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William C. wrote:

Hi, guys —

What is the Catholic response to:

  • Catholics have too many rules that it gets in the way of loving God with all your heart, might, and strength, which is in reference to the Greatest Commandment.

William

  { What is the Catholic reply to the Church having too many rules that hinder totally loving God? }

Mike replied:

Dear William,

Thanks for the question.

My colleagues may have another angle on your question but here is mine.

Well, they are not our rules but the rules of the Lord Himself, seeing He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and direct His faithful leaders in the Church down through the ages. Any rules or regulations the Church has are only for our own spiritual benefit. I would ask the person saying this to you:

  • Is your goal to love God with all your heart, might and strength?, or
  • To love God with all your heart, might and strength, as you [not He] thinks He should be loved?

Although not dealing strictly with rules and regulations, remember what St. Paul tells us about the relationship between faith and obedience:

3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

Romans 1:3-6

25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Romans 16:25-27

Just my two cents.

Mike

John replied:

Hi, William —

The purpose of rules or that is disciplines (as Mike has already said) is to bring us closer to God.... they are meant to teach us.... they are ultimately meant for our salvation....

That said, if we are following them out legalism, well then.... they defeat the purpose. They become empty rituals....

Mike quotes Romans 1:5 ..."the obedience of faith".... it is because we trust God and therefore His Church, that we obey... and when we obey we give God the opportunity to prove Himself faithful to us as well. Because through obedience we draw closer to Him and He further transforms us into the image and likeness of His Son, Christ Jesus...

Every relationship has rules.... Marriage which is the best comparison on many levels has rules. We are to be faithful to our spouses, we are to sacrifice for them, tend to their needs over ours at times....once you're married you don't go out every night with your friends clubbing or doing whatever with you chums ... why... well because you want to be with your spouse. So it's pretty much an unwritten rule, that you don't just not go home at night for dinner ..... without letting your spouse know and checking if he or she had other plans or desires for that night's activities.

So it depends on how you view the rules..... they can be slavery or they can liberate you to draw closer to the Lord.

John

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