The Second Commandment is “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” – we can only use the name of God with veneration and good reason, not for cursing or making false oaths. Usually, using His name while swearing constitutes venial sin, but it can be a mortal sin if one blasphemes God. Likewise, it is venial sin to wish little misfortune on someone, but mortal sin to wish big misfortune. In certain circumstances, we must make oaths to affirm that we are speaking the truth, such as in court. To ensure we make good oaths, three conditions must be met: the oath must be necessary, one cannot lie during the oath, and one cannot make an oath to do evil. Oaths are our medicine for our lost trust in each other – they compensate for this defect in human nature and we only make them if necessary. Traditionally, making oaths unnecessarily is considered a venial sin but lying during an oath is a mortal sin. Vows are not merely promises to God, but constitute major duties to God, such as those professed by those in the religious life. Moreoever, because we must honour the name of God, we must also honour the names of His beloved saints. Neither is swearing acceptable, for just as we use the local language when travelling abroad, we must also use heavenly language if we wish to enter Heaven.
【Spiritual Talk】 Fr. Ho talks about the Second Commandment
by Kenny Cheng