Francis Selman in his book, ‘Aquinas 101’ writes, “The New law for St Thomas is quite simply the grace of the Holy Spirit. The new law is the law of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit impress it on the hearts of those in whom he dwells. The Old Law was engraved on tablets of stone, but the New is written on the tablets of our hearts. The New Law is more interior than the Old, because it is implanted in us. Although it is more interior, it still contains written commandments, because these dispose is for faith, and the grace of the Holy Spirit is given to those who have faith…Moreover, Christ taught the original intentions of the Old Law. The New Law does not just indicate what is to be done but also gives us the help to keep it. What is most effective in the New law, St Thomas says, is the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is given us through faith in Christ. The New Law us also more interior, because it brings us grace under the covering of visible signs, by means of which divine power works in us in a more hidden way.”
Cantalamessa in his book, ‘Life in the Lordship of Christ’ writes, “Therefore, without the inner grace of the Spirit, the Gospel and the new commandment too would have remained an old law, a written word. St Thomas Aquinas, commenting on a daring though of St Augustine’s wrote: ‘By the letter’ is meant every written law that remains external to man, even the moral precepts contained in the Gospel. So the letter of the Gospel would also kill if the grace of healing faith were not added interiorly’ (St Thomas, S.Th, 1-11ae, q.106.a2)”
Scripture tells us the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. We need to the Grace of the Holy Spirit to be faithful to the commandments. St Augustine said, “God gave the law so that man would seek grace.” This means that we are totally unable to keep the commandments. It is when we realize this fact that we seek the Holy Spirit to enable us to do what we are incapable of doing on our own.
The Good News is that Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit and fill our hearts so that we will joyfully and faithfully keep the commandments