The next turning to God is that which merits beatitude; and for this there is required habitual grace , which is the principle of merit. The third conversion is that whereby a man disposes himself so that he may have grace ; for this no habitual grace is required; but the operation of God , Who draws the soul towards Himself, according to Lamentations : "Convert us, O Lord, to Thee, and we shall be converted.
Article 3. Whether the angels were created in grace? It would seem that the angels were not created in grace. For Augustine says Gen. Therefore they were not created in grace. Further, grace turns the rational creature towards God. If, therefore, the angel had been created in grace , no angel would ever have turned away from God. Further, grace comes midway between nature and glory. But the angels were not beatified in their creation. Therefore it seems that they were not created in grace ; but that they were first created in nature only, and then received grace , and that last of all they were beatified.
On the contrary, Augustine says De Civ. Dei xii, 9 , "Who wrought the good will of the angels? Who, save Him Who created them with His will , that is, with the pure love wherewith they cling to Him; at the same time building up their nature and bestowing grace on them? For we see that all things which, in the process of time, being created by the work of Divine Providence, were produced by the operation of God , were created in the first fashioning of things according to seedlike forms, as Augustine says Gen.
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Now it is evident that sanctifying grace bears the same relation to beatitude as the seedlike form in nature does to the natural effect; hence 1 John grace is called the "seed" of God. As, then, in Augustine's opinion it is contended that the seedlike forms of all natural effects were implanted in the creature when corporeally created , so straightway from the beginning the angels were created in grace. Such absence of form in the angels can be understood either by comparison with their formation in glory ; and so the absence of formation preceded formation by priority of time.
Or else it can be understood of the formation according to grace : and so it did not precede in the order of time, but in the order of nature ; as Augustine holds with regard to the formation of corporeal things Gen. Every form inclines the subject after the mode of the subject's nature. Now it is the mode of an intellectual nature to be inclined freely towards the objects it desires.
Consequently the movement of grace does not impose necessity ; but he who has grace can fail to make use of it, and can sin. Although in the order of nature grace comes midway between nature and glory , nevertheless, in the order of time, in created nature , glory is not simultaneous with nature ; because glory is the end of the operation of nature helped by grace.
But grace stands not as the end of operation, because it is not of works, but as the principle of right operation. Therefore it was fitting for grace to be given straightway with nature.
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Article 4. Whether an angel merits his beatitude? It would seem that the angel did not merit his beatitude. For merit arises from the difficulty of the meritorious act. But the angel experienced no difficulty in acting rightly. Therefore righteous action was not meritorious for him. Further, we do not merit by merely natural operations.
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But it was quite natural for the angel to turn to God. Therefore he did not thereby merit beatitude.
Further, if a beatified angel merited his beatitude, he did so either before he had it, or else afterwards. But it was not before; because, in the opinion of many, he had no grace before whereby to merit it. Nor did he merit it afterwards, because thus he would be meriting it now; which is clearly false , because in that case a lower angel could by meriting rise up to the rank of a higher, and the distinct degrees of grace would not be permanent; which is not admissible.
Consequently the angel did not merit his beatitude. On the contrary, It is stated Apocalypse that the "measure of the angel " in that heavenly Jerusalem is "the measure of a man. I answer that, Perfect beatitude is natural only to God , because existence and beatitude are one and the same thing in Him. Beatitude, however, is not of the nature of the creature, but is its end.
Article 1. Whether the angels were created in beatitude?
Now everything attains its last end by its operation. Such operation leading to the end is either productive of the end, when such end is not beyond the power of the agent working for the end, as the healing art is productive of health; or else it is deserving of the end, when such end is beyond the capacity of the agent striving to attain it; wherefore it is looked for from another's bestowing. Now it is evident from what has gone before Articles 1 and 2 ; I and I , ultimate beatitude exceeds both the angelic and the human nature.
It remains, then, that both man and angel merited their beatitude. And if the angel was created in grace , without which there is no merit , there would be no difficulty in saying that he merited beatitude: as also, if one were to say that he had grace in any way before he had glory. But if he had no grace before entering upon beatitude, it would then have to be said that he had beatitude without merit , even as we have grace.
This, however, is quite foreign to the idea of beatitude; which conveys the notion of an end, and is the reward of virtue , as even the Philosopher says Ethic. Or else it will have to be said, as some others have maintained, that the angels merit beatitude by their present ministrations, while in beatitude.
This is quite contrary, again, to the notion of merit : since merit conveys the idea of a means to an end; while what is already in its end cannot, properly speaking, be moved towards such end; and so no one merits to produce what he already enjoys. Or else it will have to be said that one and the same act of turning to God , so far as it comes of free-will , is meritorious ; and so far as it attains the end, is the fruition of beatitude.
Even this view will not stand, because free-will is not the sufficient cause of merit ; and, consequently, an act cannot be meritorious as coming from free-will , except in so far as it is informed by grace ; but it cannot at the same time be informed by imperfect grace , which is the principle of meriting, and by perfect grace , which is the principle of enjoying. Hence it does not appear to be possible for anyone to enjoy beatitude, and at the same time to merit it.
Consequently it is better to say that the angel had grace ere he was admitted to beatitude, and that by such grace he merited beatitude. The angel's difficulty of working righteously does not come from any contrariety or hindrance of natural powers; but from the fact that the good work is beyond his natural capacity. An angel did not merit beatitude by natural movement towards God ; but by the movement of charity , which comes of grace.
The answer to the Third Objection is evident from what we have said. Article 5. Whether the angel obtained beatitude immediately after one act of merit? It would seem that the angel did not possess beatitude instantly after one act of merit. For it is more difficult for a man to do well than for an angel. But man is not rewarded at once after one act of merit.
Therefore neither was the angel. Further, an angel could act at once, and in an instant, from the very outset of his creation, for even natural bodies begin to be moved in the very instant of their creation; and if the movement of a body could be instantaneous, like operations of mind and will, it would have movement in the first instant of its generation.
Consequently, if the angel merited beatitude by one act of his will, he merited it in the first instant of his creation; and so, if their beatitude was not retarded, then the angels were in beatitude in the first instant. Further, there must be many intervals between things which are far apart. But the beatific state of the angels is very far remote from their natural condition : while merit comes midway between. Therefore the angel would have to pass through many stages of merit in order to reach beatitude. On the contrary, Man's soul and an angel are ordained alike for beatitude: consequently equality with angels is promised to the saints.
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Now the soul separated from the body, if it has merit deserving beatitude, enters at once into beatitude, unless there be some obstacle. Therefore so does an angel.
Now an angel instantly, in his first act of charity , had the merit of beatitude. Therefore, since there was no obstacle within him, he passed at once into beatitude by only one meritorious act. I answer that, The angel was beatified instantly after the first act of charity , whereby he merited beatitude. The reason whereof is because grace perfects nature according to the manner of the nature ; as every perfection is received in the subject capable of perfection, according to its mode.
Now it is proper to the angelic nature to receive its natural perfection not by passing from one stage to another; but to have it at once naturally , as was shown above Article 1 ; I and I But as the angel is of his nature inclined to natural perfection, so is he by merit inclined to glory. Hence instantly after merit the angel secured beatitude. Now the merit of beatitude in angel and man alike can be from merely one act; because man merits beatitude by every act informed by charity.
Hence it remains that an angel was beatified straightway after one act of charity. Man was not intended to secure his ultimate perfection at once, like the angel. Hence a longer way was assigned to man than to the angel for securing beatitude.
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