What counts as taking the Lord’s name in vain? If I say “Oh my G-d” or “G-d forbid,” is that taking it in vain? What are the rules?
I am curious as to the right answer on this as well… though I have always thought that it had more to do with what is in your heart when you are saying using his name. Most people don’t curse others.things with God’s name. Most people use it as just another slang phase. I haven’t really felt that slang uses were all that bad… but I guess it doesn’t show reverence for him either.
A governement that governs least, governs best. -Thomas Jefferson
The trivial use of God’s name is almost commonplace with texting and phrases that you noted.
The Catechism forbids blasphemy, using hateful, defiant or otherwise defaming speech regarding God and other holy people (CCC 2148). Similarly, swearing by the Lord’s name and not fulfilling your oath is also forbidden (CCC 2152), as warned against by Christ (Matthew 5:33-35)
Variations of cursing aren’t forbidden. See this pithy Ask An Apologist answer from Father Vincent Serpa about that.
or you can take the Jewish approach and avoid mentioning His name altogether
Trivial use of the Lord’s name is most certainly “taking His name in vain.” Just because it is commonplace doesn’t make it good or right. The phrase commonly abbreviated “OMG” should only be used as part of a prayer.
Uh oh; where’s my humility?
Ruthie, penitentially praying,
Oh, my God, please open the hearts of everyone, everywhere, to Your love and Your omnipotence. +Amen. :signofcross:
Context and intentions are what matter most here. If you are saying the phrase “Oh my God” as the beginning of a prayer for instance (“Oh my God, please have mercy on me…” or “Oh my God, I thank Thee for all Thy gifts…”, etc.) then it clearly isn’t blasphemous use of the Lord’s name. If you are saying something like “God forbid” and aren’t simply using this phrase as a thoughtless manner of speech, but sincerely mean it (i.e. “God forbid someone handle the Eucharist in a disrespectful manner”, etc.) then again that’s not blasphemous.
Using the Lord’s name like a curse or using it lightly without thought or respect are both wrong. For example saying “Jesus Christ!” in a moment of anger towards someone or something isn’t appropriate at all. Honestly, it doesn’t even make sense to use His name in this way. (Just imagine saying “George Washington!” every time you got angry.) Why it has become so widespread is unclear to me. But to make the Lord’s name the equivalent of a curse word is VERY disrespectful. Likewise simply using His name as a filler in a sentence isn’t very respectful either (i.e. “Oh my God that was so cool!”, or “Jesus, that was hilarious!”). The only way phrases like that could be acceptable is if Christ were standing right next to you and you were pointing something out to Him, which I don’t see happening too often.
We really need to remember that the Lord is our Creator, our Savior, and our God. He is not to be treated as an equal or, worse yet, as an inferior. And really, is this such a difficult commandment to obey? Then again, in an age when it seems fewer and fewer people think before they speak or feel any need to consider if what they say is appropriate or correct before saying it, perhaps this is more difficult than I personally preceive it to be?
Either way if this is something that you’re doing you need to try to stop doing it immediately. Go to confession, make penance, and try to remember that this is your Lord you’re making light of. But don’t be discouraged, perhaps this sinful habit can become a means to living a more devout life! By being forced to remind yourself not to use the Lord’s name in vain, and by confessing it every time you do so, you will be spending more time thinking about God and His relationship with you helping to increase your love and reverence for the Lord. And so, yet again, we can see that “…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…”
The key is context.
If I see a cute little puppy and say “Oh My God what a cute little puppy”, that is trivial.
If I see a tornado bearing down on me and say “Oh My God”, that probably is not trivial and it is more than likely a fervent prayer.
I think that saying “Oh My God” is a real bad habit and shouldn’t be done and Catholics should especially work on this. I find myself using this term and I realize that I need to stop. It really is a serious - unthinking - thing to do.
It is strange to me how many people use those words and I wonder why they say them, especially if they do not believe in God.
The Lord’s Name should only be mentioned when praising him (prayer, worship, adoration etc) and when talking about him to others. It is a mortal sin to take his name in vain and his mentioned in the ten commandments and in the catechism. Whatever we do as Catholic Christians we witness to the world that we represent our Lord and do everything to glorify his most Holy Name. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is one of the mortal sins I struggle with so I pray to God to tame my tongue and help me to be a better person in mind, body and spirit.
You said it!
If you say it as an exclamation like a secular person would without thinking of what you are saying but just out of emotion, it’s a problem.
If you say it meaning to actually talk to Him about something, or ask for His help, and I mean meaning it, well that’s different.
If it’s a habit to use it the wrong way, you’ve got a bad habit you -need- to fix. People need to warn other people not to do this by the way, whoever they are, religious or not. It’s a sin and it causes problems for everyone.
