2. SUPERNATURAL BEAUTY.—Though we can quote no formal ecclesiastical definition to prove that sanctifying grace beautifies the soul, the fact is sufficiently certain from Revelation. If, as is quite generally held by Catholic exegetes, the Spouse of the Canticle typifies the human soul endowed with sanctifying grace, all the passages describing the beauty of that Spouse must be applicable to the souls of those whom Christ embraces with His tender love. The Fathers of the Church frequently extol the supernatural beauty of the soul in the state of grace. Ambrose calls it "a splendid painting made by God Himself;" Chrysostom compares it to "a statue of gold;" Cyril, to "a divine seal;" Basil, to "a shining light," and so forth. St. Thomas says: "Divine grace beautifies [the soul] like light,"(1058) and the Roman Catechism declares: "Grace ... is a certain splendor and light that effaces all the stains of our souls and renders the souls themselves brighter and more beautiful."(1059)
In defining beauty as "the representation of an idea in a sensual form," modern aesthetics has eliminated the spiritual element and in consequence is unable to appreciate the spiritual beauty of God and of the soul. Being composed of body and soul, man is naturally most impressed by beauty when it appears in a material guise. But this does not prove that there is no spiritual beauty, or that true beauty abides solely in matter. Some present-day writers strongly emphasize the need of realism as against an idealism which, they claim, is not truly human because it exalts the spiritual at the expense of the material. In its last conclusions this perverted realism harks back to the sophistry of Protagoras who held that "man is the measure of all things."(1060) Idealism, on the other hand, is based on the true Platonic doctrine that God is the measure of all things.(1061) St. Augustine defines beauty as "unity in variety," which is a correct definition, because it is adaptable to both the spiritual and the material order.(1062) Applying this definition we find that the soul is not only naturally beautiful by the substantial unity and simplicity which shines forth in the variety of its faculties and powers, but also supernaturally by virtue of sanctifying grace, which transfuses nature into a new unity with the supernatural,—at the same time producing a variety of theological and moral virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, and thus creating a true work of art. Moreover, by enabling man to participate in the Divine Nature,(1063) grace produces in the soul a physical reflection of the uncreated beauty of God, a likeness of the creature with its Creator, which far transcends the natural likeness imprinted by creation. True, only God and the Elect in Heaven perceive and enjoy this celestial beauty; but we terrestrial pilgrims can, as it were, sense it from afar and indulge the hope that we may one day be privileged to contemplate and enjoy the divine beauty that envelops the souls endowed with grace.
The beauty produced by sanctifying grace must be conceived not merely as a reflection of the absolute nature of God, who is the pattern-exemplar of all beauty, but more specifically as an image of the Trinity impressed upon the soul. St. Paul teaches that the soul is transformed into an image of the Divine Logos, to whom, as the holy Fathers tell us, beauty is appropriated in an especial manner.(1064) Cfr. Rom. VIII, 29: "Whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son."(1065) Gal. IV, 19: "My little children, of whom I am in labor again, until Christ be formed in you."(1066) In virtue of the adoptive sonship effected by grace,(1067) the soul becomes a true "temple of the Holy Ghost."(1068)
3. THE FRIENDSHIP OF GOD.—Closely connected with the beauty which sanctifying grace confers, is the supernatural friendship it establishes between God and the soul. True beauty elicits love and benevolence. By nature man is merely a servant of God; in fact, since the fall, he is His enemy. Sanctifying grace transforms this hostile relation into genuine friendship. By grace, says the Council of Trent, "man of unjust becomes just, and of an enemy a friend."(1069) And again: "Having been thus justified and made the friends and domestics of God."(1070) God loves the just man as His intimate friend and enables and impels him, by means of habitual grace and habitual charity, to reciprocate that love with all his heart. Here we have the two constituent elements of friendship. The Bible frequently speaks of friendship existing between God and the just. Cfr. Wisd. VII, 14: "They [the just] become the friends of God."(1071) John XV, 14 sq.: "I will not now call you servants, ... but I have called you friends."(1072) This friendship is sometimes compared to a mystic marriage. Cfr. Matth. IX, 15: "And Jesus said to them: Can the children of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?"(1073) Apoc. XIX, 7: "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath prepared herself."(1074)
a) Friendship (φιλία), according to Aristotle,(1075) is "the conscious love of benevolence of two persons for each other." Hence, to constitute friendship, there must be (1) two or more distinct persons; (2) pure love of benevolence (amor benevolentiae, not concupiscentiae), because only unselfish love can truly unite hearts; (3) mutual consciousness of affection, because without a consciousness of the existing relation on both sides there would be merely one-sided benevolence, not friendship. It follows that true friendship is based on virtue and that a relation not based on virtue can be called friendship in a qualified or metaphorical sense only (amicitia utilis, delectabilis).
From what we have said it is easy to deduce the essential characteristics of true friendship. They are: (1) benevolence; (2) love consciously entertained by both parties; (3) a mutual exchange of goods or community of life; (4) equality of rank or station. The first condition is based on the fact that a true friend will not seek his own interest, but that of his friend. It is to be noted, however, that one's joy at the presence or prosperity of a friend must not be inspired by selfishness or sensual desire, for in that case there would be no true friendship.(1076) The second condition is based on the necessity of friendship being mutual love, for friendship is not a one-sided affection, nor does it spend itself in mutual admiration. The third condition is necessary for the reason that love, if it is to be more than "Platonic," must result in acts of benevolence and good will.(1077) Of the fourth condition St. Jerome says: "Friendship finds men equal or makes them equal."(1078)
b) All these conditions are found in the friendship with which Almighty God deigns to honor those who are in the state of sanctifying grace.
(1) That God loves the just man with a love of pure benevolence and eagerly seeks his companionship, is proved by the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Holy Eucharist. Cfr. Prov. VIII, 31: "And my delight [is] to be with the children of men."(1079)
(2) The just man is enabled to return God's love by the habit of theological charity, which is inseparably bound up with and spontaneously flows from sanctifying grace.(1080) God's consciousness of this mutual love is, of course, based on certain knowledge, whereas man can have merely a probable conjecture. This, however, suffices to establish a true friendship, as the example of human friends shows.(1081)
(3) There is also community of life and property between God and man when the latter is in the state of sanctifying grace; for not only is he indebted to God for his very nature and all natural favors which he enjoys, but likewise and especially for the supernatural blessings bestowed upon him.(1082) On his own part, it is true, he cannot give his Benefactor anything in return which that Benefactor does not already possess; but the just man is ever eager to further God's external glorification, agreeable to the first petition of the Our Father: "Hallowed by Thy name."(1083) God has furthermore given him a kind of substitute for operative charity in the love of his neighbor, which has precisely the same formal object as the love of God. Cfr. 1 John III, 17: "He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him?"(1084)
(4) There can be no real equality between God and the human soul, but God in His infinite goodness, elevating the soul to a higher plane and allowing it to participate in His own nature,(1085) makes possible an amicitia excellentiae s. eminentiae, which is sufficient to constitute a true relation of friendship. Without this elevation of the soul by grace there could be no friendship between God and man.(1086)
4. ADOPTIVE SONSHIP.—The formal effects of sanctifying grace culminate in the elevation of man to the rank of an adopted child of God (filius Dei adoptivus), with a claim to the paternal inheritance, i.e. the beatific vision in Heaven. This truth is so clearly stated in Scripture and Tradition that its denial would be heretical. The Tridentine Council summarily describes justification as "the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God,"(1087) The teaching of Holy Scripture can be gathered from such texts as the following. Rom. VIII, 15 sqq.: "... You have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). For the spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ."(1088) 1 John III, 1 sq.: "Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God.... Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God."(1089) Gal. IV, 5: "... that we might receive the adoption of sons."(1090) That the just become the adopted sons of God follows likewise as a corollary from the doctrine of regeneration so frequently taught by Scripture. This regeneration is not a procession of the soul from the divine essence, but a kind of accidental and analogical procreation substantially identical with adoption (filiatio adoptiva, υἱοθεσία). Cfr. John I, 12 sq.: "... He gave them power to be made the sons of God, ... who are born ... of God."(1091)
a) St. Thomas defines adoption as "the gratuitous acceptance of a child of other parents to be the same as one's own child and heir."(1092) Adoption implies (1) that the adopted child be a stranger to the adopting father; (2) that it have no legal claim to adoption; (3) that it give its consent to being adopted; (4) that it be received by the adopting father with parental love and affection. All these elements are present, in a far higher and more perfect form, in the adoption of a soul by God.
