The Precepts of the Catholic Church are like a bare bones list of things you must do as a Catholic; they are like minimum membership requirements. The idea is to guarantee “the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor.”
In other words, the Precepts of the Catholic Church are designed to help people have some semblance of a Christian life in order to get to heaven. Some people think there are six or seven Precepts of the Catholic Church, but in fact there are five.
The Precepts of the Catholic Church
- You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor. Go to church. It’s that easy! Also to remember to keep Sundays as a day of rest to reconnect with God and your family.
- You shall confess your sins at least once a year. Receiving communion should be done while the person is in a state of grace, therefore going to confession and repairing your relationship with God at least once per year gives you a decent chance of receiving Jesus’ body and blood, the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of our faith.
- You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season. With Easter being the high point of the Catholic liturgical year, receiving the Eucharist on the day that we commemorate Jesus’ resurrection is pretty important. Without the resurrection of Jesus, our entire faith would be meaningless.
- You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church. This is designed to help you grow in holiness by developing mastery over your instincts and establishing a true freedom of heart. Fasting and abstinence allow us to detach from material things (even such as food) which will help us grow in love of God by forcing us to make room for God.
- You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church. No, this does not mean you are required to give a certain percentage of your income to your parish, but it does mean that you should give something even if you are already giving of your time. Simply put, parishes need money to operate. Communion hosts, candles, wine, altar cloths, incense and other things are not free; parishes have to purchase these goods. Give freely and generously to your parish to support at least its basic mission which is to gather Christ’s disciples for worship and send them out into the world to proclaim the Good News.