Jun 3, 2013

Law and Grace

Pillar Focus Other

This entry touches on a section of the Catechism titled Law and Grace. It can be found just prior to the Commandments. It deals with God's law, justification, and the Church as mother and teacher. It begins as follows:
Called to beatitude [eternal happiness] but wounded by sin, man stands in need of salvation from God. Divine help comes to him in Christ through the law that guides him and the grace that sustains him.  
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." Phil 2:12-13. (CCC 1949)
God's Law

God reveals his law to us, and by his grace, helps us follow it. This law is "present in the heart of each man (CCC 1956)," but because man could not read his heart, is also "written on the tables of the law (the Commandments, CCC 1962)." It "finds expression above all in the Lord's Sermon on the Mount (CCC 1983)."

Justification 

Our salvation is made possible by Christ's death on the cross. This action of God, an entirely free and unearned gift, is what redeems us (we are forgiven our sins and admitable into heaven). Nothing else has the power to do this, we cannot "work our way to heaven" through good deeds. In Baptism, we receive this great gift and become sons and daughters of God, heirs of eternal life.

So now we're baptized, is that it? Do we just live our lives as if nothing needed to be done on our part? The Church teaches no. Now that we are children of God, we realize that we should act as such. We learn, over the course of our lives, to cooperate with the grace that God has given us (i.e. we learn to follow God's law). Prayer, the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Confession, are extremely important in this process.

Church as Mother and Teacher

When studying what the Church teaches (i.e. on the Commandments), we understand that God is who God is. His truth is one, not two or three. Our society would teach us otherwise, that truth is relative, "To each his own." This simply isn't true with regards to faith and morals. The Church, with her Christ-established Magisterium, preserves the unity of God's truth (and the unity of God's people).

Click here for the precepts (minimum requirements) of the Church.