Catechism of the Catholic Church

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