The Beatitudes Lead the Ten Commandments to Perfection

November 1, 2015 – Solemnity of All Saints

Today’s Gospel reading for All Saints Day came from Matthew 5:1-12, the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The following information from the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Beatitudes as a part of the “New Law” or “Law of the Gospel.” The Beatitudes enhance the Old Law, the Ten Commandments:

1967  The Law of the Gospel “fulfills,” refines, surpasses, and leads the Old Law to its perfection.

In the Beatitudes, the New Law fulfills the divine promises by elevating and orienting them toward the “kingdom of heaven.” It is addressed to those open to accepting this new hope with faith—the poor, the humble, the afflicted, the pure of heart, those persecuted on account of Christ—and so marks out the surprising ways of the Kingdom.

1968  The Law of the Gospel fulfills the commandments of the Law.

The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, far from abolishing or devaluing the moral prescriptions of the Old Law, releases their hidden potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts, where man chooses between the pure and the impure, where faith, hope, and charity are formed and with them the other virtues. The Gospel thus brings the Law to its fullness through imitation of the perfection of the heavenly Father, through forgiveness of enemies and prayer for persecutors, in emulation of the divine generosity.

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