Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The MJoral Law

    The moral law is the work of divine Wisdom.  Its biblical meaning can be defined as fatherly instruction, God's pedagogy.  It prescribes for man the ways, the rules of conduct that lead to the promised beatitude; it proscribes the ways of evil which turn him away from God and his love.  It is at once firm in its precepts and, in its promises, worthy of love.

    Law is a rule of conduct enacted by competent authority for the sake of the common good.  The moral law presupposes the rational order, established among creatures for their good and to serve their final end, by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator.  All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal law.   Law is declared and established by reason as a participation in the providence of the living God, Creator and Redeemer of all.  "Such an ordinance of reason is what one calls law."...

    There are different expressions of the moral law, all of them interrelated:  eternal law -- the source, in God, of all law; natural law; revealed law, comprising the Old Law and the New Law, or Law of the Gospel; finally, civil and ecclesiastical laws.

    The moral law finds its fullness and its unity in Christ.  Jesus Christ is in person the way of perfection.  He is the end of the law, for only he teaches and bestows the justice of God; "For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified."

                    -- Catechism of the Catholic Church
                        paragraphs 1950-1953

    God of all goodness, grant us to desire ardently,
    to seek wisely, to know surely, to accomplish perfectly
    your holy will for the glory of your name.
                    -- Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

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