(1) The rational creature, as such, is not a "son" but merely a "servant of God,"(1093) and, if he be in the state of mortal sin, His enemy.
(2) That adoption is a gratuitous favor on the part of the Almighty, follows from the fact that the adopted creature is His enemy and that grace is a free supernatural gift, to which no creature has a natural claim. Adoption furthermore implies the right of inheritance.(1094) The heritage of the children of God is a purely spiritual possession which can be enjoyed simultaneously by many, and consequently excels every natural heritage. Men, as a rule, do not distribute their property during life, while, after their death, it is usually divided up among several heirs.(1095)
(3) Whereas adoption among men owes its existence to the desire of offspring on the part of childless parents, the adoption of the soul by God springs from pure benevolence and unselfish love, and for this reason presupposes (in the case of adults) the free consent of the adopted. No one can become an adopted son of God against his will.(1096)
(4) Whereas human adoption supposes substantial equality between father and child, and therefore at best amounts to no more than a legal acceptance, adoption by God elevates the soul to a higher level by allowing it to participate in the Divine Nature, and consequently is a true (even though merely an accidental and analogical) regeneration in God.
b) From what we have said it follows—and this is a truth of considerable speculative importance—that there are essential points of difference as well as of resemblance between Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, and the justified sinner adopted by the Heavenly Father.
α) The difference between the "natural Son of God" and an "adopted son" is exactly like that between God and creature. The Logos-Son, engendered by eternal generation from the divine substance, is the true natural Son of the Father, the Second Person of the Divine Trinity, and Himself God.(1097) The just man, on the other hand, is a child of God merely by the possession of sanctifying grace,(1098) which can be lost by mortal sin and consequently is founded upon a free relation that may be terminated by man as freely as it was entered into between himself and God.
Intimately related to this distinction is another:—Christ is the Son of the Father alone, the just man is an adopted child of the whole Trinity.(1099) This fact does not, however, prevent us from "appropriating" adoptive sonship to each of the three Divine Persons according to His peculiar hypostatic character:—the Father as its author, the Son as its pattern, and the Holy Ghost as its conveyor.(1100) Now, if Christ, as the true Son of God, is the efficient cause (causa efficiens) of that adoptive sonship of which, as God, He is also the pattern-exemplar (causa exemplaris), it follows that He cannot be an adopted son of God. "Christus est incapax adoptionis," as Suarez puts it.(1101) To say that He is both the natural and an adopted Son of God would be heretical.(1102) Consequently, sanctifying grace, in Him, did not exercise one of the functions it invariably exercises in the souls of men, i.e. it did not make Him an adopted son of God.
β) It is to be noted, however, that the unique position enjoyed by our Lord gives rise, not only to essential distinctions but also to an equal number of analogies between the Only-begotten Son of God and His adopted sons. The first and most fundamental of these analogies is the attribution of the common appellation "son of God" both to Christ and to the just. Though Christ is the only true Son of God, the Heavenly Father has nevertheless charitably "bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be, the sons of God."(1103) According to John I, 13, Christ "gave power to be made the sons of God" to them "who are born ... of God." Hence divine sonship formally consists in an impression of the hypostatic likeness of the Only-begotten Son of God, by which the soul in a mysterious manner becomes an image of the Trinity, and especially of the Only-begotten Son of God, who is the archetype and pattern-exemplar of adoptive sonship. This hypostatic propriety and exemplariness was the reason why the Second Person of the Trinity became man.(1104) That the soul of the justified is transformed into "an image of the Son of God" is expressly taught by the Greek Fathers. Thus St. Cyril of Alexandria says: "Christ is truly formed in us, inasmuch as the Holy Ghost impresses on us a certain divine likeness by means of sanctity and justice.... But if any one is formed in Christ, he is formed into a child of God."(1105)
These considerations also explain the points of resemblance between the adoptive sonship of God and the Holy Eucharist. Being our Father by adoption, God is bound to provide us with food worthy of a divine progenitor. The food He gives us (the Holy Eucharist) corresponds to our dignity as His children, sustains us in this sublime relation, and at the same time constitutes the pledge of a glorious resurrection and an eternal beatitude.
c) Is the adoptive sonship of the children of God constituted entirely by sanctifying grace, or does it require for its full development the personal indwelling in the soul of the Holy Ghost?(1106) This subtle question formed the subject of an interesting controversy between Joseph Scheeben and Theodore Granderath, S. J. Father Granderath claimed on the authority of the Tridentine Council that divine sonship is an inseparable function of sanctifying grace, and through that grace alone, without the inhabitatio Spiritus Sancti, constitutes the unica causa formalis of justification. Against this theory Dr. Scheeben maintained with great acumen and, we think, successfully, that sanctifying grace of itself alone, without the aid of any other factor, not only completely justifies the sinner but raises him to the rank of an adopted son of God, though there is nothing to prevent us from holding that the indwelling of the Holy Ghost forms the climax of the process, and develops and perfects the already existing filiatio adoptiva.(1107)
Petavius had contended(1108) that the just men of the Old Testament, though in the state of sanctifying grace, were not adopted children of God, because the filiatio adoptiva is an exclusive privilege of those living under the Christian Dispensation. This theory became untenable when the Tridentine Council defined sanctity and adoptive sonship as inseparable formal effects of sanctifying grace. There can no longer be any doubt, therefore, that the patriarchs, together with sanctifying grace also enjoyed the privilege of adoptive sonship, though, as Suarez observes,(1109) adoptive sonship under the Old Covenant depended both as to origin and value upon the adoptive sonship of the New Testament, and therefore was inferior to it in both respects.(1110)
READINGS:—Scheeben, Lehrbuch der Dogmatik, Vol. II, 168 sqq., Freiburg 1878.—J. Kirschkamp, Gnade und Glorie in ihrem inneren Zusammenhang, Wuerzburg 1878.—P. Hagg, Die Reichtuemer der goettlichen Gnade und die Schwere ihres Verlustes, Ratisbon 1889.—Card. Katschthaler, De Gratia Sanctificante, 3rd ed., Salzburg 1886.—P. Einig, De Gratia Divina, Part II, Treves 1896.—Heinrich-Gutberlet, Dogmatische Theologie, Vol. VIII, pp. 575 sqq., Mainz 1897.—Scheeben, Die Herrlichkeiten der goettlichen Gnade, 8th ed., by A. M. Weiss, O. P., Freiburg 1908 (English translation, The Glories of Divine Grace, 3rd ed., New York s. a.).—Th. Bourges, O. P., L'Ordre Surnaturel et le Devoir Chretien, Paris 1901.—*B. Terrien, La Grace et la Gloire ou la Filiation Adoptive des Enfants de Dieu Etudiee dans sa Realite, ses Principes, son Perfectionnement et son Couronnement Final, 2 vols., Paris 1897.—*P. Villada, De Effectibus Formalibus Gratiae Habitualis, Valladolid 1899.—L. Hubert, De Gratia Sanctificante, Paris 1902.
