Life in Christ
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
THE MORAL LAW
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.
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.”
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.
2 Leo XIII,
AAS 20 (1887/88), 597; cf. St. Thomas
I-II, 90, 1.
3 Cf. Tertullian,
2, 4: PL 2, 288-289.