We have to make reparation for it.
The Golden Arrow
May the most holy, most sacred,
most adorable, most mysterious
and unutterable Name of God
be always praised, blessed,
loved, adored and glorified,
in heaven, on earth and under the earth,
by all the creatures of God,
and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ
in the most holy Sacrament of the altar.
*The Golden Arrow was revealed by Our Lord Jesus Christ to a Carmelite nun of Tours in 1843 as a reparation for blasphemy.
Jesus said: “This Golden Arrow will wound My Heart delightfully, and heal the wounds inflicted by blasphemy.” *
Is “God” God’s name or is “I Am” God’s name?
You have to be careful what you say, and what you let others say:
‘Let us not doubt that baptized babies who die in their infant years will enter into the heavenly Kingdom. We should not, however, believe that all those infants who have begun to speak will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven will be closed to many babies because of their parents’ bad rearing. In this city, there lives a certain man who is known to all; three years ago, this man had a son who, if I recall, would then have been about five years old, for whom he had such human love that he did not even try to discipline him.
For this reason, the boy, when someone prevented him from getting his way, used to blaspheme the magnificence of God—and let me emphasize that this is something dangerous.
When, three years ago, a deadly plague fell upon the region where he lived, this young boy succumbed to it and was near death. As eyewitnesses recounted, while the father took the child into his arms, the boy himself saw evil spirits coming for him. The boy began to tremble, to blink his eyes in fear, and to cry out in despair to his father: “Father, save me, protect me.” Simultaneously, as he cried, he turned his face towards his father’s chest, as though wanting to be hidden.
When the father saw his son trembling, in agony he asked him what he had seen. The son answered: “Black creatures came to me and wanted to take me away with them.” No sooner had he finished this phrase, than he immediately blasphemed the name of the Divine Magnificence and, with this blasphemy, expired.
Thus, God, the All-Powerful, in order to show by what sin the boy was given over to these evil servants, allowed him to die with this sin which his father, while the boy was alive, did nothing to prevent. And this boy whom God allowed, by His mercy, to live as a blasphemer, by His righteous judgment was also permitted to blaspheme at his death, so that his careless father might know well his sin. For this father, being indifferent to the soul of his young son, reared for the Gehenna of fire not an insignificant sinner, but a great sinner.’
Pope St. Gregory the Great
actually, yes it is, unless you are in the path of an oncoming tornado or volcanic eruption and that is an expression of desperate prayer. The commandment means what it says, when you swear an oath by God’s name and word you are swearing that what you testify and promise is the truth as you know it in God’s sight. When you call on God’s name it should be a prayer, not a casual expression of shock, surprise or delight. Work on expanding your vocabulary.
As I said to a previous thread on this subject, it’s probably best you don’t say, “Oh my God!” Because every time you do, He’s like, “What!?” And it vexes Him because it’s a false alarm.
It’s Daddy!! * (Abba)*
I’m not a Catholic, rather a Christian.
Everytime I hear someone say things that appeal to Jesus in a situation when such an appeal is a sentence of sarcasm and disdain my spirit is repelled.
It is, of course, common place in the language of people and it is yet another piece of evidence that people have lost their awe and reverence for the Savior.
I personally would advise you to make a herculean effort to get a handle on this. I still have to remind myself not to fall into the habit of using the precious name of God in a way that diminishes His glory, honor and praise.
I’m not judging you, because I know that we acquire habits, that sometimes that aren’t meant to show disrespect for the Deity, but do so just the same. My own personal measuring stick is that if I’m not referring to God in my speech, I shouldn’t use His name.
Blessings to you.
Here’s a sermon on respect for the holy name of Jesus.
And a book on the Wonders of the Holy Name that I dearly love.
Thank you Shin. I looked at the last one. Wonderful reading and right on target. I think people have forgotten that commandment. I’m reminded of the way people are now using the phrase “That’s not a hill I’m willing to die on!” The first time I heard it, I could not believe my ears. Now even the ressurection is relegated to a cheap phrase. Sad, sad, sad.
I had a really bad habit before starting RCIA and for a bit in the beginning of RCIA of cussing and saying OMG all the time. The more I prayed the more I realized that at least for me, it was sinning and so I made a conscious effort to stop doing all of this.
Now I never cuss (except I think a word or two slipped twice since then), and I wouldn’t dream of saying OMG, and if it slipped out I’d likely be in Confession right away.
I’m not an expert on any of this by any means, I just know for me it’s wrong.
In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH (“I AM HE WHO IS”, “I AM WHO AM” or “I AM WHO I AM”), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is - infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the “hidden God”, his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.