ourselves towards our brothers and sisters” as one
of the two great commandments which ground
every moral norm and as the clearest sign for
discerning spiritual growth in response to God’s
completely free gift. For this reason, “the service
of charity is also a constituent element of the
Church’s mission and an indispensable expres-
sion of her very being”.
By her very nature the
Church is missionary; she abounds in effective
charity and a compassion which understands, as-
sists and promotes.
The kingdom and its challenge
180. Reading the Scriptures also makes it clear
that the Gospel is not merely about our personal
relationship with God. Nor should our loving re-
sponse to God be seen simply as an accumulation
of small personal gestures to individuals in need,
a kind of “charity à la carte”, or a series of acts
aimed solely at easing our conscience. The Gos-
pel is about the kingdom of God (cf.
it is about loving God who reigns in our world.
To the extent that he reigns within us, the life of
society will be a setting for universal fraternity,
justice, peace and dignity. Both Christian preach-
ing and life, then, are meant to have an impact on
society. We are seeking God’s kingdom: “Seek
first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and
all these things will be given to you as well” (
XVI, Motu Proprio
Intima Ecclesiae Natura
(11 November 2012): AAS 104 (2012), 996.
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