Article 3. The Supernatural Concomitants Of Sanctifying Grace
Besides producing the effects described in the preceding Article, sanctifying grace also confers certain supernatural privileges, which, though not of the essence of grace, are, in the present economy at least, inseparably connected with it and may therefore be regarded as its regular concomitants.
The existence of these privileges is established by the fact that certain councils (e.g. those of Vienne and Trent), couple "grace and gifts" in their official definitions.(1111) The doctrine is clearly stated by the Roman Catechism as follows: "To this [sanctifying grace] is added a most noble accompaniment of all virtues, which are divinely infused into the soul together with grace."(1112)
We will treat of the supernatural concomitants of sanctifying grace in four theses.
*Thesis I: The three divine virtues of faith, hope, and charity are infused into the soul simultaneously with sanctifying grace.*
Some theologians (notably Suarez, Ripalda, and De Lugo) declare this thesis to be de fide, while others (Dom. Soto, Melchior Cano, and Vasquez) hold it merely as certain. Under the circumstances it will be safest to take middle ground by characterizing it as fidei proxima.
Proof. The Council of Trent teaches: "Man through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these [gifts] infused at once—faith, hope, and charity."(1113)
a) That theological charity, as a habit, is infused together with sanctifying grace can be convincingly demonstrated from Holy Scripture. Cfr. Rom. V, 5: "... the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us."(1114) In connection with charity, Holy Scripture frequently mentions faith. Cfr. 1 Cor. XIII, 2: "And if I should have ... all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."(1115) All three of the theological virtues are expressly enumerated in 1 Cor. XIII, 13: "And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity."(1116) Unlike certain other texts, the one last quoted leaves no doubt that faith, hope, and charity are to be conceived as dona inhaerentia, i.e. habits or qualities inherent in the soul. This interpretation is approved by the Fathers and Scholastics.
b) St. Thomas proves the necessity of the three theological virtues for salvation as follows: "In order that we be properly moved towards our end [God], that end must be both known and desired. Desire of an end includes two things: first, hope of attaining it, because no prudent man will aspire to that which he cannot attain; and secondly, love, because nothing is desired that is not loved. And hence there are three theological virtues,—faith, by which we know God; hope, by which we trust to obtain Him; and charity, by which we love Him."(1117)
When are the three theological virtues infused into the soul? This is an open question so far as faith and hope are concerned. Of charity we know that it is always infused with habitual grace. Suarez contends that, when the soul is properly disposed, faith and hope are infused before justification proper, that is to say, in the process leading up to it. St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure, on the other hand, hold that faith and hope, like charity, are infused at the moment when justification actually takes place in the soul. This last-mentioned opinion is favored by the Tridentine Council.(1118)
Mortal sin first destroys sanctifying grace together with the habit of charity that is inseparable from it. Faith and hope may continue to exist in the soul, and if hope, too, departs, faith may remain alone. But the loss of faith invariably entails the destruction of hope and charity.
*Thesis II: Together with sanctifying grace there are also infused the supernatural moral virtues.*
This proposition may be characterized as sententia communior et probabilior. Though denied by some theologians, it can claim a high degree of probability.(1119)
Proof. The infused moral virtues (virtutes morales infusae) differ from the theological virtues in that they have for their immediate formal object, not God Himself, but the creature in its relation to the moral law.
The moral virtues may be reduced to four, viz.: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. These are called the "cardinal" virtues; first, because they perfect the principal faculties of the soul; secondly, because all the other virtues may be scientifically deduced from them.(1120) In the supernatural order the infusion of the cardinal virtues and of the other virtues subordinate to them has for its object the government of intellect and will in their relation towards created things and the guidance of these faculties to their supernatural end.
a) The existence of supernaturally infused moral virtues is intimated in Wis. VIII, 7: "And if a man love justice: her labors have great virtues; for she teacheth temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life."(1121) The teacher of the three cardinal virtues here mentioned is "Divine Wisdom," i.e. God Himself, and we may assume that He inculcates them by the same method which He employs in infusing the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
Another relevant text is Ezechiel XI, 19 sq.: "... and I will take away the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my commandments, and keep my judgments."(1122) Here Yahweh promises to give the just men of the New Covenant a "heart of flesh" as opposed to the "stony heart" of the Jews. The meaning evidently is that a disposition to do good will be a characteristic of the New Testament Christians in contradistinction to the hardhearted Old Testament Jews. He who has a "heart of flesh" will walk in God's commandments and keep His judgments. Hence "heart" signifies the sum-total of all those habits which impel and enable a man to lead a good life. Since it is God Himself who gives the "heart of flesh," i.e. the moral virtues, it follows that they are supernaturally infused.(1123)
b) Some of the Fathers ascribe the moral virtues directly to divine infusion.
Thus St. Augustine observes that the cardinal virtues "are given to us through the grace of God."(1124) And St. Gregory the Great says that the Holy Ghost does "not desert the hearts of those who are perfect in faith, hope, and charity, and in those other goods without which no man can attain to the heavenly fatherland."(1125) St. Thomas shows the theological reason for this by pointing to the parallel that exists between nature and the supernatural. "Effects," he says, "must always be proportionate to their causes and principles. Now all virtues, intellectual and moral, which we acquire by our acts, proceed from certain natural principles preexisting in us.... In lieu of these natural principles God confers on us the theological virtues, by which we are directed to a supernatural end.... Hence there must correspond to these theological virtues, proportionally, other habits caused in us by God, and which bear the same relation to the theological virtues that the moral and intellectual virtues bear to the natural principles of virtue."(1126)
*Thesis III: The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are also infused with sanctifying grace.*
This proposition may be qualified as "probabilis."
Proof. The Church's teaching with regard to the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost is based on Isaias XI, 2 sq.: "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord." Four of these supernatural gifts (wisdom, understanding, counsel, and knowledge) perfect the intellect in matters pertaining to salvation, while the remaining three (fortitude, godliness, and the fear of the Lord) direct the will to its supernatural end. Are these seven gifts, (or some of them), really distinct from the infused moral virtues? Are they habits or habitual dispositions, or merely transient impulses or inspirations? What are their mutual relations and how can they be divided off from one another? These and similar questions are in dispute among theologians. The prevailing opinion is that the gifts of the Holy Ghost are infused habitual dispositions, realiter distinct from the theological and moral virtues, by which the soul is endowed with a supernatural capacity for receiving the inspirations of the Holy Ghost and a supernatural readiness to obey His impulses in all important matters pertaining to salvation.(1127)
That the gifts of the Holy Ghost are infused into the soul simultaneously with sanctifying grace, can be demonstrated as follows: Christ, as the mystical head, is the pattern of justification for the members of His spiritual body, who are united to Him by sanctifying grace.(1128) Now the Holy Ghost dwelled in Christ with all His gifts as permanent habits.(1129) Consequently, these gifts are imparted by infusion to those who receive the grace of justification. This is manifestly the belief of the Church, for she prays in the "Veni Sancte Spiritus":
"Shed upon thy faithful fold, By unbounded hope controlled, Thy seven gifts."(1130)
*Thesis IV: The process of justification reaches its climax in the personal indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul of the just.*
This thesis embodies what is technically called a propositio certa.
