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KEVIN ALDRICH

The virtue of temperance or
selfless-preservation

Doctrinal Homily Outlines

  • Temperance is the virtue or good habit by which we moderate our desire for pleasurable things. We moderate this desire by only saying yes to acts that give us pleasure at the right time and in the right circumstances. At the wrong time or in the wrong circumstances we are temperate if we say no to those acts.
  • Temperance moderates passions necessary for life: hunger and thirst because we must eat and drink; sexual desire so the human race can continue; anger to defend against aggression and injustice; and even hunger for knowledge so we can be educated. These passions are good in themselves.
  • Josef Pieper describes temperance as selfless self-preservation, whereas intemperance is selfish self-destruction (Pieper 150).
    • Pieper argues that our passions get us in trouble because instead of the inner order that ought to prevail in us we have an actual interior disorder.
    • God has created us with a nature which directs us to love him above ourselves, whereas due to original sin we are inclined to love ourselves more than God.
    • We observe the inner order proper to us when we act in obedience to the moral law.
    • Yet we often reject the moral order and make these life-giving drives destructive.
      • Hunger becomes gluttony. Thirst becomes drunkenness. Sexual desire becomes lust. Just anger becomes uncontrollable fury. Even the desire to know becomes the vice of curiosity. (Pieper 150-151)
    • One of the reasons the Church makes every Friday a day of penance and gives us the season of Lent each year is to help us put a curb on our passions, something possible through God’s grace and our cooperation.
    • The virtue of temperance does not ask us to enjoy pleasures less; rather, it makes it possible to enjoy them as much as we wish but at the right time and under the right circumstances.

READ MORE

FR. JAMES BRENT, O.P.

Temperance (Aquinas 101)

PROFESSOR MATTHEW LEVERING

Temperance and the Common Good

Joan Watson

Cardinal Virtues: Temperance

Fr. Clement Thibodeau

“Are you saved?”

Echoing God’s Word (Portland Diocese)
Used with permission.

In the Catholic tradition, we are often confused at the question asked by evangelical Protestants, “Are you saved?” We are annoyed by the implication of the question: Only if we have been “born again” according to their understanding of salvation can we be saved. To be saved can be achieved only in a sudden, dramatic, life-altering experience of conversion, which is conscious, deliberate, and willingly accepted.

We do no better with the Catholic version of all this: “Outside the Church, there is no salvation.” By the time we are able to explain that one cannot be saved if that person consciously and deliberately rejects the Church as the ordinary means of salvation for those to whom this truth has been revealed, we have lost the point of the discussion.

Salvation is always the work of the divine initiative and decision. Salvation is the work of God’s mercy and not the result of our energy. It is always a work of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:5; Titus 2:11).

It is better that we start at the very beginning of all the premises and presuppositions. Jesus Christ is our salvation. “No one come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). “Nor is there salvation in any other name [than Jesus’]” (Acts 4:12).

Our faith teaches us that the Church is the medium, the instrument, the sacrament of our salvation. It is in the Church community that the word of God is proclaimed by which we come to believe, to have faith, and to come to salvation in Jesus Christ. It is in the Church that we have access to the sacraments, beginning with baptism, whereby we enter into the saving death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Salvation won for us by Christ is applied to us and appropriated (received and internalized) by us each time we celebrate as a community of faith with Jesus present in our midst. Our salvation, already given us by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith and baptism, is renewed in us whenever we repent of having sinned, when we pray, when we commit ourselves to serving Christ in the poor, etc.

Christ is Savior of the Church which is his body, sharing in his holiness and made acceptable to God by having been immersed into the bath of his death (Ephesians 5:23; 5:24- 25). The Church is cleansed by Christ in a washing with water in his word (Ephesians 5:26 etc.). The command of Christ proclaimed among us in the holy Scriptures brings about our rebirth in the Lord Jesus.

Salvation is always the work of the divine initiative and decision. Salvation is the work of God’s mercy and not the result of our energy. It is always a work of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:5; Titus 2:11).

