2084 God makes himself known by recalling his all-powerful loving, and liberating action in the history of the one he addresses: "I brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." The first word contains the first commandment of the Law: "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him. . . . You shall not go after other gods."5 God's first call and just demand is that man accept him and worship him.
The one and true God first reveals his glory to Israel. The revelation of the vocation and truth of man is linked to the revelation of God. Man's vocation is to make God manifest by acting in conformity with his creation "in the image and likeness of God":
The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith:
Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief.
Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.
Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."
The first commandment is also concerned with sins against hope, namely, despair and presumption:
By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his sins. Despair is contrary to God's goodness, to his justice - for the Lord is faithful to his promises - and to his mercy.
There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God's almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit).
One can sin against God's love in various ways:
- indifference neglects or refuses to reflect on divine charity; it fails to consider its prevenient goodness and denies its power.
- ingratitude fails or refuses to acknowledge divine charity and to return him love for love.
- lukewarmness is hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love; it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity.
- acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.
- hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments.
- Learn more about Prague and the Czech Republic and St. Vitus Cathedral, supposedly started by St. Wenceslas in the 10th century as a small chapel to house relics of St. Vitus and where in the 14th century St. John Nepomucene was buried after being executed for refusing to violate the seal of the confessional.
- Teach your children the Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas and discuss his life and virtue. If you can find a copy, a wonderful book with music and illustrations is called Good King Wenceslas: A Legend in Music and Pictures by Mary Reed Newland, published by Seabury Press, 1980.
- Read about the Infant Jesus of Prague and pray the chaplet.
- Bake a loaf of bread for dinner and serve wine in honor of St. Wenceslas.
Day 2 Devotion to the Holy Face