Following the Rules
Which Commandment do you find to be the most challenging? This is a great exercise if you know your Ten Commandments. Not all of our students at St. Dominic Catholic School can recite them frontwards and backwards, but we try. When I was a classroom teacher, I made sure my students could do just that. My students and I invested a lot of time in impressing them into their minds, into their consciences. These are God's rules, why wouldn't you want to know them? We practiced them, recited them in order and out of order, we studied what they meant. We worked to figure out how they fit into the covenant of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of the covenant in the New Testament. We discussed how brilliant Jesus was in taking ten and turning them into two - the transition from the Ten Commandments to the Great Commandment. We lamented that, even though Jesus simplified things, we still fail to follow the rules. Why is it so hard to follow rules? Free will. God loves us so much that He doesn't want to constrict us but allow us to freely choose Him. The rules aren't to be restrictive but freeing. Think about that for a minute.
Following God is not meant to be complicated. After all, Jesus tells us to approach God like a child. Don't think too hard about it. Life is complex. Messy. God helps us find order. Keep it simple like going from Ten Commandments to the Great Commandment. Love God with all your heart, mind, and being, and love your neighbor as yourself. Rules keep our free will in order so that we may experience joy.