SOURCE: © 2017 Portland Diocese / Father Clement D. Thibodeau. Used with permission.
Ken Yasinski

Roman Catholic Salvation: 2 Things Taught by the Catholic Church

Catholic Minute – Catholic speaker Ken Yasinski (4:56) – Roman Catholic teaching on salvation: Do we need the Catholic Church? Do we need the Catholic Sacraments like baptism and the Eucharist? What did Jesus leave us to work out our salvation?


On this page you will find paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which are in light grey boxes and have been identified by the Homiletic Directory as paragraphs which rsonate with the biblical readings for this Sunday. They were chosen either because they cite or allude to the specific readings, or because they treat topics found in the readings. 

CCC 606-607

Christ’s life an offering to the Father

Christ’s whole life is an offering to the Father

606 The Son of God, who came down “from heaven, not to do [his] own will, but the will of him who sent [him]”,413 said on coming into the world, “Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.” “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”414 From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father’s plan of divine salvation in his redemptive mission: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.”415 The sacrifice of Jesus “for the sins of the whole world”416 expresses his loving communion with the Father. “The Father loves me, because I lay down my life”, said the Lord, “[for] I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”417

607 The desire to embrace his Father’s plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus’ whole life,418 for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation. And so he asked, “And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.”419 And again, “Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”420 From the cross, just before “It is finished”, he said, “I thirst.”421

CCC 542, 607

Christ’s desire to give his life for our salvation

“The kingdom of God is at hand”

541 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe in the gospel.'”246 “To carry out the will of the Father Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth.”247 Now the Father’s will is “to raise up men to share in his own divine life”.248 He does this by gathering men around his Son Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church, “on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdom”.249

542 Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the “family of God”. By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him. But above all in the great Paschal mystery – his death on the cross and his Resurrection – he would accomplish the coming of his kingdom. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Into this union with Christ all men are called.250


607 The desire to embrace his Father’s plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus’ whole life,418 for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation. And so he asked, “And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.”419 And again, “Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”420 From the cross, just before “It is finished”, he said, “I thirst.”421

CCC 690, 729

The Spirit glorifies the Son, the Son glorifies the Father

THE JOINT MISSION OF THE SON AND THE SPIRIT

689 The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of his Son, is truly God.10 Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world. In adoring the Holy Trinity, life-giving, consubstantial, and indivisible, the Church’s faith also professes the distinction of persons. When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals him.

690 Jesus is Christ, “anointed,” because the Spirit is his anointing, and everything that occurs from the Incarnation on derives from this fullness.11 When Christ is finally glorified,12 he can in turn send the Spirit from his place with the Father to those who believe in him: he communicates to them his glory,13 that is, the Holy Spirit who glorifies him.14 From that time on, this joint mission will be manifested in the children adopted by the Father in the Body of his Son: the mission of the Spirit of adoption is to unite them to Christ and make them live in him:

The notion of anointing suggests . . . that there is no distance between the Son and the Spirit. Indeed, just as between the surface of the body and the anointing with oil neither reason nor sensation recognizes any intermediary, so the contact of the Son with the Spirit is immediate, so that anyone who would make contact with the Son by faith must first encounter the oil by contact. In fact there is no part that is not covered by the Holy Spirit. That is why the confession of the Son’s Lordship is made in the Holy Spirit by those who receive him, the Spirit coming from all sides to those who approach the Son in faith.15 

Christ Jesus

727 The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the fullness of time, is contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father’s Spirit since his Incarnation – Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.

Everything in the second chapter of the Creed is to be read in this light. Christ’s whole work is in fact a joint mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Here, we shall mention only what has to do with Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit and the gift of him by the glorified Lord.

728 Jesus does not reveal the Holy Spirit fully, until he himself has been glorified through his Death and Resurrection. Nevertheless, little by little he alludes to him even in his teaching of the multitudes, as when he reveals that his own flesh will be food for the life of the world.110 He also alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus,111 to the Samaritan woman,112 and to those who take part in the feast of Tabernacles.113 To his disciples he speaks openly of the Spirit in connection with prayer114 and with the witness they will have to bear.115

729 Only when the hour has arrived for his glorification does Jesus promise the coming of the Holy Spirit, since his Death and Resurrection will fulfill the promise made to the fathers.116 The Spirit of truth, the other Paraclete, will be given by the Father in answer to Jesus’ prayer; he will be sent by the Father in Jesus’ name; and Jesus will send him from the Father’s side, since he comes from the Father. The Holy Spirit will come and we shall know him; he will be with us for ever; he will remain with us. The Spirit will teach us everything, remind us of all that Christ said to us and bear witness to him. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ. He will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment.

