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God’s Salvation: Law and Grace

(CCC 1949 – 2051)


RCIA and Adult Faith Formation

North American Martyrs

Fr. Joseph Wahlmeier


  1. The Natural Moral Law


1975 According to Scripture the Law is a fatherly instruction 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 community” (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.



Different Forms of “Law”
Name Ordinance of Reason For the Common Good Promulgated By One with Care for Community
Eternal Law The Mind of God Causing creation to be and act for an end In Creation itself God as Creator
Natural Law The Mind of God To participate in God’s Creation, bringing each thing to its proper end In the Conscience By Man who cares for Creation
Divine Law The Mind of God To assist fallen man to return to his divine vocation In Scripture and Tradition God as Redeemer
Ecclesial Law The Mind of the Church To keep man connected to the Higher Laws In the life and laws of the Church By the Church
Positive Law The Mind of the City To keep man connected to the Higher Laws In the life and laws of the City By the City
Personal Law The Mind of Man To keep oneself connected to the Higher Laws In the heart of the person themselves The person themselves



Poor in Spirit

Kingdom of Heaven

I am the Lord, your God Our Father, who art in Heaven Faith

Be Comforted

Name of the Lord Hallowed be Thy Name Hope

Inherit the Land

Keep Holy the Lord’s Day Thy Kingdom Come Love
Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness…

Be Satisfied

Honor your Father and Mother Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven Obedience

Receive Mercy

Thou shall not Kill Forgive us our trespasses… Justice
Pure of Heart

See God

Thou shall not commit adultery (covet wife) Lead us not into Temptation Temperance

Children of God

Thou shall not steal

(covet goods)

Give us this day our daily bread Prudence
Persecuted for Sake of Righteousness… Kingdom of Heaven Thou shall not bear false witness Deliver us from Evil Fortitude


  1. The Old Law


1980 The Old Law is the first stage of revealed law. Its moral 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.



III. The New Law or the Law of the Gospel


1983 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit received by faith in Christ, operating through charity. It finds expression above all in the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount and uses the sacraments to communicate grace to us.


1984 The Law of the Gospel fulfills and surpasses the Old Law and brings it to perfection: its promises, through the Beatitudes of the Kingdom of heaven; its commandments, by reforming the heart, the root of human acts.


1985 The New Law is a law of love, a law of grace, a law of freedom.


1986 Besides its precepts the New Law includes the evangelical counsels. “The Church’s holiness is fostered in a special way by the manifold counsels which the Lord proposes to his disciples in the Gospel” (LG 42 # 2).




  1. Justification


2017 The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Uniting us by faith and Baptism to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us sharers in his life.


2018 Like conversion, justification has two aspects. Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, and so accepts forgiveness and righteousness from on high.


2019 Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man.


2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God’s mercy.


2021 Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons. It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life.



  1. Grace


2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.


2023 Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.


2024 Sanctifying grace makes us “pleasing to God.” Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are 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.



III. Merit


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 accordance 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.



  1. Christian Holiness


2028 “All Christians . . . are called to the fullness of Christian 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 himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24).



  1. Moral Life and the Magisterium of the Church


2047 The moral life is a spiritual worship. Christian activity finds its nourishment in the liturgy and the celebration of the sacraments.


2049 The Magisterium of the Pastors of the Church in moral matters is ordinarily exercised in catechesis and preaching, on the basis of the Decalogue which states the principles of moral life valid for every man.


2050 The Roman Pontiff and the bishops, as authentic teachers, preach to the People of God the faith which is to be believed and applied in moral life. It is also encumbent on them to pronounce on moral questions that fall within the natural law and reason.


2051 The infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed.



  1. The Precepts of the Church

The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. the obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the indispensable minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:


The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.”) requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers together on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord.


The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.


The third precept (“You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season.”) guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.


The fourth precept (“You shall keep holy the holy days of obligation.”) completes the Sunday observance by participation in the principal liturgical feasts which honor the mysteries of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints.


The fifth precept (“You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.”) ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.


The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.



III. Moral Life and Missionary Witness


2044 The fidelity of the baptized is a primordial condition for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church’s mission in the world. In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men, it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of Christians. “The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw men to the faith and to God.”


