‘Blest be his holy name’: Don’t use God’s name in vain

By Charla Spalluto Misse, NOLA Catholic Parenting

I remember when I first realized my 6-year old knew about “bad words.” The background hum of children playing had suddenly turned serious. My “mommy super hearing” kicked in as my son very concernedly told his buddy “Don’t say the f-word.”  His friend had been making “raspberries” that sounded like a bodily function that starts with “f”…  Our family calls them “toots.” He had, indeed, learned a new word and learned that sounds relating to it were off-limits.

God created us in his image, giving man the ability to communicate more creatively and comprehensively than any other animal on earth.   The use of base language would indicate a lack of control and a low function of intellect, bringing a person to the level of an animal.

But swearing has become prevalent. Our culture is being desensitized to its inherent vulgarity and disrespect. I have some control of this, though. I can control what I say and most of the situations my family encounters.

While my family can usually avoid “bad words,” we are largely unable to avoid hearing disrespectful and frivolous use of the Lord’s sacred name. There are no bleeps, warning labels or repercussions for such language.

I know that most people who say OMG or JC don’t think too much of what they are saying because they truly have no ill intent toward God in their hearts. They do not know that using the Lord’s name without attaching due reverence is sinful.

How did such offensive language become so commonplace? It is a trick of the devil.

You are definitely not alone if you are surprised to learn that this widespread phenomenon is a sin. If you find it hard to believe, please reflect on the first line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father … hallowed be thy name.”

Compelling proof is also found in the Second Commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” While this includes blasphemy, cursing and perjury, it encompasses any irreverent treatment of his name. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” sets forth that the name of the Lord is holy; it must not be used except to bless, praise and glorify the Lord.

How can we begin to correct this in ourselves and lovingly help others not to sin? It may only take one gentle comment to shine a light that could save many souls.

Recently, I was heartened to learn that I can combat these offenses by simply responding with the whisper of “Blessed be his holy name!”  I was so uplifted to realize that I am not helpless. Indeed, even the whisper of my voice is strong when it carries adoration and respect for almighty God!

Charla Spalluto Misse graduated as valedictorian from Immaculata High School, earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a masters of business administration from The College of William & Mary. She has worked in high-level advisory positions throughout her career and is now a financial advisor where she enjoys using her analytical and planning strengths to develop specialized solutions for her clients. Charla cherishes the opportunity to directly make a positive difference in people’s lives. A native of New Orleans, Charla feels blessed to be near her family and to enjoy the natural beauty and cultural richness of her hometown. She supports various charitable organizations, sits on the board as an officer for the LPO Volunteers and is a Boy Scouts of America Den Leader. The things that make her happiest are laughing with her husband and their son, baking for her loved ones, exercising in the outdoors, visiting the adoration chapel and picking up her son from school.

Please send comments to nolacatholicparenting@clarionherald.org. Visit the blog featuring three new posts a week at www.nolacatholicparenting.org.

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