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478

Part Three

If anyone should meditate with devotion and perspicacity

on the sermon our Lord gave on the mount, as we read in

the Gospel of SaintMatthew, hewill doubtless find there . . . the

perfect way of the Christian life. . . . This sermon contains . . . all

the precepts needed to shape one’s life.

20

1967

The Law of the Gospel “fulfills,” refines, surpasses, and

leads the Old Law to its perfection.

21

In the Beatitudes, the New

Law

fulfills the divine promises

by elevating and orienting them

toward the “kingdom of heaven.” It is addressed to those open to

accepting this new hope with faith—the poor, the humble, the

afflicted, the pure of heart, those persecuted on account of Christ—

and so marks out the surprising ways of the Kingdom.

1968

The Law of the Gospel

fulfills the commandments

of the Law.

The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, far from abolishing or devaluing

the moral prescriptions of the Old Law, releases their hidden

potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their

entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external

precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts,

where man chooses between the pure and the impure,

22

where

faith, hope, and charity are formed and with them the other virtues.

The Gospel thus brings the Law to its fullness through imitation of

the perfection of the heavenly Father, through forgiveness of ene­

mies and prayer for persecutors, in emulation of the divine

generosity.

23

1969

The New Law

practices the acts of religion:

almsgiving,

prayer and fasting, directing them to the “Father who sees in

secret,” in contrast with the desire to “be seen by men.”

24

Its

prayer is the Our Father.

25

1970

The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive

choice between “the two ways” and to put into practice the words

of the Lord.

26

It is summed up in the

Golden Rule,

“Whatever you

wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and

the prophets.”

27

20 St. Augustine,

De serm. Dom.

1, 1: PL 34, 1229-1230.

21 Cf.

Mt

5:17-19.

22 Cf.

Mt

15:18-19.

23 Cf.

Mt

5:44, 48.

24 Cf.

Mt

6:1-6; 16-18.

25 Cf.

Mt

6:9-13;

Lk

11:2-4.

26 Cf.

Mt

7:13-14, 21-27.

27

Mt

7:12; cf.

Lk

6:31.

577

129

582

1434

1696

1789