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8/7/2022

Last week, a friend asked me: Is it OK to say “Oh, my God?”

While the phrase “Oh, my God” (or its cousin “OMG”) could be a prayer, it is not usually meant in this way. More commonly it uses the Divine name as a simple expression of surprise or exasperation. This is not a reverent or prayerful use of God’s name in most circumstances. The word “vain” means empty. So, the context the phrase is used, could qualify it as using God’s name in vain.

However, it is good to remember that some people have a bad habit of using this expression. As such, they could be committing a sin in weakness rather than malice, not intending to show disrespect to God.

We also need to remember that the Second Commandment, “You shall not use the name of the Lord in vain,” has for its first meaning that we should never use God’s name to swear falsely or curse others. Irreverence of God’s name through casual use is an extended meaning of the commandment. But, it is far more serious to use God’s name to curse or swear falsely than to inadvertently use it to express surprise. Still, one ought to avoid such vain or empty uses. One way to help break a bad habit is for the one who says, “Oh, my God!” to correct themselves aloud by saying, “Oh, I mean to say, ‘May the name of the Lord be praised!’” This helps make restitution and also helps break the habit.

Have a Blessed Week!

Deacon John

- Adapted from SimplyCatholic.com

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