730 At last Jesus’ hour arrives:117 he commends his spirit into the Father’s hands118 at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,”119 he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by “breathing” on his disciples.120 From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”121

CCC 662, 2853

Christ ascended in glory as our victory

“HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN AND IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER”

659 “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”532 Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.533 But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.534 Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand.535 Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.536

660 The veiled character of the glory of the Risen One during this time is intimated in his mysterious words to Mary Magdalene: “I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”537 This indicates a difference in manifestation between the glory of the risen Christ and that of the Christ exalted to the Father’s right hand, a transition marked by the historical and transcendent event of the Ascension.

661 This final stage stays closely linked to the first, that is, to his descent from heaven in the Incarnation. Only the one who “came from the Father” can return to the Father: Christ Jesus.538 “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.”539 Left to its own natural powers humanity does not have access to the “Father’s house”, to God’s life and happiness.540 Only Christ can open to man such access that we, his members, might have confidence that we too shall go where he, our Head and our Source, has preceded us.541

662 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”542 The lifting up of Jesus on the cross signifies and announces his lifting up by his Ascension into heaven, and indeed begins it. Jesus Christ, the one priest of the new and eternal Covenant, “entered, not into a sanctuary made by human hands. . . but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”543 There Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he “always lives to make intercession” for “those who draw near to God through him”.544 As “high priest of the good things to come” he is the center and the principal actor of the liturgy that honors the Father in heaven.545

663 Henceforth Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father: “By ‘the Father’s right hand’ we understand the glory and honor of divinity, where he who exists as Son of God before all ages, indeed as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified.”546

664 Being seated at the Father’s right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah’s kingdom, the fulfillment of the prophet Daniel’s vision concerning the Son of man: “To him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”547 After this event the apostles became witnesses of the “kingdom [that] will have no end”.548


“BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL”

2850 The last petition to our Father is also included in Jesus’ prayer: “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.”163 It touches each of us personally, but it is always “we” who pray, in communion with the whole Church, for the deliverance of the whole human family. The Lord’s Prayer continually opens us to the range of God’s economy of salvation. Our interdependence in the drama of sin and death is turned into solidarity in the Body of Christ, the “communion of saints.”164

2851 In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God. The devil (dia-bolos) is the one who “throws himself across” God’s plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ.

2852 “A murderer from the beginning, . . . a liar and the father of lies,” Satan is “the deceiver of the whole world.”165 Through him sin and death entered the world and by his definitive defeat all creation will be “freed from the corruption of sin and death.”166 Now “we know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.”167

The Lord who has taken away your sin and pardoned your faults also protects you and keeps you from the wiles of your adversary the devil, so that the enemy, who is accustomed to leading into sin, may not surprise you. One who entrusts himself to God does not dread the devil. “If God is for us, who is against us?”168

2853 Victory over the “prince of this world”169 was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is “cast out.”170 “He pursued the woman”171 but had no hold on her: the new Eve, “full of grace” of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring.”172 Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: “Come, Lord Jesus,”173 since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.

2854 When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ’s return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has “the keys of Death and Hades,” who “is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”174

Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.175
CCC 56-64, 220, 715, 762, 1965

The history of the covenants

The Covenant with Noah

56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. The covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the “nations”, in other words, towards men grouped “in their lands, each with [its] own language, by their families, in their nations”.9

57 This state of division into many nations is at once cosmic, social and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity10 united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel.11 But, because of sin, both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism.12

58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel.13 The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchisedek – a figure of Christ – and the upright “Noah, Daniel, and Job”.14 Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad”.15

God chooses Abraham

59 In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country, his kindred and his father’s house,16 and makes him Abraham, that is, “the father of a multitude of nations”. “In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”17

60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church.18 They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe.19

61 The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church’s liturgical traditions.

God forms his people Israel

62 After the patriarchs, God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt. He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and, through Moses, gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God, the provident Father and just judge, and so that they would look for the promised Savior.20

63 Israel is the priestly people of God, “called by the name of the LORD”, and “the first to hear the word of God”,21 the people of “elder brethren” in the faith of Abraham.

