Map of Life - Lesson 9


Map of Life: Chp 9 Law & Sin

Map of Life: Contents
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Ite Missa Est: 2021 Jul-Aug,  Freedom according to liberals and saints


Law & Sin

  1. Recap:

    Introduction: Just as we need a geographical map to know where we are, and how to get to where we want to go in the world, we also need a map of life to know where we are in relation to everything else in life, and how to get to our ultimate goal in life. This map of life is given to us by God through Divine Revelation which is preserved, interpreted and transmitted through the Catholic Church.

    Chapter 1:  Just as we must have faith in the geographical map-maker at the start of a journey, we must have faith in life's map-maker at the start of our journey through life. The map of life tells us

          (a) what man is (a creature composed of body and soul, in the image and likeness of God by the possession of an intellect and a will),

          (b) where he is destined (his finality: supernatural union with God).

    Chapter 2:  We also need an law of life so that we might attain the goal indicated on the map of life. This law comprises the physical law (for all material creatures) and the spiritual law (for intelligent creatures). Some spiritual laws are natural to man (eg. the ten commandments), some are divinely revealed in Scripture or Tradition (e.g. the laws of the sacraments). Some spiritual laws form the basis of man-made laws such as canon laws or civil laws. 

    Chapter 3: The "X" that marks the spot on the map of life is heaven, where our highest faculties (intellect and will) are perfected by a perfect knowledge and love of God, which is only possible with supernatural grace (also called supernatural life, sanctifyfing grace and habitual grace).

    Chapter 4: Adam was created with the means of attaining heaven, but lost supernatural grace, virtues and gifts when he committed the sin of disobedience. It was the first sin of the first man and condemned humanity to a fallen state whereby every man was henceforth conceived in the state of Original Sin. The map of life became blurred to humanity, the path was either lost or impassible, and "X" was unattainable without supernatural help.

    Chapter 5: God then entered into His creation so that man might (a) know the truth about God, and (b) know the law by which he might attain God, and (c) be sanctified by the supernatural life necessary for union with God. He enacted the objective redemption by which the gates of heaven were opened once again.

    Chapter 6: The Catholic Church was founded by Christ to continue His mission after he had ascended into heaven. It's mission is to teach the truth, uphold the law (both natural and divine), and sanctify souls by the sacraments. Like a living being comprising body and soul, the Church has physical body which is its human hierarchy of members on earth, and a spiritual soul which is the Mystical Body of Christ (or some say that the soul of the Church is the Holy Ghost, but this is a matter of attribution). A soul must be a spiritually living member of the Church to benefit from the Redemptive work of Christ.

    Chapter 7: Christ established the Church to teach, govern and sanctify. In its teaching office it teaches with God's authority and has the protection of God so that it will never teach error. We say that the Church teaches infallibly. The official teaching of the Church is expressed in official documents which are known as Acts of the Magisterium. A Catholic assents to the truth of the Teaching Church, not because he agrees, or it seems reasonable, but because it is backed by the authority of God.

    Chapter 8: In the Church's teachings there are many mysteries which are truths about which we cannot know everything. This is because God cannot be entirely known by the finite intelligence of creatures. God reveals mysteries about Himself so that we may know Him better by discovering all the knowable truth in each mystery. The greatest mystery revealed by God is the mystery of the Blessed Trinity by which we may discern the three Persons of the Godhead eternally knowing and loving each other.

  2. God's Law

    God summarised the duty of man in two phrases: "Love God," and "Love thy neighbour as thyself." It is a condition of supernatural life and is realised by living according to God's will, which is expressed by His laws: "If you love Me, keep My commandements."

  3. Where is God's law to be found?

    God's law (the moral law) is to be found:

    - written in his heart to some degree,

    - it is deduced by reason to a further degree,

    - it also revealed to man by God.

    The moral law is written into man's heart to some extent by nature, but man requires instruction to possess it sufficiently to achieve his natural perfection (especially since judgement is distorted by sin).

    The law pertaining to his supernatural end, is not to be found in nature and is not deducible by reason, and so must be entirely revealed by God and then taught to man. This is done by the Church, which alone can teach with authority on these things because it teaches with the authority of God.

    See Life's Laws

  4. Conscience

    Conscience: Iudicium rationis practicae circa moralitatem actionum.

    Conscience is not a faculty or a power, but the judgement of practical act here and now against the moral law. This act of judgement, because it touches upon self, can move the passions to fear, hope, happiness, remorse or other feeling.

    The conscience is not hindered or distorted when a soul is correctly instructed by the natural and supernatural moral law; it is simply perfected: moral judgement is perfected when the law is known just as philosophising is perfected when truth is known.

  5. Sin

    Sin is an offence against the law of God. There are two divisions of sin:

    - Sin is divided into Original Sin (committed by Adam and transmitted to all his progeny) or actual sin (committed by the individual).

    - Actual sin is divided into mortal sin (a grave offence against the law of God which turns man from his supernatural end) and venial sin (an offence against the law of God which hinders man in the pursuit of his supernatural end, but does not turn him away from that end).

  6. Law and Freedom

    Freedom in act is choosing good (ie. choosing that which is according to God's law). Freedom in potency is being able to choose good. We can only be free if we follow God's law; the moment we break God's law, we do ourselves harm.

    See the editorial of Ite Missa Est Jul-Aug 2021.

  7. Vocation

    God's law is His will for all mankind without distinction. God also has a will for each individual in his state in life, which the individual calls his vocation. A man may have vocation to the married life, the religious life or to the priesthood.