The Ten Commandments are a description of the basic freedom from sin that is necessary to live as a Christian. Please see below for many references that can help us understand more clearly the meaning of the Ten Commandments and how we can better follow them, beyond memorizing them in word.
The Commandments express man's fundamental duties to God and neighbor. As such, they represent grave obligations. To violate them knowingly & willingly in a significant way is to commit mortal sin (CCC 1854-1864).
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CCC 2056 states "The word "Decalogue" means literally "ten words."11 God revealed these "ten words" to his people on the holy mountain. They were written "with the finger of God,"12 unlike the other commandments written by Moses.13 They are pre-eminently the words of God. They are handed on to us in the books of Exodus14 and Deuteronomy.15 Beginning with the Old Testament, the sacred books refer to the "ten words,"16 but it is in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ that their full meaning will be revealed."
11 Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:1 and 10:4.
12 Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 5:22.
13 cf. Deuteronomy 31:9-24.
14 cf. Exodus 20:1-17.
15 cf. Deuteronomy 5:6-22.
16 cf. for example Hosea 4:2; Jeremiah 7:9; Ezekiel 18:5-9.