64 Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts.22 The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations.23 Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel’s salvation. The purest figure among them is Mary.24


God is Love

218 In the course of its history, Israel was able to discover that God had only one reason to reveal himself to them, a single motive for choosing them from among all peoples as his special possession: his sheer gratuitous love.38 And thanks to the prophets Israel understood that it was again out of love that God never stopped saving them and pardoning their unfaithfulness and sins.39

219 God’s love for Israel is compared to a father’s love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a mother’s for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will extend to his most precious gift: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”40

220 God’s love is “everlasting”:41 “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.”42 Through Jeremiah, God declares to his people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”43

221 But St. John goes even further when he affirms that “God is love”:44 God’s very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret:45 God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.


Expectation of the Messiah and his Spirit

711 “Behold, I am doing a new thing.”78 Two prophetic lines were to develop, one leading to the expectation of the Messiah, the other pointing to the announcement of a new Spirit. They converge in the small Remnant, the people of the poor, who await in hope the “consolation of Israel” and “the redemption of Jerusalem.”79

We have seen earlier how Jesus fulfills the prophecies concerning himself. We limit ourselves here to those in which the relationship of the Messiah and his Spirit appears more clearly.

712 The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the “Book of Emmanuel” (“Isaiah said this when he saw his glory,”80 speaking of Christ), especially in the first two verses of Isaiah 11:

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.81

713 The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant songs.”82 These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our “form as slave.”83 Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.

714 This is why Christ inaugurates the proclamation of the Good News by making his own the following passage from Isaiah:84

The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good tidings to the afflicted;
he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.

715 The prophetic texts that directly concern the sending of the Holy Spirit are oracles by which God speaks to the heart of his people in the language of the promise, with the accents of “love and fidelity.”85 St. Peter will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost.86 According to these promises, at the “end time” the Lord’s Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.

716 The People of the “poor”87 – those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God’s mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah – are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit’s hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ’s coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready “a people prepared for the Lord.”88


The Church – prepared for in the Old Covenant

761 The gathering together of the People of God began at the moment when sin destroyed the communion of men with God, and that of men among themselves. The gathering together of the Church is, as it were, God’s reaction to the chaos provoked by sin. This reunification is achieved secretly in the heart of all peoples: “In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable” to God.156

762 The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people.157 Its immediate preparation begins with Israel’s election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of all nations.158 But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. “Christ instituted this New Covenant.”159


THE NEW LAW OR THE LAW OF THE GOSPEL

1965 The New Law or the Law of the Gospel is the perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed. It is the work of Christ and is expressed particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit and through him it becomes the interior law of charity: “I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel. . . . I will put my laws into their hands, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”19

1966 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit given to the faithful through faith in Christ. It works through charity; it uses the Sermon on the Mount to teach us what must be done and makes use of the sacraments to give us the grace to do it:

If anyone should meditate with devotion and perspicacity on the sermon our Lord gave on the mount, as we read in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, he will 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 enemies 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

The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “new commandment” 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 from my 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 evangelical counsels. The traditional distinction between God’s commandments 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 counsels is to remove whatever might hinder the development of charity, 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:

[God] does not want each person to keep all the counsels, but only those appropriate to the diversity of persons, times, opportunities, and strengths, as charity requires; for it is charity, as queen of all virtues, all commandments, all counsels, and, in short, of all laws and all Christian actions that gives to all of them their rank, order, time, and value.33
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About TeamRCIA

TeamRCIA.com is a FREE online resource for Catholic parishes and dioceses that want to form Christians for life.

  • They provide accessible and relevant resources through articles and conversations initiated by four national leaders in the United States church, who have been serving in RCIA ministry for more than two decades. We invite you to join the conversation by clicking on the comments link on any blog post.
  • They offer a variety of online and in-person training for church ministers and volunteers, through webinars, e-mail courses, downloads, discussion forums, and training events led by experts in the field of initiation ministry.
  • They make the best printed resources available to RCIA ministers and pastoral leaders and publish original material that helps ministers serve the mission of the church.

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