Many people are well aware of the third commandment of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” – Exodus 20:7. But using the Lord’s name as a frivolous exclamation or even as a swear word is quite popular throughout our society. Even atheists will mindlessly use “G–!” or “Oh my G–!” or “J—-!” as empty exclamations. Many people think nothing of also attaching filthy expletives to the Lord’s name as part of their profane utterances.
But pious Catholics think they have figured out a way to “beat the system” and avoid this sin while still vainly using the name of Jesus. Instead of exclaiming “J—-!” or “J—- Christ!” they will substitute the expression, “J—-, Mary, and Joseph!” They imagine they can take the Lord’s name in vain, but still not sin if they append the names of Mary and Joseph. They would defend themselves by saying they are only invoking the “holy family” trio in prayer rather than using the Lord’s name disrespectfully.
- No matter how they try to sugar coat it, they’re still taking the Lord’s name in vain.
- Invoking anyone in prayer other than God is blasphemy. Nowhere in the entire Bible does a believer pray to anyone other than God.
My parents went to mass every Sunday, but that was the visible extent of their Catholic faith as far as I ever noticed. However, I had a boyhood friend whose parents were very pious Catholics. Whenever the occasion called for a forceful exclamation of anger or surprise, the mother or older sisters would let out an animated, “J—-, Mary, and Joseph!” My sister-in-law, who also once fancied herself a pious Catholic, would also use this same “pasteurized” version of profaning the Lord’s name. This exclamation is used by MANY Catholics who think they are cleverly getting around the 3rd commandment. Whoops, Catholics actually number it as the 2nd commandment, which is another post altogether.
Have you ever come across Catholics who use the camouflaged curse expression, “J—-, Mary, and Joseph”? I’ve read that the phrase was once especially popular among Irish Catholics.
We are all sinners and all of us break the Ten Commandments either in thought, word, deed, or by omission every day. We can’t merit salvation because none of us are good. But God the Father sent Jesus Christ, God the Son, to pay for our sins on the cross at Calvary. He defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave three days later and now offers forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and fellowship with Him to all those who repent of their sin and accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Won’t you trust in Jesus to save you?
Postscript: I’m a believer and I’m pretty adept at not using the Lord’s name as a curse word, yet I admit that I also take the Lord’s name in vain. How? I call Him my Lord, but I don’t always do what He commands me to. Praise God for His grace, forgiveness, and encouragement to keep pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! – Philippians 3:14