Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 473 C hapter T hree G od ’ s S alvation : L aw and G race 1949 Called to beatitude but wounded by sin, man stands in need of salvation from God. Divine help comes to him in Christ through the law that guides him and the grace that sustains him: Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 1 A rticle 1 THE MORAL LAW 1950 The moral law is the work of divine Wisdom. Its biblical meaning can be defined as fatherly instruction, God’s pedagogy. It prescribes for man the ways, the rules of conduct that lead to the promised beatitude; it proscribes the ways of evil which turn him away from God and his love. It is at once firm in its precepts and, in its promises, worthy of love. 1951 Law is a rule of conduct enacted by competent authority for the sake of the common good. The moral law presupposes the rational order, established among creatures for their good and to serve their final end, by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator. All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal law. Law is declared and established by reason as a participation in the providence of the living God, Creator and Redeemer of all. “Such an ordinance of reason is what one calls law.” 2 Alone among all animate beings, man can boast of having been counted worthy to receive a law fromGod: as an animal endowed with reason, capable of understanding and dis­ cernment, he is to govern his conduct by using his freedom and reason, in obedience to the One who has entrusted everything to him. 3 1 Phil 2:12-13. 2 Leo XIII, Libertas præstantissimum: AAS 20 (1887/88), 597; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 90, 1. 3 Cf. Tertullian, Adv. Marc, 2, 4: PL 2, 288-289. 53 1719 295 306 301