54. The Tenth Commandment: You shall not steal


   The state of innocence in which man was created implied that the mind was submitted to God, the weaker powers to reason and the body to the soul. Sin disorganized that privileged harmony and passions were unleashed, which resulted in internal conflict of disorder and tension. This also was the case for the material goods that man needs to survive and develop his life on Earth. Very often, man does not realize his own dignity; what should be in balance becomes chaos. Man forgets that he is worth more than things, and becomes dependent on things. He is not happy with what is necessary and sufficient, which leads him to greed, and thus degrading the person.

    Greed can be explained by paganism, which has no hope beyond obsolete assets; but this makes no sense for the Christian person, who flies off with theological hopes beyond time and the ephemeral things of this world. The goal of the Christian person is God and the glory of heaven; he is not satisfied with less than that. Many times, greed often translates in theft and usurpation of the goods of others. This rule is to put in order the inner source of those sins and forbid coveting the goods of others.

  A. Answer by choosing one of these words: much, sufficient, greed, poverty, theft, aid, our own or others.

 Man must be satisfied with what is necessary and

 What degrades man is
 Greed often results in
 This Commandment forbids to steal the goods of

  Main ideas

1. Greed, the root of all evil

   In order to counteract the greed of the lovers of this physical world, Paul writes: “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."(1 Timothy 6:7-10).

    The lesson of wisdom of the Apostle does not mean that you should not develop, with ingenuity and work, the economic opportunities that help exercise freedom and promote the family, as well as to promote the welfare of others by developing business, wealth and jobs for the benefit of fellow citizens. This just means that man can enslave himself by being submitted to ephemeral goods, because he is worth much more. And, of course, the greed and envy for what others possess, which leads to the illegitimate appropriation of what is not yours, must be fought and dominated.

2. Compliance with what God gives us

   The heart identifies with what it loves, and if it loves material goods uncontrollably, it turns into a ‘thing’ itself, thereby reducing its aspirations to the material wellbeing of just a couple of years not exempt from the anxiety and concern of risks. On the contrary, by conforming ourselves with the goods and riches that God gives us - and with those that can be acquired through honest means - we become happy; the greed and envy of what we lack is what makes us unhappy. And if the desire for having goods and for striving to get them through lawful means and with an honest purpose is good and pleases God, then the uncontrollable desire or greed will offend Him, which is what degrades man.

3. What is forbidden by the Tenth Commandment

   The Tenth Commandment forbids greed and uncontrollable desire of riches, and the desire to commit injustice which would otherwise harm our neighbor in his temporal goods.

    It also prohibits the envy or sadness of the well-being of others with inordinate desire to possess, even if it is in an inappropriate manner. Hate, defamation and slander are born from this type of envy, which usually derives from pride. Cardinal sins that derive from many evils must be fought off; this is achievable through benevolence, humility and the surrender to God’s providence.

  B. Choose the correct answer from the parentheses: achieve, despise, close, open, attach, detach, conform, rebel, greed or envy.

 We must ( ) money through ingenuity and work.

 People can ( ) companies who employ others.

 People must ( ) from the things of this world.

 We must ( ) with what God gives us.

 The sadness over the well-being of others is ( )

 The inordinate desire for riches is ( )

 The desire to commit injustice in order to get money is ( )  

 Usually comes before pride ( )  

4. Detachment from earthly goods

   When a person can control his entire moral conduct, that is, when the law of God reigns in his heart, he is freed from wanting material things, because God’s love dominates everything. This is what the Gospel strongly suggests: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5.3). Therefore, the Christian person must direct his desires towards theological faith, in order for the use of the material things of this world and attachment to riches do not obstruct the search for the perfect love, against the spirit of evangelical poverty.

5. The fight against attachment to earthly goods

   The Gospel calls for vigilance, and this field requires particular attention, because attachment to goods displaces God and disorients life. The remedy is to foster the desire for true happiness, which is reached by living in God's grace above all; and later in fullness in heaven, where one can see and enjoy God. The hope that we will see God surpasses all happiness. And to see and possess God must mortify lust with the help of God’s grace, thereby overcoming the temptation of pleasure and power.

6. We must love and keep the Ten Commandments

   The Tenth Commandment unfolds and completes the Ninth. By prohibiting the greed toward what someone else possesses, it attacks the root of theft, robbery and fraud, which are also prohibited in the Seventh Commandment. If the lust of the eyes is not tamed, then it can turn into violence and injustice, which are forbidden by the Fifth Commandment. Greed, like fornication, originates from the idolatry prohibited by the first three commandments of God’s law. The Tenth Commandment refers to the intentions of the heart, and resumes, along with the Ninth, the Ten Commandments of God’s law.

    After having reviewed the Commandments, we can conclude that they are a gift from God to us indeed. Jesus Christ taught us to comply with them and established beatitudes so we would be able to identify the spirit with which we must abide them. The Commandments point out to the path towards heaven in a clear and simple way. They show us how to love God above all things as well as our neighbor as we love ourselves for the love of God.

Catechism course. Don Jaime Pujol Balcells and Don Jesus Sancho Bielsa. EUNSA. Navarra. 1982. With the permission of the authors.

  C. Choose the correct answer from the parentheses: rich, poor, wealth, poverty, diseases, property, grace, sin, hell, heaven, all or some.

 Blessed are those who are ( ) in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 We must make sure that ( ) prevents perfect love.

 We must live in detachment from the ( ) of the Earth.

 The attachment to the ( ) displaces God.

 The greatest good on Earth is to live in ( )

 The Commandments point towards the way to ( ) in a simple and clear way.

 We must love God above  ( ) things and your neighbor as you love yourself.

  Catechism Questions

1. What does the Tenth Commandment imply?  The Tenth Commandment implies for us to settle for the goods that God gives us and with those that we can acquire in an honest manner..

2. What does the Tenth Commandment prohibit?  The Tenth Commandment forbids avarice of wealth and the envy of what others possess.

  D. Choose the correct answer by clicking the button. Below are the possible answers:



 What does the Tenth Commandment prohibit?

 What does the Tenth Commandment imply?




 It implies for us to settle for the goods that God gives us and with those that we can acquire in an honest manner.


 It forbids avarice of wealth and the envy of what others possess.

  Purposes of Christian life

- Live detached from what we possess and use.

- Examine your conscience in an honest manner in order to prevent the envy over what others possess; instead, rejoice in the successes of others.

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