Proof. There are two ways in which God may dwell in the soul, either by virtue of His created grace (inhabitatio per dona accidentalia, ἐνοίκησις κατ᾽ ἐνέργειαν) or by virtue of His uncreated substance (inhabitatio substantialis sive personalis, ἐνοίκησις κατ᾽ οὐσίαν). The personal indwelling of the Holy Ghost, therefore, may consist in a twofold grace: gratia creata and gratia increata, of which the former is the groundwork and necessary condition of the latter, while the latter may be described as the climax and consummation of the former.(1131) The indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the just is taught by Holy Scripture and attested by the Fathers.
a) Holy Scripture draws a clear-cut distinction between the accidental and the substantial indwelling of the Holy Ghost.
α) Our Lord Himself, in addition to the charismata, promised His Apostles the Holy Ghost in Person. John XIV, 16 sq.: "... the Father ... shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever, ... but you shall know him, because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you."(1132) This promise was made to all the faithful. Cfr. Rom. V, 5: "... the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us."(1133) Hence the Holy Ghost abides in the just and sets up His throne in their souls. Cfr. Rom. VIII, 11: "And if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you."(1134) By His indwelling our souls become temples of God. 1 Cor. III, 16 sq.: "Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?... For the temple of God is holy, which you are."(1135) 1 Cor. VI, 19: "Or know you not that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own?"(1136)
β) Agreeable to this teaching of Scripture the Fathers, especially those of the East, assert the substantial indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the just.
The fact that no one but God can dwell substantially and personally in a creature was cited by the Greek Fathers in their controversies with the Pneumatomachians to prove the divinity of the Holy Ghost. St. Athanasius writes to Serapion:(1137) "If we by receiving the Holy Ghost are allowed to participate in the Divine Nature, no one but a fool will assert that the Holy Ghost is not of divine but of human nature. For all those in whom He abides become deified(1138) for no other reason. But if He constitutes them gods, there can be no doubt that His nature is divine." St. Basil comments as follows on Ps. LXXXI, 6 (Ego dixi, dii estis): "But the Spirit that causes the gods to be gods, must be divine, and from God, ... and God."(1139) St. Cyril of Alexandria(1140) glowingly describes the soul inhabited by the Holy Ghost as inlaid with gold, transfused by fire, filled with the sweet odor of balsam, and so forth.
The Latin Fathers, with one exception, are less definite on this point. St. Augustine says that the Holy Ghost "is given as a gift of God in such a way that He Himself also gives Himself as being God,"(1141) and that "the grace of God is a gift of God, but the greatest gift is the Holy Spirit Himself, who therefore is called a grace."(1142) Again: "... the Holy Spirit is the gift of God, the gift being Himself indeed equal to the giver, and therefore the Holy Ghost also is God, not inferior to the Father and the Son."(1143)
b) While theologians are unanimous in accepting the doctrine of the personal indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the just as clearly contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, they differ in explaining the manner in which He dwells in the soul.
α) The great majority hold that the Holy Ghost can not dwell in the soul, as the human soul dwells in the body, per modum informationis, nor yet by a hypostatic union, as godhead and manhood dwell together in the Person of Christ; and that consequently His indwelling is objectively an indwelling of the whole Trinity, which is appropriated to the Third Person merely because the Holy Ghost is "hypostatic holiness" or "personal love." This view is based on what is called "the fundamental law of the Trinity," viz.: "In God all things are one except where there is opposition of relation."(1144) Sacred Scripture speaks of the personal indwelling of the Father and the Son as well as of the Holy Ghost. Cfr. John XIV, 23: "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."(1145) St. Athanasius concludes from these words that "the energia of the Trinity is one.... Indeed when the Lord says: I and the Father will come, the Spirit also comes, to dwell in us in precisely the same manner in which the Son dwells in us."(1146) And St. Augustine teaches: "Love, therefore, which is of God and is God, is properly the Holy Spirit, by whom the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts,—that love by which the whole Trinity dwells in us."(1147) Accordingly, the personal indwelling of the Holy Ghost consists in the state of grace as bearing a special relation to the Third Person of the Trinity; the "higher nature" which sanctifying grace imparts to the soul is not an absolute but a relative form (σχέσις), by which the soul is mysteriously united with the Three Divine Persons and, by appropriation, with the Holy Ghost, thereby becoming a throne and temple of God. It is in this sense that the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul is called the climax of justification.(1148)
β) Other eminent theologians (Petavius, Passaglia, Schrader, Scheeben, Hurter, et al.) regard the explanation just given as unsatisfactory. They contend that the Fathers, especially those of the East, conceived the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the just, not as an indwelling (ἐνοίκησις) of the Trinity, appropriated to the Holy Ghost, but as a union (ἕνωσις) of the Holy Ghost Himself with the soul.(1149) This union, they say, is neither physical nor hypostatic, but an altogether unique and inexplicable relation by which the soul is morally, accidentally, and actively united to the person of the Holy Ghost.(1150)
γ) Unfortunately this exalted and mystic theory cannot be squared with the theological principles underlying the Catholic teaching on the Trinity, especially that portion of it which concerns the appropriations and missions of the three Divine Persons.(1151) It is true that sanctifying grace culminates in a communication of the Divine Nature, and that this θείωσις is effected by imprinting upon the soul an image of the divine processes of generation and spiration,—the first by adoptive filiation, the second by an indwelling of the Holy Ghost.(1152) In fact all the Trinitarian relations are reflected in the justification of the sinner. Thus regeneration corresponds to the generation of the Logos by the Father; adoptive sonship and the accompanying participation of the soul in the Divine Nature corresponds to our Lord's natural sonship and his consubstantiality with the Father; the indwelling of the Holy Ghost and His union with the soul, on the other hand, corresponds to the divine process of Spiration, inasmuch as it is preeminently a supernatural union of love and effects a sort of mutual inexistence or perichoresis of the soul in the Holy Ghost or the three Divine Persons respectively.(1153) Since, however, this union of the soul with the substance of the three Divine Persons in general, and the Holy Ghost in particular, is not a substantial and physical but only an accidental and moral union, the regeneration of the sinner must be conceived as generation in a metaphorical sense only, divine sonship as adoptive sonship, the deification of man as a weak imitation of the divine homoousia, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the soul as a shadowy analogue of the Divine Perichoresis.(1154)
READINGS:—Deharbe, Die vollkommene Liebe Gottes nach dem hl. Thomas von Aquin, Ratisbon 1856.—Marchant, Die theologischen Tugenden, Ratisbon 1864.—Mazzella, De Virtutibus Infusis, 4th ed., Rome 1894.—G. Lahousse, S. J., De Virtutibus Theologicis, Louvain 1890.—S. Schiffini, S. J., Tractatus de Virtutibus Infusis, Freiburg 1904.—J. Kirschkamp, Der Geist des Katholizismus in der Lehre vom Glauben und von der Liebe, Paderborn 1894.—C. Weiss, S. Thomae Aquinatis de Septem Donis Spiritus Sancti Doctrina Proposita et Explicata, Vienna 1895.
