In the Introduction to this series, we listed the Five Ignored Gifts for our Transformation: The Divine Law Fulfilled, The Church, The Intercessions of the Saints, The Indwelling of the Holy Trinity, and The Eucharist. These Sacramentals are made possible only because the Holy Trinity became fully human over 2,000 years ago.
The goal for each of these five Sacramentals is to transform us, not as a one-time-thing, but as a necessity for our lifetime attention, every day, never-ending.
The evidence of our experience plainly shows that when we call upon these Sacramentals, which God provides out of infinite love for us, our transformations are immensely simpler and more swift. We can see the stories unfold in our friends, family, and even novels.
The first Sacramental discussed here is the Divine Law Fulfilled. The Divine Law focuses us on the purpose God embedded in our souls, which is to become holy and love God. The Divine Law directs us away from false distractions and evil, as He revealed in the Old Testament for the Chosen People, and as He fulfilled and extended forever in the New Testament for humanity.
This holy Gift, this Sacramental, the Divine Law Fulfilled, shares the same ten characteristics with the other four Sacramentals:
1. The Incarnation of God incites and illuminates this Sacramental for us. Only the human birth, life, and death of the second person of the Trinity originates this Gift for us.
As Jesus says in the Gospel according to Matthew, “I am not come to destroy [the Law], but to fulfill.” The Catechism of the Council of Trent1: “It is most certain that we are not bound to obey the Commandments because they were delivered by Moses, but because they are implanted in the hearts of all, and have been explained and confirmed by Christ our Lord.”
2. The Holy Trinity designed this Sacramental to guide, and be invoked in, our brief mortal lives. And it leads to the Beatific Vision afterward.
3. This Sacramental is universal to all Christians, although one of the devotions for this Sacramental listed here, Confession, is Catholic. But the Catholic Church uniquely accentuates this Sacramental.
We share a bond with other Christians churches, with the centuries-old, consistent and unchanging interpretation of the Divine Law and its fulfillment in the teachings of Christ.
4. The Christian world is ignoring this Sacramental, more and more, every generation.
A few examples of surveys exhibiting the loss of the Divine Law in our culture:
The next group of three characteristics point to how we know these Gifts: by revelation and faith.
5. We can understand the basis of this Sacramental from Scripture and Tradition. See the end of this article for a more complete set of passages. Remember to take each passage as a starting point for the Magisterium, an entire library of concurring truths.
6. We can recall this Sacramental, anytime, anywhere, by using Scripture we already know by heart:
- Paternoster: “Lead us not into temptation” [Suffer us not to be overcome by temptation]
- Beatitude: “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God”
7. We can invoke and build upon this Sacramental by using these two particular daily devotions:
- Examination of Conscience – Find one based on the 10 Commandments or the Seven Deadly Sins. Here is one example. Simply read them and remember how well you have followed the Divine Law, in the past and on that very day, and thus how you have loved God. “His will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.” (Psalms 1:2) Ask for God’s mercy then. Most important, allow it to move you to action - how will your actions and thoughts be different the next day?
- Confession – While only available to Catholics, and not a daily devotion, its use monthly or more is critical to removing the stain of mortal sin.
The final group of three characteristics point to the fears that the Gifts help us overcome, and the consequences of failing to accept these Gifts and caving in to fear.
8. This Sacramental helps overcome widespread, but distracting and pointless, human fears.
Primary here is the fear of missing out on the so-called pleasures of life, which sidetrack us, not only into explicit sinful acts, but also away from what we should be focused on. As the Beatitude implies, the focus on these pleasures draws us away from seeing the face of God. The Divine Law guides us to holiness, the boundaries within which we live a truly good and emotionally happy life is lived. This is the guide actually written by God upon our hearts. In fact, theologians, such as St. Thomas Aquinas and C.S. Lewis, often use this inner moral compass, the designed moral standard or perfection, as a proof for the existence of God. Above all, following this moral compass, which is the Divine Law, is how we love God.
