Catechism of the Catholic Church

480 Part Three [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 coun­ sels, and, in short, of all laws and all Christian actions, that gives to all of them their rank, order, time, and value. 33 IN BRIEF 1975 According to Scripture the Law is a fatherly instruc­ tion by God which prescribes for man the ways that lead to the promised beatitude, and proscribes the ways of evil. 1976 “Law is an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by the one who is in charge of the com­ munity” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 90, 4). 1977 Christ is the end of the law (cf. Rom 10:4); only he teaches and bestows the justice of God. 1978 The natural law is a participation in God’s wisdom and goodness by man formed in the image of his Creator. It expresses the dignity of the human person and forms the basis of his fundamental rights and duties. 1979 The natural law is immutable, permanent throughout history. The rules that express it remain substantially valid. It is a necessary foundation for the erection of moral rules and civil law. 1980 The Old Law is the first stage of revealed law. Its mor­ al prescriptions are summed up in the Ten Commandments. 1981 The Law of Moses contains many truths naturally accessible to reason. God has revealed them because men did not read them in their hearts. 1982 The Old Law is a preparation for the Gospel. 1983 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit received by faith in Christ, operating through charity. It finds ex­ pression above all in the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount and uses the sacraments to communicate grace to us. 33 St. Francis de Sales, Love of God 8, 6.