On the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the just see A. Scholz, De Inhabitatione Spiritus Sancti, Wuerzburg 1856.—*Franzelin, De Deo Trino, pp. 625 sqq., Rome 1881.—Oberdoerffer, De Inhabitatione Spiritus Sancti in Animabus Iustorum, Tournai 1890.—* B. Froget, O. P., De l'Inhabitation du S. Esprit dans les Ames Justes d'apres la Doctrine de S. Thomas d'Aquin, Paris 1901.—De Bellevue, L'Oeuvre du S. Esprit ou la Sanctification des Ames, Paris 1901.
On the historic development of the dogma see Schwane, Dogmengeschichte, 2nd ed., Vol. II, 56-75, Freiburg 1895.
Section 3. The Properties Of Sanctifying Grace
By a property (proprium, ἴδιον) we understand a quality which, though not part of the essence of a thing, necessarily flows from that essence by some sort of causation and is consequently found in all individuals of the same species.(1155) A property, as such, is opposed to an accident (accidens, συμβεβηκός), which is neither part of, nor necessarily attached to, the essence, but may or may not be present in the individual. Thus the ability to laugh is a property of human nature, whereas the color of the skin is an accident.
How do the properties of grace differ from its formal effects, and from its supernatural concomitants? The formal effects of grace, as we have seen, are the elements constituting its nature, the properties are determinations necessarily flowing from that nature, while the supernatural concomitants are free gifts superadded by God.
According to the Protestant theory, justification is absolutely certain, equal in all men, and incapable of being lost. The Catholic Church, on the contrary, teaches that justification is (1) uncertain, (2) unequal, and (3) amissible. We will explain this teaching in three theses.
*Thesis I: No man knows with certainty of faith whether he is justified or not.*
This proposition is de fide.
Proof. The Tridentine Council rejected the "fiduciary faith"(1156) of Luther as "an empty heretical confidence,"(1157) and in three distinct canons denied the properties attributed to faith by the early Protestant dogmaticians.(1158)
a) Holy Scripture again and again warns us that we can never be sure of our salvation. St. Paul, though himself "a vessel of election," freely admits: "I am not conscious to myself of any thing, yet I am not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me is the Lord,"(1159) and declares: "I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway."(1160) He exhorts the faithful to work out their salvation "with fear and trembling."(1161)
b) The Fathers also teach the uncertainty of justification in the individual, and attribute it to the fact that, while we know that God pardons penitent sinners, no man can be entirely certain that he has complied with all the conditions necessary for justification.
"Our fate," says St. Chrysostom, "is uncertain for a number of reasons, one of which is that many of our own works are hidden from us."(1162) St. Jerome, commenting on Eccles. IX, 1 sq.,(1163) observes: "In the future they will know all, and all things are manifest to them, that is to say, the knowledge of this matter will precede them when they depart this life, because then the judgment will be pronounced, while now we are still battling, and it is now uncertain whether those who bear adversities, bear them for the love of God, like Job, or because they hate Him, as do many sinners."(1164) Pope St. Gregory the Great said to a noble matron who asked him whether she could be sure of her salvation: "You ask me something which is both useless and difficult [to answer]; difficult, because I am unworthy to receive a revelation; useless, because it is better that you be uncertain with regard to your sins, lest in your last hour you should be unable to repent."(1165)
c) We now proceed to the theological explanation of the dogma embodied in our thesis.
α) The purpose of this dogma is not, as Harnack(1166) thinks, "partly to assuage and partly to excite the restlessness that still remains, by means of the sacraments, indulgences, liturgical worship and ecclesiastical encouragement of mystical and monkish practices," but to prevent undue security and careless assurance. What the Church condemns, in accordance with Sacred Scripture and Tradition, is the certitudo fidei, that vain confidence which leads men to feel certain that they are in the state of grace (inanis fiducia), not the certitudo spei, i.e. humble trust in God's abundant mercy. "As no pious person ought to doubt of the mercy of God, of the merit of Christ, and of the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments," says the Tridentine Council, "even so each one, when he regards himself and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension touching his own grace; seeing that no one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God."(1167)
One needs but to apply to theology the epistemological principles and criteria furnished by philosophy to perceive that the Catholic dogma is as reasonable as the Protestant theory is absurd. The Protestant syllogism: "I know with a certainty of faith that the penitent sinner who does his share, is justified through the grace of Christ; now, I, who am a penitent sinner, know with a certainty of faith that I have done my share; therefore, I know with a certainty of faith that I am justified," may be formally correct, but the minor premise embodies a material error, because no man knows with a certainty of faith that he has done his share, unless it be specially revealed to him by God. No matter how sure I may feel of my own goodness, I have no certainty of faith, such as that which Mary Magdalen had, or that which was vouchsafed to the penitent thief on the cross, that I am justified. It is one of the approved rules of syllogistic reasoning that "the conclusion must follow the weaker premiss."(1168) Hence, in the above syllogism the certainty cannot be of faith, but human and moral only. We do not mean to deny that God may grant to this or that individual a certainty of faith with regard to his justification; in fact theologians expressly teach that in such a rare and exceptional case the privileged person would be obliged to believe in his own justification, fide divina.(1169)
β) Can any one, without a special revelation, be theologically certain that he is justified? Theological certainty (certitudo theologica) is the result of a syllogism which embodies an article of faith in one of its premises and an obvious truth of reason in the other. Ambrosius Catharinus(1170) stands alone among Catholic theologians in holding that there are rare cases in which men do have a theological certainty as to their justification without a private revelation. All other writers deny the possibility: (1) because Scripture and Tradition do not countenance the proposition; (2) because there are no criteria available for such certainty outside of private revelation, and (3) because the Tridentine Council censured the assertion "that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubt whatever, settle within themselves that they are justified."(1171)
γ) For precisely the same reasons no man can be metaphysically certain of his own justification. Hence there remains only moral certainty. Moral certainty admits of varying degrees. The highest degree of moral certainty concerning justification can be had in the case of baptized infants, though, of course, we can never be metaphysically certain even in regard to them, because there is always room for doubt as to the intention of the minister and the validity of the matter and form employed in the administration of the sacrament. In the case of adults, certainty regarding justification varies in proportion to the measure in which it can be ascertained whether one has complied with all the requirements demanded by God. However, certainty may be so great as to exclude all reasonable doubt. St. Paul says: "I am sure that neither death nor life ... shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."(1172) And St. Augustine: "What do we know? We know that we have passed from death to life. Whence do we know this? Because we love our brethren. Let no one ask another. Let each question his own heart; if he there finds fraternal charity, let him be sure that he has passed from death to life."(1173) This teaching has led theologians to set up certain criteria by which the faithful may be relieved of unreasonable anxiety and obtain some sort of assurance as to the condition of their souls. Such criteria are: a taste for things spiritual; contempt of earthly pleasures; zeal and perseverance in doing good; love of prayer and pious meditation; patience in suffering and adversity; a fervent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary; frequent reception of the sacraments, etc.(1174)
*Thesis II: Sanctifying grace admits of degrees and therefore can be increased by good works.*
Both propositions contained in this thesis are de fide.
