. That is why I say that the Ten Commandments are Commandments of Love. Here is the heart of the Ten Commandments: the Love that comes from God and that gives meaning to life, love that makes us live not as slaves but as true sons, love that animates all our relations: with God, with ourselves – we often forget this – and with others. True liberty is not to follow our egoism, our blind passions, but to love, to choose what is good in every situation. The Ten Commandments are not a hymn to “no,” but to “yes.” A “yes” to God, a “yes” to Love, and because I say “yes” to Love, I say “no” to non-Love, but the “no” is a consequence of that “yes” that comes from God and makes us love.

Let us rediscover and live the Ten Words of God! Let us say “yes” to these “ten ways of love,” made perfect by Christ, to defend man and guide him to true liberty! May the Virgin Mary accompany us on this path. I impart from my heart my Blessing upon you, upon your dear ones, and upon your cities. Thank you all!

[Translation by ZENIT]