2045 Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ, Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. the Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until “we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”


2046 By living with the mind of Christ, Christians hasten the coming of the Reign of God, “a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.” They do not, for all that, abandon their earthly tasks; faithful to their master, they fulfill them with uprightness, patience, and love.




CCC 1803 – 1845


Virtues – 2 Peter 1:3-8

“His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of hima who called us by his own glory and power.

Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your

faith with virtue,

virtue with knowledge,

knowledge with self-control,

self-control with endurance,

endurance with devotion,

devotion with mutual affection,

mutual affection with love.

If these are yours and increase in abundance, they will keep you from being idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Gifts – Isaiah 11:1-2

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.

The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:

a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

A spirit of counsel and of strength,

a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.


Fruits – Galatians 5:22-23

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is

love, joy, peace,

patience, kindness, generosity,

faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Against such there is no law.



The Virtues
1833 Virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good.


1834 The human virtues are stable dispositions of the intellect and the will that govern our acts, order our passions, and guide our conduct in accordance with reason and faith. They can be grouped around the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.


1839 The moral virtues grow through education, deliberate acts, and perseverance in struggle. Divine grace purifies and elevates them.




1840 The theological virtues dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have God for their origin, their motive, and their object – God known by faith, God hoped in and loved for his own sake.



1841 There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. They inform all the moral virtues and give life to them.


Parts of the Soul Cardinal Virtues Theological Virtues
Intellect Prudence Faith
For the True disposes the practical reason to discern, in every circumstance, our true good and to choose the right means for achieving it. By faith, we believe in God and believe all that he has revealed to us and that Holy Church proposes for our belief.
Will Justice Charity
For the Intellectual Good consists in the firm and constant will to give God and neighbor their due. By charity, we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for love of God. Charity, the form of all the virtues, “binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col 3:14).
Concupiscible Passions Temperance Hope
For the Physical Good Temperance moderates the attraction of the pleasures of the senses and provides balance in the use of created goods. By hope we desire, and with steadfast trust await from God, eternal life and the graces to merit it.


Irascible Passions Fortitude
For the Difficult ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.




The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
GIFT: permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

“Although she [Wisdom/Spirit] is one, she can do all things, and she renews everything while herself perduring; Passing into holy souls from age to age, she makes them friends of God and prophets.” Wisdom 7:25-27

Fear of the Lord Piety Knowledge Fortitude Counsel Understanding Wisdom
Wonder and Awe at the Presence or Power of God

Excitement at making a new friend

Sense of belonging to God as His own possession

Also, Piety to Country and to Parents, those we can never repay

“Knowing” more about God through encountering Him

Building experiences and memories with your friend

Friendship with God being your strength through times of trial

A friendship tested through difficulty is greater than a friendship of only good times

Guiding your life by your friendship with God

Your friend becoming a bigger part of your life: who you turn to at all the most important decisions

Firm conviction of where you “stand” in God’s sight

Mutual consideration of your place in your friend’s life

Knowing as God knows, seeing as He sees, Loving as He loves: in a word, sharing the same life as God

Description of highest form of friendship: two bodies, one heart

–> Path –> to –> Friendship –> with –> God


The Fruits of the Holy Spirit
CCC 1832 FRUITS = perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory!

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God . . . If children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” Romans 8:14, 17


“For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” (Galatians 5 – “for Freedom, Christ set us Free”)

Fruits of Happiness Love Joy Peace
Steadfast attraction to God as the fulfillment of all Desire Actual delighting in God as the object of our Desire Confidence in the tranquility of the Order between us and God
Fruits of Greatness Patience Kindness Generosity
(lit. greatness of passion or to suffer well) capacity of the heart to bear hardship for others One of highest attributes of God, similar to “pour out, anoint”, describing the condescension of God who pours Himself out on those weaker than He Or Goodness, namely, in desire to share all good things with others.
Fruits of Freedom Faithfulness Gentleness Self-Control
Firmly attaching oneself to a person or cause (also, humility, meekness) relying on God and not on one’s own power or freedom (lit. the power within) freedom of soul from all external restraint, possessing wellspring of life within
…Against such there is no law.” –> St. Augustine: “Love, and do as you will!”