Proof. The Protestant contention that the grace of justification is shared in an equal measure by all the justified, was a logical deduction from Luther's false principle that men are justified by faith alone through the external justice of Christ. If this were true, good works would be superfluous, and all Christians would enjoy an equal measure of grace. Luther formally asserted this in his sermon on the nativity of the Blessed Virgin: "All we who are Christians are equally great and holy with the Mother of God."(1175) The Catholic Church rejects this teaching. She holds that justification is an intrinsic process by which the justice and holiness of Christ becomes our own through sanctifying grace, and that consequently sanctifying grace may be present in the soul in a greater or less degree, according to the liberality of God and the disposition of the individual Christian, and those who are in the state of grace may augment it by good works. The Council of Trent formally defines these truths when it says: "[We receive] justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to every one as He wills, and according to each one's proper disposition and cooeperation."(1176) And: "[The justified], faith cooeperating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified...."(1177) The second and more important of these truths is re-iterated and emphasized in the canons of Session VI: "If anyone saith that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof: let him be anathema."(1178)
a) The Tridentine Fathers base their teaching on a number of Scriptural texts which either expressly declare or presuppose that grace is capable of being increased in the soul after justification.
Thus we read in Prov. IV, 18: "The path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forwards and increaseth even to perfect day."(1179) Ecclus. XVIII, 22: "Let nothing hinder thee from praying always, and be not afraid to be justified even to death: for the reward of God continueth for ever."(1180) 2 Pet. III, 18: "Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."(1181) 2 Cor. IX, 10: "[God] will increase the growth of the fruits of your justice."(1182) Eph. IV, 7: "But to every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the giving of Christ."(1183) Apoc. XXII, 11 sq.: "He that is just, let him be justified still; and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works."(1184)
Such texts could easily be multiplied.
b) Tradition found definite utterance as early as the fourth century.
When Jovinian attempted to revive the Stoic theory of the absolute equality of all virtues and vices, he met with strenuous opposition on the part of St. Jerome, who wrote a special treatise Contra Iovinianum, in which he said: "Each of us receives grace according to the measure of the grace of Christ (Eph. IV, 7); not as if the measure of Christ were unequal, but so much of His grace is infused into us as we are capable of receiving."(1185) St. Augustine teaches that the just are as unequal as the sinners. "The saints are clad with justice (Job XXIX, 14), some more, some less; and no one on this earth lives without sin, some more, some less: but the best is he who has least."(1186) But, we are told, life as such is not capable of being increased; how then can there be an increase of spiritual life? St. Thomas answers this objection as follows: "The natural life pertains to the substance of man, and therefore can be neither augmented nor diminished; but in the life of grace man participates accidentaliter, and consequently he can possess it in a larger or smaller degree."(1187)
c) From what we have said it is easy to understand the distinction which theologians make between justification as gratia prima and justification as gratia secunda. The latter is merely another term for an increase of grace after justification.
α) Such an increase may be effected either ex opere operantis, that is, by good works, or ex opere operato, through the sacraments, and is called justification (iustificatio, δικαίωσις) partly because Sacred Scripture refers to it by that name(1188) and partly because "to become just" (iustum fieri) and "to become more just" (iustiorem fieri) both imply true sanctification.
In this connection the question may be raised whether sanctifying grace is diminished by venial sin. Venial sin does not destroy the state of grace and consequently cannot augment or diminish grace. To assume that it could, would lead to the absurd conclusion that a definite number of venial sins might eventually grow into a mortal sin, or that repeated venial sins gradually diminish grace until finally it disappears. The first-mentioned assumption is impossible because venial differs generically from mortal sin, and a transition from the one to the other would be a μετάβασις εἰς ἄλλο γένος. The second assumption would entail the heretical inference that the state of grace can be lost without mortal sin.(1189) No doubt venial sin influences the state of grace unfavorably; but this evil influence must be conceived as indirect—by committing venial sins man weakens his will-power, and temptation eventually grows so strong as to make mortal sin inevitable. "He that contemneth small things, shall fall little by little."(1190)
β) If we inquire how sanctifying grace increases in the soul, we find that the process must be conceived as a growing intensity analogous to that of light and heat in the physical order.
Gratia prima, as we have seen in a previous chapter, is a supernatural physical quality.(1191) Hence its increase, i.e. gratia secunda, must be an increase of physical quality. Such an increase is called in Scholastic parlance intensio.(1192) In what does this process consist? Certain Thomists(1193) describe it as a maior radicatio in subiecto, while the majority of theologians hold that it is simply an additio gradus ad gradum. This latter explanation is probably the correct one. Sanctifying grace is either capable of gradual increase, or it is not. If it is, there is no reason why God should deny such an increase under certain conditions. If it is not, Luther would have been right in contending that a newly baptized infant enjoys the same measure of holiness as the Blessed Virgin Mary or the human soul of our Divine Lord. It is impossible to imagine how grace could produce a quantitatively higher holiness by simply striking its roots deeper into the soul.(1194)
γ) A question of greater practical importance is this: Is the increase of sanctifying grace accompanied by a corresponding increase of the infused virtues, and vice versa.
Every increase or decrease of sanctifying grace must eo ipso entail a corresponding increase or decrease, respectively, of theological charity. Charity is either identical with grace or it is not.(1195) If it is, an increase of the one implies an increase of the other; if it is not, the one cannot increase without an increase of the other, because they are inseparable and related to each other as nature to faculty, or root to blossom. Moreover, the degree of heavenly glory enjoyed by a soul will be commensurate with the measure of charity which it possessed at death. Now grace and glory bear a proportional relation to each other. Consequently, grace is augmented as charity increases, and vice versa. The same argument applies to the infused moral virtues.
The case is different, however, with the theological virtues of faith and hope. These may continue to exist in the soul after charity has departed, and hence are not inseparable from sanctifying grace and charity, nor from the moral virtues. This consideration led Suarez to infer that, as the theological virtues of faith and hope may be infused into the soul independently of charity and before justification, they must be susceptible of increase in the course of justification without regard to the existing state of grace and charity.(1196) This is true of the sinner. In the justified, as Suarez himself admits, an increase of grace (or charity) probably always entails an increase of faith and hope,(1197)—a proposition which finds strong support in the decree of Trent which says: "This increase of justification Holy Church begs, when she prays: 'Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity.' "(1198)
δ) A final question forces itself upon the enquiring mind, viz.: Is sanctifying grace capable of an indefinite increase, or is there a limit beyond which it cannot grow? In trying to find an answer to this question we must draw a careful distinction between the absolute and the ordinary power of God.
There is no intrinsic contradiction in the assumption that grace can be indefinitely augmented. True, it can never become actually infinite, as this would involve an absurdity.(1199) But if we regard the power of God as He sees fit to exercise it in the present economy (potentia Dei ordinata), we find that it is limited by two sublime ideals of holiness to which neither man nor angel can attain, viz.: the overflowing measure of sanctifying grace in the human soul of our Lord Jesus Christ(1200) and the "fulness of grace" granted to His Mother.(1201) Though these ideals are beyond our reach, we must not be discouraged, but try to approach them as nearly as possible.(1202)
*Thesis III: Sanctifying grace is lost by mortal sin.*
This thesis also embodies an article of faith.
