Ten Punishments for the Violation of the Ten Commandments
Editorial of Salt of the Earth 118, Fall 2021
MORE THAN 3,000 YEARS AGO, God struck Egypt with ten terrible plagues called the Ten Plagues of Egypt.
God wanted to force Pharaoh to let the Jewish people out of Egypt, as Moses had asked. But Pharaoh was hard-hearted and it was only at the tenth plague, the most terrible, that he let the Hebrews go.
St. Augustine showed in a sermon how the ten plagues of Egypt can represent the punishments God inflicts on men when they break the ten commandments. Now more than ever the world is transgressing the Ten Commandments. This explains the painful events we are undergoing and perhaps the more serious ones that still await us.
The transgression of each commandment is punished by the corresponding wound, not in the historical sense, but in its symbolic sense.
1. You shall have no other God but Me.
First plague of Egypt: water turned to blood. Pharaoh refused to listen to Moses, so Aaron, his brother, struck the waters of the river with his staff, and all the waters of the land were turned to blood. The fish died and the Egyptians could no longer drink.
Water means life, blood symbolizes death. The world that does not want to worship God, the author of life, is punished by death.
More than ever, the world rejects God, and especially rejects Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only true God. So it is punished with death. Death is found even before birth with abortion, it is found at the end with euthanasia, death is even now omnipresent: continuously the radio, the television, the media speak about death and dying.
2. You shall not take the name of God in vain.
Second plague: the plague of frogs that covered the land of Egypt. When they died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields, they were piled up in heaps, and the land was infected with them.
Men who no longer wish to pronounce the name of God with respect, and who blaspheme him, are given over by God to vain chatter, represented by the croaking of frogs. The heaps of dead and fetid frogs represent the bitterness that these conversations leave in the souls.
Today, we proclaim the right to blasphemy, while banishing the sacred name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, excluded in the name of “secularism”, as if God had not come to teach and save us.
The punishment is the hollow chatter of the media, of television, of the internet, of all these means of social communication, which croak like frogs, which never speak of the essential, and leave behind them emptiness and sadness in the soul.
3. Remember to keep the feasts holy.
Third plague: the invasion of flies.
Men who do not want to respect the Sunday rest live in unrest, the opposite of rest which the Latin quies signifies. Permanent agitation, continuous torment symbolized by the flies.
Go to a big city, look in the street: everyone is running, there is no more peace and quiet.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
Fourth plague: the sending of a gnat called the dog flea, which tormented the Egyptians by its bites.
Little dogs are born blind, they do not recognize their parents. This plague means that men who do not honor their parents, will themselves have to suffer from their children who will treat them cruelly.
The modern world crams old people into real warehouses, where they die of boredom when they are not victims of euthanasia.
No doubt good Christians do what they can to take care of their elderly parents, and some even make great sacrifices, but the fact remains that our society is hard on the elderly, it makes them suffer, and this is a punishment for the transgression of the fourth commandment.
5. Thou shalt not kill.
Fifth plague: the cattle plague which kills the Egyptians’ herds.
Murderers are often punished by dying like animals.
Our world is murderous: it not only kills children and old people, but it promotes terrorism, drugs, suicide, it multiplies useless and ever more deadly wars. As a punishment, men die like beasts. How many immortal souls have arrived in recent months at the threshold of death without any preparation? The priest is no longer called, and they even want to prevent him from approaching the dying.
6. You shall not commit impure acts.
Sixth plague: ulcers and tumors bulging into blisters.
Impurity is often punished with shameful diseases.
The modern world is afflicted by all kinds of diseases, including AIDS, which is one of the most deadly.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
Seventh plague: the hail that destroyed the crops of the Egyptians.
Those who steal often end up in misery. Spiritual misery, deprived of the only true wealth which is God, but also often material misery.
Our modern societies live by an organized theft called usury. We did not want to listen to the Church, we let the usurers take control of the financial world. The punishment for this will be the general ruin that will inevitably come. Communism in Russia and China led to general misery and terrible famines. The Neo-Communism that is being set up all over the world is also likely to result in misery and famine.
8. You shall not give false testimony.
Eighth plague: the locusts with their terrible teeth.
Those who live a lie end up devouring each other.
The modern world is one of institutionalized lying:
lie of secularism, which excludes God in the name of a false neutrality;
lie of Darwinism, which praises a world that would be self-constructing;
lie of Machiavellian democratization which openly replaces authority by the manipulation of the supposedly sovereign people.
The result: the modern world is a jungle where man is a wolf to man.
9. You shall not desire another’s wife.
Ninth plague: the darkness preventing one from seeing even in daylight.
Figure of the darkness of the heart ravaged by bad desires.
Alas, so many young people, so many adults even, are watching bad things on the screens. Here they are in thick darkness, which is only the prelude to the outer darkness where they will be thrown if they do not come to their senses.
10. You shall not desire the good of others
Tenth plague: the death of the firstborn.
The firstborn represents the soul, which should be dearer to us than anything else.
The sin of envy is punished by the death of the soul.
Through commercial advertising and revolutionary ideology, the modern world advocates envy as the engine of economic and social progress.
The result is the death of the soul, through sin and progressive dehumanization. We even come to advocate transhumanism.
After having listed the ten plagues, punishments for the violation of the ten commandments, it is necessary to recall that the punishments of this world often have, in the designs of God, a medicinal value.
They are intended to correct, not to crush.
To show that they cannot really harm faithful men, these plagues were cruel only to the Egyptians, and did not reach the Hebrews.
The situation is not exactly the same today, since good Christians can suffer the consequences of crimes they did not commit. But in reality, nothing can harm them, because “all things work together for good to souls who love God” (St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 8, verse 28).
In the New Covenant, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Innocent One par excellence, came to suffer for the guilty.
The sufferings of Christians serve not only to atone for their own sins, but to save many sinners.
If we have to suffer the punishments that God in his goodness sends to our guilty world, let us see it as an opportunity to sanctify ourselves.
Let us ask for the grace to accept them.
If we ourselves have transgressed the Ten Commandments, let us accept these sufferings as an expiation for our sins. And if we suffer for the sins of others, let us thank God for associating us with his Cross.
Translation by A.A.