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Life in Christ

479

The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “

new com-

mandment

” of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us.

28

1971

To the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount it is fitting to add the

moral catechesis of the apostolic teachings,

such as

Romans

12-15,

1 Corinthians

12-13,

Colossians

3-4,

Ephesians

4-5, etc. This doctrine

hands on the Lord’s teaching with the authority of the apostles,

particularly in the presentation of the virtues that flow from faith in

Christ and are animated by charity, the principal gift of the Holy

Spirit. “Let charity be genuine. . . . Love one another with brotherly

affection. . . . Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be

constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice

hospitality.”

29

This catechesis also teaches us to deal with cases of

conscience in the light of our relationship to Christ and to the

Church.

30

1972

The New Law is called a

law of love

because it makes us act

out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a

law of grace,

because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means

of faith and the sacraments; a

law of freedom,

because it sets us free

from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law, inclines

us to act spontaneously by the prompting of charity and, finally,

lets us pass from the condition of a servant who “does not know

what his master is doing” to that of a friend of Christ—“For all that

I have heard frommy Father I have made known to you”

or even

to the status of son and heir.

31

1973

Besides its precepts, the New Law also includes the

evan-

gelical counsels.

The traditional distinction between God’s com­

mandments and the evangelical counsels is drawn in relation to

charity, the perfection of Christian life. The precepts are intended to

remove whatever is incompatible with charity. The aim of the coun­

sels is to remove whatever might hinder the development of chari­

ty, even if it is not contrary to it.

32

1974

The evangelical counsels manifest the living fullness of

charity, which is never satisfied with not giving more. They attest its

vitality and call forth our spiritual readiness. The perfection of the

New Law consists essentially in the precepts of love of God and

neighbor. The counsels point out the more direct ways, the readier

means, and are to be practiced in keeping with the vocation of each:

28 Cf.

Jn

15:12; 13:34.

29

Rom

12:9-13.

30 Cf.

Rom

14;

1 Cor

5-10.

31

Jn

15:15; cf.

Jas

1:25; 2:12;

Gal

4:1-7. 21-31;

Rom

8:15.

32 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas,

STh

II-II, 184, 3.

1823

1789

782

1828

2053

915

2013