9. That fear or distraction often heavily associates with a particular modern temptation, which we often use to sinfully defeat that fear.
To overcome this sinful and vain fear of missing out is the temptation to overtly violate divine law in sin: fornication, excessive drug or alcohol use, abortion, cursing, lying, calumny, cheating, stealing, anger and hatred over legal rights being denied, etc.
10. That sinful alternative illustrates a battle between a unique theology of Catholic Christianity versus a heresy held by other “religions.”
The errors and heresies invoked here are materialism and hedonism, all stemming from the religion of Modernism. In short, those who succumb to these temptations will, consciously and unconsciously, justify the sins by raising material reality over the supernatural supremacy of the Holy Trinity. This continuing to justify and elevate Modernism opens to the door to further and further separation from God.
But this search to gain the pleasures of the physical world, to eliminate the fear of not experiencing them, is unnecessary. Knowing that God authored the Divine Law to enable us to best live happily and to love Him, is all we need.
To summarize this Sacramental and its importance to each of our transformations, I’ll use the account given in my novel, Virtual Eternity: An Epic 90s-Retro Florida Techno Pro-Life Love Story and Conversion Journey, as spoken by Dante, the main character’s guide when he reaches heaven:
“Humans are besieged by many more distractions, such as the fear of losing the pleasures of the flesh and the world. This distraction concerns unrealistic and fake needs for the sexual, for food, and for enraging legal rights. These fears are caused by the sins of lust, sloth, gluttony, anger, and pride.
“They who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. (Luke 8:14) 2
“And the devil and its world seduce you all on how to overcome these many fears, such as using the mistaken notion that you should satisfy yourself with comforts, pleasures, and self-independent privileges and rights, so you all can pretend such sinful and distracting ambitions are within reach.
“You do not need these sinful lies. Instead, follow the divine law and natural law that God wrote on your hearts, avoiding the deceptive, counterfeit needs of the world, by God’s grace.
“After those days, saith the Lord: I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33) 2
“Thus, the Holy Trinity desires you to know that the divine law and natural law, which began centuries ago in the Ten Commandments and are fulfilled by the Son of God, Christ Jesus, exist for you, to help you focus on what is holy.
“If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. (John 14:23) 2
“The Holy Trinity draws you away from the distractions of the flesh, food, comfort, the demands about rights, and other pleasures. The soul is eternal, concerned with knowing and choosing God’s eternal design for humans.
“That is why those who are clean of heart are blessed, and shall see God.
“…The Holy Trinity provides the divine law and natural law, that which demands obedience to Its omnipotence, and human thought and behavior that is in accord with God’s will and the natural perfect essence of humans, so that individuals can use their soul to converge on holiness.”
Scripture and Tradition
The Old Law
The Holy Bible 2
 And the Lord spoke all these words:  I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.  Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth.  Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me:  And shewing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and keep my commandments.
 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God in vain.
 Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day.
 Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be longlived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee.
 Thou shalt not kill.
 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
 Thou shalt not steal.
 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.
 And all the people saw the voices and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking: and being terrified and struck with fear, they stood afar off,  Saying to Moses: Speak thou to us, and we will hear: let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die.  And Moses said to the people: Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that the dread of him might be in you, and you should not sin.
 Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence.  But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566) 1
The Decalogue: God Is the Giver of The Commandments
Now among all the motives which induce men to obey this law the strongest is that God is its author. True, it is said to have been delivered by angels, but no one can doubt that its author is God. This is most clear not only from the words of the Legislator Himself, which we shall shortly explain, but also from innumerable other passages of Scripture that will readily occur to pastors. Who is not conscious that a law is inscribed on his heart by God, teaching him to distinguish good from evil, vice from virtue, justice from injustice? The force and import of this unwritten law do not conflict with that which is written. Who is there, then, who will dare to deny that God is the author of the written, as He is of the unwritten law?