Proof. Calvin asserted that neither justification nor faith can be lost by those who are predestined to salvation, and that the unpredestined are never truly justified. Luther held that justifying grace is lost solely through the sin of infidelity. Against the former the Council of Trent declared: "If anyone saith that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; ... let him be anathema."(1203) Against the latter the same council defined: "If anyone saith that there is no mortal sin but that of infidelity, or that grace once received is not lost by any other sin, however grievous and enormous, save by that of infidelity, let him be anathema."(1204) At the same time, however, the Holy Synod expressly declared that venial sin does not destroy the state of grace: "For although during this mortal life, men, how holy and just soever, at times fall into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial, they do not therefore cease to be just."(1205)
a) This teaching is so obviously in accord with Sacred Scripture that we confine ourselves to quoting three or four passages. Ezechiel says that sanctifying grace may be irretrievably lost: "If the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? All his justices which he hath done shall not be remembered; in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die."(1206) Our Lord Himself admonishes His Apostles: "Watch ye and pray, that ye enter not into temptation."(1207) St. Paul not only warns the faithful in general terms: "He that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall;"(1208) but expressly designates certain mortal sins as a bar to Heaven: "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God."(1209)
b) The teaching of Tradition was brought out clearly in the fight against Jovinian.
That wily heretic claimed the authority of St. John for the assertion that the grace of Baptism can never be lost. The Johannean passage in question reads: "Whosoever is born of God, committeth no sin: for His seed abideth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."(1210) St. Jerome in his reply paraphrases the passage as follows: "Therefore I tell you, my little children, whosoever is born of God, committeth no sin, in order that you may not sin and that you may know that you will remain sons of God so long as you refrain from sin."(1211) St. Augustine teaches: "If a man, being regenerate and justified, relapses of his own will into an evil life, assuredly he cannot say: 'I have not received,' because of his own free choice of evil he has lost the grace of God that he has received."(1212) And St. Gregory the Great:
"As he who falls away from the faith is an apostate, so he who returns to an evil deed is regarded by Almighty God as an apostate, even though he may seem to retain the faith; for the one without the other can be of no use, because faith availeth nought without [good] works, nor [good] works without faith."(1213) The penitential discipline of the primitive Church furnishes additional proofs for the doctrine under consideration. If grace could be lost in no other way than by unbelief, the Sacrament of Penance would be useless.(1214)
c) In connection with this subject theologians are wont to discuss the question whether or not the forfeiture of sanctifying grace involves the loss of its supernatural concomitants.
Theological love or charity is substantially identical with sanctifying grace, or at least inseparable from it, and hence both are gained and lost together. This is an article of faith. To lose sanctifying grace, therefore, is to lose theological love. On the other hand, it is equally de fide that theological faith (habitus fidei) is not destroyed by mortal sin;(1215) it can be lost only by the sin of unbelief.(1216) The same is true, mutatis mutandis, of theological hope. True, the Church has not definitely declared her mind with regard to hope, but it may be set down as her teaching that hope is not lost with grace and charity but survives like faith.(1217) The two contrary opposites of hope are desperation and presumption, concerning which theologians commonly hold that the former destroys hope, while the latter probably does not. But even if hope and charity are lost, faith may remain in the soul like a solitary root, from which, under more favorable conditions, new life is apt to spring. As regards the infused moral virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost (and, a fortiori, His personal indwelling in the soul),(1218) it is the unanimous teaching that these disappear with sanctifying grace and charity, even though faith and hope survive. The reason is that these virtues and gifts are merely supernatural adjuncts of sanctifying grace and cannot persist without it. "Accessorium sequitur principale."(1219)
Chapter III. The Fruits Of Justification, Or The Merit Of Good Works
The principal fruit of justification, according to the Tridentine Council,(1220) is the meritoriousness of all good works performed in the state of sanctifying grace.
Merit (meritum), as we have explained in the first part of this treatise,(1221) is that property of a good work which entitles the doer to a reward (praemium, merces).
Ethics and theology distinguish two kinds of merit: (1) condign merit or merit in the strict sense of the term (meritum adaequatum sive de condigno), and (2) congruous merit or quasi-merit (meritum inadaequatum sive de congruo). Condign merit supposes an equality between service and return. It is measured by commutative justice and confers a strict claim to a reward. Congruous merit, owing to its inadequacy and the lack of strict proportion between service and recompense, confers no such claim except on grounds of equity.(1222)
In this treatise we are concerned with merit only in the theological sense of the term, i.e. supernatural merit. We shall consider (1) its Existence,(1223) (2) its Requisites,(1224) and (3) its Objects.(1225)
Section 1. The Existence Of Merit
1. HERETICAL ERRORS AND THE TEACHING OF THE CHURCH.—a) The medieval Beguins and Beghards held that man is able to attain such a perfect state of holiness here below as no longer to require an increase of grace or good works.(1226) Luther, holding that justification consists in the covering up of sin and the external imputation of the justice of Christ, consistently though falsely asserted that "the just man sins in every good work,"(1227) that "a good work, no matter how well performed, is a venial sin,"(1228) and that "every work of the just deserves damnation and is mortally sinful, if it be considered as it really is in the judgment of God."(1229) Calvin rejected good works as "impurities and defilements,"(1230) which God covers with the cloak of the merits of Jesus Christ and which He sometimes rewards with temporal blessings but never with eternal life. Modern Protestantism has given up or at least attenuated these harsh doctrines.(1231)
b) The Church had defined her teaching on this point centuries before the time of the "Reformers." Thus the Second Council of Orange declared as early as 529: "Good works, when performed, deserve a reward; but grace, which is a free gift, precedes good works and is a necessary condition of them."(1232) The Fourth Lateran Council reiterated this doctrine: "Not only virgins and those who practice continence, but the married also, who please God by having the right faith and performing good works, deserve to obtain eternal happiness."(1233) The Tridentine Council goes into the matter at length in the sixteenth Chapter of its Sixth Session, where we read inter alia: "And for this reason life eternal is to be proposed to those working well unto the end and hoping in God, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Jesus Christ, and as a reward which is according to the promise of God Himself to be faithfully rendered to their good works and merits."(1234)
The same Council formally condemned the Lutheran position as heretical: "If anyone saith that in every good work the just man sins at least venially, or, which is more intolerable still, mortally, and consequently deserves eternal punishments; and that for this cause only he is not damned that God does not impute those works unto salvation; let him be anathema."(1235) The positive teaching of the Church may be gathered from the following condemnation: "If anyone saith that the just ought not, for their good works done in God, to expect and hope for eternal recompense from God through His mercy and the merit of Jesus Christ, if so be that they persevere to the end in well-doing and in keeping the commandments; let him be anathema."(1236) The existence of merit in the true and proper sense of the term is specially emphasized as follows: "If anyone saith that ... the justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace...; let him be anathema."(1237) The quietistic errors of Michael de Molinos were condemned by Pope Innocent XI, Nov. 20, 1687.(1238)
2. THE MERITORIOUSNESS OF GOOD WORKS DEMONSTRATED FROM SCRIPTURE AND TRADITION.—Both Holy Scripture and Tradition employ opus bonum and meritum as reciprocal or correlative terms.
a) In the Old Testament the good deeds of the just are often declared to be meritorious in the sight of God. Cfr. Wisd. V, 16: "But the just shall live for evermore, and their reward is with the Lord."(1239) Ecclus. XVIII, 22: "Be not afraid to be justified even to death, for the reward of God continueth for ever."(1240) The New Testament teaching culminates in the "eight beatitudes," each of which is accompanied by a special reward. After enumerating them all, with the promises attached to each, our Divine Saviour significantly adds: "Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven."(1241)
St. Paul, who so strongly insists on the absolute gratuitousness of Christian grace, nevertheless acknowledges the existence of merits to which a reward is due from God. Cfr. Rom. II, 6 sq.: "[God] will render to every man according to his works, to them indeed who according to patience in good work, seek glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life."(1242) 2 Tim. IV, 7 sq.: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day, and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming."(1243) 1 Cor. III, 8: "Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor."(1244) Col. III, 23 sq.: "Whatsoever you do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that you shall receive of the Lord the reward of inheritance."(1245) The most eloquent exponent of the necessity of good works is St. James, who also insists on their meritoriousness: "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him."(1246) In the Apocalypse Jesus says: "Be thou faithful until death, and I will give thee the crown of life."(1247)
b) The teaching of the Fathers is an effective commentary on the Scriptural doctrine just expounded, as may be seen from their homilies reproduced in the Roman Breviary.
