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108. The Content of the New Law

1. One who lives by the New Law of grace must show a lifeof worthy deeds. Hence the New Law legislates for external acts aswell as for internal acts and virtues. Grace is imparted by certainexternal and sensible signs, and grace in the soul shows forth insuitable external conduct.

2. The external signs and producers of grace are the sevensacraments: baptism, confirmation, penance, Holy Eucharist, extremeunction, order, matrimony. The sacraments are, in their order,necessary and sufficient for the sanctifying and saving of men. Theproper use of grace gained by the sacraments is indicated in theeternal moral precepts.

3. The New Law directs man's interior acts byprohibiting evil thoughts and desires, and by directing man'sintention towards his external good; it forbids rash judgments; itteaches prayer and watchfulness.

4. The New Law also proposes the counsels bywhich a man may the more speedily attain perfection. These are thecounsels of poverty, chastity, obedience. By following thecounsels, man surrenders lawful but distracting things, and iswholly concerned with the things of God and his eternal salvation.The counsels enable a man to counteract, powerfully and directly,the evil influences found in the world: poverty counteracts theconcupiscence of the eyes, chastity counteracts the concupiscenceof the flesh, obedience counteracts the pride of life.

"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"God speaks to us without ceasing by his good inspirations."
The Cure D'Ars

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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