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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