Keep God In Your Heart and You're Good

I was having a discussion with my non-practicing brother. He , like other members of my family have developed a laxed attitude towards Catholicism and God. He believes that all you need to do is keep God in your heart therefore he currently doesn’t attend mass or submit to the Church.(I hope that changes soon for my whole family and all my friends, with your prayers) Sounds a lot like our protestant friend’s doctrine of “sola fide.”
Can anyone help me explain why it’s important to attend mass and that following the third commandment’s goes beyond just keeping the sabbath holy and “talking to God” or “keeping him in your heart.”

This is not a new problem. Many of us have fallen into this line of thinking to justify minimalism…

Hebrews 10:25 Paul is advising fellow Christians on just this topic. This is an example of it happening in the early Church. He says - “Not forsaking our assembly, as some are accustomed; but comforting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”

The best you can do is be an example to your brother. Show him how important it is to you and be a blessing to him. Pray for him and the rest of your family. If the subject comes up, you can show him this verse and explain that Jesus told us to eat His Body and drink His Blood. Not for His sake but for ours. We need God and we need each other on our jouney.

Ask him how he keeps God in his heart… What does he do to nurture his faiith and cultivate his relationship with God. How has he grown?

I would ask him where he got this idea and how he knows it’s true.

He is, after all, staking his immortal soul and his eternity on its veracity.

We “observe the day of the Sabbath, to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. [Deuteronomy 5:12]. The day of the Sabbath has been replaced by the Day of the Lord, i.e. Sunday. [There is nothing scriptural that says the “Sabbath” is the last day of the week, thus the early Church Fathers changed the “*day of rest” to Sunday, the day Christ defeated death.] At which time the faithful does as Christ commanded; “Do this for a commemoration of me.” [Luke 22:19]. Such “commands” are obligatory. As servants of God we are obliged to serve in a fashion fitting God’s commands in the form of worship. What ‘binds’ us can be summed up in the word “friendship”. Those who worship Jesus Christ as the Second Person in the Trinity and keep His commandments are his friends. [Cf. John 15:15]

Therefore, we aren’t lead to Mass by our own desires of what we can make of God, rather to serve God as He desires us to do, i.e. commemorate The “title” Christian is worn by those “who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body” [Unitatis Redintegratio] in the one True sacramental Church, the Body of Christ. Hence, to be called “Christian” one must take on faithfulness which includes an obligation to worship in the participation of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (i.e. public worship); confessing with both mouth and heart (worship) to commune with the whole person heart, soul, and mind:

But the righteousness which is of faith says on this wise; Say not in your heart, Who shall go up into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down); or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.”) For as to the virtue manifested in works there is opposed a listlessness, which relaxes our labors, and it requires a very wakeful soul not to yield to it: thus, when one is required to believe, there are reasoning which confuse and make havoc of the minds of most men, and it wants a soul of some vigor to shake them thoroughly off. And this is just why he brings the same before one. And as he did in Abraham’s case, so he does here also. For having there shown that he was justified by faith, lest he should seem to have gotten so great a crown by a mere chance, as if it were a thing of no account, to extol the nature of faith, he says, “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations. And being not weak in faith, he considered his own body now dead, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He had promised He was able also to perform” (Romans 4:18-21): so he showed that there is need of vigor, and a lofty soul, that takes in things beyond expectation, and stumbles not at appearance. [St. John Chrysostom, Homily 17 on Romans]

Faith without worship is to hold back from God those things of a servant and push forward those things which attempt mastery over God’s will. Failing to attend Mass is the pretense to be the master of God, not his friend; pretending we can be ‘friends’ without ‘abiding’ in Christ. [Cf. John 6:57]


Is your brother married, or in a relationship? If so, ask him how his wife/girlfriend would feel if all he did for the relationship was “keep her in his heart”, but completely ignored the things she asked of him? For that matter, what kind of relationship would that really be?

He would talk to her, but not listen to her. Essentially, he’d be in a relationship with a fantasy, ignoring the reality.

I would like to thank you all for your insightful responses. I’d like to add that he threw Matthew 6 at me
"When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
]who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
Close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

This a reading (proclaimed every Ash Wednesday) that in cintext, I’ve understood as to be humble and not be boastful of all the good works that one does in the name of the lord. However this is not the first time that I’ve seen this verse being used as a reason for not having to go and worship at a church. What does the church teach on this verse?


Prayer and worship are not synonymous. Worship is the service toward God which is our duty. The mass is our worship. Any other worship is a symbol of the mass.


It’s true, we should pray in humility. But, then there is the next verse “And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens” [Matthew 6:7]. Heathens don’t worship in the same ceremonial sense as Christians or Jews. The primary purpose of worship is the honor we pay God [worship] in the Sacrifice we offer.

The ceremonial precepts are ordained to the Divine worship. Now in this worship we may consider the worship itself, the worshippers, and the instruments of worship. The worship consists specially in “sacrifices,” which are offered up in honor of God. The instruments of worship refer to the “sacred things,” such as the tabernacle, the vessels and so forth. With regard to the worshippers two points may be considered. The first point is their preparation for Divine worship, which is effected by a sort of consecration either of the people or of the ministers; and to this the “sacraments” refer. The second point is their particular mode of life, whereby they are distinguished from those who do not worship God: and to this pertain the “observances,” for instance, in matters of food, clothing, and so forth.

“Prayer”, therefore, “is the habit [or practice] of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him” CCC 2565 Then, if we take brother’s philosophy we should get all dressed up for the prom but remain like lumps in the closet during the time of jubilation? Boy, that’s dumb! Why bother with the tuxedos if I’m going to remain in the closet?


I also have a brother who is like that. Certainly he needs to keep God in his heart and talk to God. I pray that if he does that God will bring him back to the practice of The Faith.

From the Revised Liberal Version ;):

Now, a rich young man approached him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to gain eternal life?”

Jesus answered, “If you wish to enter into life, it is good to keep the commandments, but it’s not necessary. All you need to do is keep God in your heart.”

The rich young man went away delighted, for he had many possessions he did not have to give up, nor did he have to love his neighbor, nor honor his father and mother, nor obey any of the other Commandments, such as worshiping God on the Sabbath.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “How easy it is to enter the kingdom of heaven! All you need do is believe you have God in your heart.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Then why did we give up everything and follow you? What fools we were when salvation is so simple!”

(If you would like to see what Jesus actually said, see Matthew 19:16-27 :))

I sense your real focus is on the bold highlight.

The Catechism points out that Heb 10:25-29 = mass on Sunday (the day) CCC 2178

looking at hebrews 10:25-29 in detail #22

That’s WHY
*]going to mass every Sunday is important
*]deliberately missing mass is so serious for our souls.

That’s about how to pray on one’s own. Matthew 6:6-15

It is NOT about worshiping at mass. That’s a whole different matter. #12


Re: Keep God In Your Heart and You’re Good

I would say rather Keep God In Your Heart, that’s where you have to start.

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