Catechism of the Catholic Church

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