The Ten Commandments – combined with Christ – bring to Christians a “liberated life.”
That was at the core of Pope Francis’ catechesis at his November 28, 2018, General Audience in Paul VI Hall. The talk concluded his series on the Ten Commandments and included a strong reminder that they are tools to free the believer, not condemn.
“We began with gratitude as the basis of the relationship of trust and obedience: we saw that God does not ask for anything before having given much more,” the Holy Father said. “He invites us to obedience to rescue us from the deceit of the idolatries that have so much power over us. In fact, to seek one’s fulfillment in the idols of this world empties us and enslaves us, whereas what gives stature and consistency is the relationship with Him… This implies a process of blessing and liberation, which is true, genuine rest.”
The Pope went on to explain that this “liberated life” helps “becomes the acceptance of our personal story and reconciles us with what we have lived from childhood to the present, making us adults and capable of giving the right weight to the realities and persons of our life.” And following this path is “a call to the beauty of fidelity, of generosity and of authenticity.’
Of course, this doesn’t just happen. It requires a change of heart.
‘To live thus — namely in the beauty of fidelity, of generosity and of authenticity — we are in need of a new heart, inhabited by the Holy Spirit (Cf. Ezekiel 11: 19; 36:26).,” Francis said. “I ask myself: how does this ‘transplant’ of the heart happen, from the old heart to the new heart?
“It happens through the gift of new desires (Cf. Romans 8:6); which are sown in us by the grace of God, particularly through the Ten Commandments, brought to fulfillment by Jesus, as He teaches in the “discourse of the mountain” (Cf. Matthew 5:17-48).”
The Holy Father reminded listeners that Jesus didn’t replace the Ten Commandments. He didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. Francis explained:
“So we discover better what it means that the Lord Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law but to bring it to fulfillment, to make it grow, and whereas the Law according to the flesh was a series of prescriptions and prohibitions, according to the Spirit this same Law becomes life (Cf. John 6:63; Ephesians 2:15), because it’s no longer a norm but the very flesh of Christ, who loves us, seeks us, forgives us, consoles us and, in His Body, recomposes communion with the Father, lost by the disobedience of sin.
“In Christ, and only in Him, the Decalogue stops being condemnation (Cf. Romans 8:1) and becomes the authentic truth of human life, namely, desire of love — born here is the desire of the good, to do good — desire of joy, desire of peace, of magnanimity, of benevolence, of goodness, of fidelity, of meekness, of self-mastery. From that ‘no’ one passes to this ‘yes’: the positive attitude of a heart that opens with the strength of the Holy Spirit.”