Catechism of the Catholic Church

490 Part Three oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us. 2025 We can have merit in God’s sight only because of God’s free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man’s collaboration. Man’s merit is due to God. 2026 The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accord­ ance with God’s gratuitous justice. Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God. 2027 No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods. 2028 “All Christians . . . are called to the fullness of Chris­ tian life and to the perfection of charity” ( LG 40 § 2). “Christian perfection has but one limit, that of having none” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, De vita Mos.: PG 44, 300D). 2029 “If any man would come after me, let him deny him­ self and take up his cross and follow me” ( Mt 16:24). A rticle 3 THE CHURCH, MOTHER AND TEACHER 2030 It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation. From the Church he receives the Word of God containing the teachings of “the law of Christ.” 72 From the Church he receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the “way.” From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary; he discerns it in the authentic witness of those who live it; he discovers it in the spiritual tradition and long history of the saints 72 Gal 6:2. 828