5.2. The Holy Spirit and the New Law of Freedom
110. Jesus Christ is not only an ethical model to imitate, but with His mystery and in His paschal mystery, He is the Savior that gives to men the real possibility of carrying out the law of love. In fact, the paschal mystery culminates in the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love common to the Father and to the Son, that unites the disciples amongst themselves, to Christ, and finally to the Father. "Since the love of God was poured in our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit" (Rom 5:5), the Holy Spirit becomes the inner principle and the supreme rule of the acts of the believer. They fulfill spontaneously and in just manner all the requirements of love. "Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). Thus is completed the promise: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit with you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My commandments" (Ez. 36:26-27).(101)
111. The grace of the Holy Spirit constitutes the main element of the new Law or the Law of the Gospel.(102) The preaching of the Church, the celebration of the sacraments, the dispositions taken from the Church to favor among her members the development of the life in the Spirit: all are directed to the personal growth of every believer in the sanctity of love. With the new Law, which it is essentially an internal law, "the perfect law, the law of the freedom" (James 1:25), the desire of autonomy and of freedom in truth that is present in the heart of man reaches here the most perfect realization. From the most intimate of the person, where Christ is present and where the Spirit transforms, is born one’s moral acts.(103). But this freedom is at the service of love: "For you were called to freedom, brothers; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Gal 5:13).
112. The new Law of the Gospel includes, takes on, and carries to completion the requirements of the natural law. The orientations of the natural law are not therefore norms external in respect to the new Law. They are a constituent part of it, even if secondary and ordered to the main element, that is, the grace of Christ.(104) So it is through the light of enlightened reason now illuminated by a live faith that man recognizes better the orientations of the natural law, which indicate to him the way to the full development of his humanity. Thus it is that the natural law, on the one hand, maintains "a fundamental connection with the new law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus and, on the other hand, offers an ample base for dialogue with persons of other orientations or of other formations, in view of the search for the common good."(105)
(101) Cf. also Jer. 31:33-34
(102) Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, Ia-IIae, q. 106, art. 1: " Now that which is preponderant in the law of the New Testament, and whereon all its efficacy is based, is the grace of the Holy Ghost, which is given through faith in Christi. Consequently the New Law is chiefly the grace itself of the Holy Ghost, which is given to those who believe in Christi. (Id autem quod est potissimum in lege novi testamenti, et in quo tota virtus eius consistit, est gratia Spiritus sancti, quae datur per fidem Christi. Et ideo principaliter lex nova est ipsa gratia Spiritus sancti, quae datur Christi fidelibus)".
(103) Cf. ibid, Ia-IIae, q. 108, art. 1, ad 2: "Since then the grace of the Holy Ghost is like an interior habit bestowed on us and inclining us to act aright, it makes us do freely those things that are becoming to grace, and shun what is opposed to it. Accordingly the New Law is called the law of liberty in two respects. First, because it does not bind us to do or avoid certain things, except such as are of themselves necessary or opposed to salvation, and come under the prescription or prohibition of the law. Secondly, because it also makes us comply freely with these precepts and prohibitions, inasmuch as we do so through the promptings of grace. It is for these two reasons that the New Law is called "the law of perfect liberty" (James 1:25). (Quia igitur gratia Spiritus sancti est sicut habitus nobis infusus inclinans nos ad recte operandum, facit nos libere operari ea quae conveniunt gratiae, et vitare ea quae gratiae repugnant. Sic igitur lex nova dicitur lex libertatis dupliciter. Uno modo, quia non arctat nos ad facienda vel vitanda aliqua, nisi quae de se sunt vel necessaria vel repugnantia saluti, quae cadunt sub praecepto vel prohibitione legis. Secundo, quia huiusmodi etiam praecepta vel prohibitiones facit nos libere implere, inquantum ex interiori instinctu gratiae ea implemus. Et propter haec duo lex nova dicitur lex perfectae libertatis, Iac 1:25)
(104) Id., Quodlibeta, IV, q. 8, to. 2: "The new law, law of liberty and constitute of the moral precepts of the natural law, from the articles of belief and from the sacraments of grace (Lex nova, quae est lex libertatis [...] est contenta praeceptis moralibus naturalis legis, et articulis fidei, et sacramentis gratiae)".
(105) John Paul II, Speech of January 18, 2002, in AAS 94 (2002) 334.