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Catholic Dictionary




In general, performing one's religious duty as a creature toward God, and fulfilling one's moral responsibility of meeting the needs of others. To serve God is the primary obligation of human beings, personally and socially, to be done in acts of worship and prayer; and in acts of virtue as prescribed by the natural and revealed laws of God. This corresponds to the first three commandments of the Decalogue, and is summarized in the precept to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). To serve others is the secondary obligation of a person, deriving from the preceding duty and depending on it. This corresponds to the last seven commandments of God and is synthesized in the precept "You must love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). On these two commandments of service, Christ says, rest the whole law and the Prophets also. (Etym. Latin servus, a slave, servant, subject to the right of others.)