The Purpose of the Precepts
The five precepts of the Church are meant to guarantee for the faithful the indispensable minimum in the spirit of prayer, the sacramental life, moral commitment and growth in love of God and neighbour.
What are the precepts of the Church?
- The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.") requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration
when the Christian community gathers together on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord.
- The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year.") ensures preparation for the Eucharist
by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.
- The third precept (“You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter
season.") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.84
- The fourth precept (“You shall keep holy
the holy days of obligation.") completes the Sunday observance by participation in the principal liturgical feasts which honour the mysteries of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints.85
- The fifth precept (“You
shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart. The faithful also have the duty
of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities