In this 8th grade lesson we study the Two Great Commandments. Jesus summarizes the whole of God's Law in the Two Great Commandments. We will reflect on the singular meaning of these two commandments and how this meaning permeates our very existence.
All CatechismClass Lessons follow our time-tested 7 Step format: Introduction, Opening Prayers, Scripture and Commentary, Catechism Passages, Integration of the Lesson Topic, an activity, and a closing prayer. Quizzes end each of the lessons.Preview This Lesson
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The Miracle of St Augustine
by Jacopo Tintoretto
The Two Great Commandments are a shorter version of the Ten Commandments. Why didn’t God give us the Two Great Commandments first? It seems like two commandments would be much easier to remember and keep than ten, let alone the over 600 laws that came to govern the Jewish people.
The Two Great Commandments may sound more simple, but they are harder to understand than the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are specific rules that tell us how to be holy children of God. The Two Great Commandments are actually one rule, and not as specific as the Ten. Let’s look at the Two Great Commandments.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind…
…and your neighbor as yourself.
Do you know what the one rule is? It is: you shall love. Can you define “love” without using the Ten Commandments? No! That is why God gave us the Ten Commandments first. The Ten Commandments prepared the Hebrews, and us, to understand Love.
Love the Lord your God
The first three of the Ten Commandments tell us what we must do to show we love God. God must come first in all things. There are no exceptions. Love of God is commanded first because of His greatness, but also because we can’t love our neighbors or ourselves if we don’t understand the One who created us.
Love your neighbor as yourself
The last seven of the Ten Commandments tell us how to love our neighbor. They also tell us how to love ourself. We must never do anything to hurt our selves or another person. We must also do what we can to keep our and our neighbors holy in body and soul.
The reason for Love
Why does Jesus make “love” the center of the Commandments? The answer goes back to our lesson on the Blessed Trinity. Do you remember St. Augustine’s analogy to explain the mystery of the Trinity? He used “love” to show how the Three Persons worked together! Love is a living thing in the Trinity, and should live in us, too.
Remember that we are made in God’s image. Part of God’s image is this “love” that describes the Trinity. When we obey the Two Great Commandments and follow the Ten Commandments, we imitate the Blessed Trinity like we were created to do.
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