One of my first memories of church is being taught the ten rules we as Catholics are meant to follow. For years, we worked on memorizing the Ten Commandments. Along with all the prayers and procedures and sacraments Catholics need to know, ten felt like a lot for my childish mind to absorb! All these years later, I am still learning them. It's been decades since I learned them by heart, but now I'm still learning to live them.
When I think about it rationally, it doesn't seem that difficult. Following ten rules—just ten!—should be a walk in the park. But the truth is it's much harder than it seems. So hard, in fact, that most of us (myself included) can't get past the very first one!
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the first commandment goes as follows:
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them."
Now, I am not a pagan worshiper. I am a Roman Catholic that adores one God: our God! But I know I regularly put other things before Him.
Years ago, that may have been achievement and accolades. Now, it is my children. That is not to say I love my children more than Him, but I can say for a fact that I think about them way more! I am constantly dealing with all the things that raising them entails: bathing, dressing, feeding (so much feeding), teaching, disciplining, playing, and loving (so much loving).
I know God gave me these children to care for them to the best of my ability (and I am confident I am doing just that) but his Commandments are the guideposts I need on how to adore Him. In my case, the first commandment allows me to reflect on putting God at the forefront of everything I do, to give him my time and affection, too.