The Decalogue: The Observance of The Commandments Is Attended by Many Blessings
In our observance of the law, however, we should not act so much for our own advantage as for the sake of God who, by means of the law, has revealed His will to man. If other creatures are obedient to God's will, how much more reasonable that man should follow it?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1995) 3
1958 The natural law is immutable and permanent throughout the variations of history; it subsists under the flux of ideas and customs and supports their progress. The rules that express it remain substantially valid. Even when it is rejected in its very principles, it cannot be destroyed or removed from the heart of man. It always rises again in the life of individuals and societies:
1959 The natural law, the Creator's very good work, provides the solid foundation on which man can build the structure of moral rules to guide his choices.
1960 The precepts of natural law are not perceived by everyone clearly and immediately. In the present situation sinful man needs grace and revelation so moral and religious truths may be known "by everyone with facility, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error." The natural law provides revealed law and grace with a foundation prepared by God and in accordance with the work of the Spirit.
1962 The Old Law is the first stage of revealed Law. Its moral prescriptions are summed up in the Ten Commandments. The precepts of the Decalogue lay the foundations for the vocation of man fashioned in the image of God; they prohibit what is contrary to the love of God and neighbor and prescribe what is essential to it. The Decalogue is a light offered to the conscience of every man to make God's call and ways known to him and to protect him against evil: God wrote on the tables of the Law what men did not read in their hearts.
The New Law
The Holy Bible 2
 Behold the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda:  Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: the covenant which they made void, and I had dominion over them, saith the Lord.  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  Judas saith to him, not the Iscariot: Lord, how is it, that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not to the world?  Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard, is not mine; but the Father's who sent me.  These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you.
 Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.  He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven...
 You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery.  But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.  And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell.  And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell.  And it hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce.  But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.
 Who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing, or also defending one another.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566) 1
The Decalogue: God Is the Giver of The Commandments
But, lest the people, aware of the abrogation of the Mosaic Law, may imagine that the precepts of the Decalogue are no longer obligatory, it should be taught that when God gave the Law to Moses, He did not so much establish a new code, as render more luminous that divine light which the depraved morals and long-continued perversity of man had at that time almost obscured. It is most certain that we are not bound to obey the Commandments because they were delivered by Moses, but because they are implanted in the hearts of all, and have been explained and confirmed by Christ our Lord.
The Decalogue: Other Sins Against Chastity Are Forbidden
But that every species of immodesty and impurity are included in this prohibition of adultery, is proved by the testimonies of St. Augustine and St. Ambrose; and that such is the meaning of the Commandment is borne out by the Old, as well as the New Testament. In the writings of Moses, besides adultery, other sins against chastity are said to have been punished. Thus the book of Genesis records the judgment of Judah against his daughter-in-law. In Deuteronomy is found the excellent law of Moses, that there should be no harlot amongst the daughters of Israel. Take heed to keep thyself, my son, from all fornication, is the exhortation of Tobias to his son; and in Ecclesiasticus we read: Be ashamed of looking upon a harlot.
In the Gospel, too, Christ the Lord says: From the heart come forth adulteries and fornications, which defile a man. The Apostle Paul expresses his detestation of this crime frequently, and in the strongest terms: This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication; Fly fornication; Keep not company with fornicators; Fornication, and an uncleanness and covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you; "Neither fornicators nor adulterers, nor the effeminate nor sodomites shall possess the kingdom of God.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1995) 3
1983 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit received by faith in Christ, operating through charity. It finds expression above all in the Lord's Sermon on the Mount and uses the sacraments to communicate grace to us.
1984 The Law of the Gospel fulfills and surpasses the Old Law and brings it to perfection: its promises, through the Beatitudes of the Kingdom of heaven; its commandments, by reforming the heart, the root of human acts.
1. The Catechism of the Council of Trent, (J.A McHugh, O.P., and C.J. Callan, Trans.), 1923, Middletown, DE [Original 1566]
2. The Holy Bible, Douay-Rheims Version, 2009, Saint Benedict Press [Original published 1582-1609]
3. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1995, Doubleday