St. Ignatius of Antioch says: "Suffer me to be eaten by the beasts, through whom I can attain to God."(1248) St. Irenaeus: "Precious should be to us the crown which we gain in battle, ... and the more we obtain it by combat, the more precious it is."(1249) St. Ambrose: "Is it not evident that the reward and punishment of merits endure after death?"(1250) St. Augustine: "Eternal life contains the whole reward in the promise of which we rejoice; nor can the reward precede desert, nor be given to a man before he is worthy of it. What can be more unjust than this, and what is more just than God? We should not then demand the reward before we deserve to get it."(1251) And again: "As death is given, so to speak, to reward the merit of sin, so eternal life is given to reward the merit of justice, ... and hence it is also called reward in many Scriptural passages."(1252)
c) Theologically the meritoriousness of good works is based on the providence of God. There must be some sort of sanction to enforce the divine laws,—not only the natural law (lex naturae), but, a fortiori, the "law of grace" (lex gratiae), as the supernatural order is so much more important than the natural.
α) By the good works which he performs in the state of sanctifying grace, and with the aid of actual graces (in gratia et ex gratia), man acquires a twofold merit,—he helps to execute the divine plan of governance in regard to his fellow-creatures and assists in furthering the external glory of God, which is the ultimate purpose of creation. For this he is entitled to a double reward, just as the sinner is deserving of a double punishment for the injury he does to his fellowmen and the dishonor he reflects upon his Creator.(1253)
It is objected against this argument that our supernatural merits, being finite, are in no proportion to the possession and enjoyment of an Infinite Good. This objection vanishes in the light of the following considerations: (1) Sanctifying grace is a kind of deificatio, which raises man above himself to a quasi-divine dignity that colors all his actions.(1254) (2) The ability of the justified to perform supernaturally good works is based entirely upon the infinite merits of Jesus Christ.(1255) (3) The Infinite Good is possessed by the creature, not in an infinite but in a merely finite manner. Hence there is a due proportion between good works and merit.(1256)
One difficulty still remains, viz.: By what title do infants who die in the state of baptismal innocence attain to eternal beatitude, which they have been unable to merit? We answer: The just man has two distinct claims to Heaven, one as a child of God,(1257) and another as a laborer in His vineyard. Baptized infants who have not yet arrived at the use of reason, possess only the first claim, while adult Christians who lead a good life enjoy also the titulus mercedis and consequently are entitled to a richer reward. Both claims ultimately rest on the merits of Jesus Christ.(1258)
β) What we have said is sufficient to disprove the groundless assertion that the Catholic doctrine concerning the meritoriousness of good works derogates from the merits of Christ and fosters "self-righteousness." Would it not be far more derogatory to the honor of our Saviour to assume that He failed to obtain for those for whom He suffered and died, a limited capacity for gaining merits? Does it in any way impair the dignity of God as the causa prima to assume that He communicates to His creatures a limited causality, by which they are enabled to act as true causae secundae, instead of being mere causae occasionales, as the Occasionalists assert?(1259) As regards the other charge, no true Catholic is guilty of "self-righteousness" because he regards his good works as "fruits of justification," owing purely to grace. The "self-righteousness" of which Luther speaks is incompatible with the virtue of humility. The faithful Christian, according to St. Paul, may safely rejoice over his merits, because the uncertainty of justification and the consciousness that his good works are but limited at best, are a sufficient protection against self-righteousness and presumption.(1260)
3. EXPLANATION OF THE CATHOLIC DOCTRINE.—Though the Tridentine Council merely defined in general terms that all good works performed in the state of sanctifying grace are meritorious,(1261) it is theologically certain that the merit due to good works is the merit of condignity.
a) According to Pallavicini(1262) the Fathers of Trent without exception were convinced that the merit inherent in good works is a meritum de condigno, based upon divine justice, and they purposely employed the term vere to exclude that quasi-merit which in the technical terminology of the Schools is called meritum de congruo.(1263) They refrained from expressly employing the term meritum de condigno, because meritum verum is a plain and adequate term, and for this additional reason that they wished to avoid certain theological controversies regarding the nature of the meritum de condigno and its requisites.(1264)
b) We need not enter into these controversies to understand that condign merit supposes an equality between service and reward. The proposition can be proved from Sacred Scripture by an indirect argument. The meritum de condigno is based on a strict claim of justice, not on mere equity. Now the Bible leaves no doubt that God meant to make himself a debtor to man in strict justice. Cfr. Heb. VI, 10: "For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work."(1265) 2 Tim. IV, 8: "... there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming."(1266) James I, 12: "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him."(1267) That there must be a condignitas between service and reward is clearly apparent from such texts as these:—Wis. III, 5: "... God hath tried them and found them worthy of himself."(1268) 2 Thess. I, 4 sq.: "... in all your persecutions and tribulations, which you endure, for an example [as a token] of the just judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which also you suffer."(1269) Apoc. III, 4: "... they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy."(1270) Not merely as their benefactor but as the just judge, Christ will say to the elect on judgment day: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat...."(1271) Justly therefore is sanctifying grace, as the principium dignificativum operum, called the "seed of God,"(1272) because it contains a celestial reward even as an acorn contains the oak. True, St. Thomas, to whom we are indebted for this simile,(1273) in another part of the Summa(1274) defends the theological axiom: "Deus punit circa condignum et remunerat ultra condignum," but he does not mean to deny the equality between service and reward, but merely to exalt the generosity that prompts God to bestow upon creatures what is due to them more bountifully than they deserve. Cfr. Luke VI, 38: "Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom."(1275)
Section 2. The Requisites Of Merit
As we are dealing with the "fruits of justification," it becomes necessary to ascertain the requisites or conditions of true merit. There are seven such; four have reference to the meritorious work itself, two to the agent who performs it, and one to God who gives the reward.
1. REQUISITES OF MERIT ON THE PART OF THE MERITORIOUS WORK.—A work, to be meritorious, must be morally good, free, performed with the assistance of actual grace, and inspired by a supernatural motive.
a) As every evil deed implies demerit and is deserving of punishment, so the notion of merit supposes a morally good work (opus honestum).
Cfr. Eph. VI, 8: "Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man shall do, the same shall he receive from the Lord."(1276) 2 Cor. V, 10: "We must all be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil."(1277) There are no morally indifferent works in individuo, i.e. practically; and if there were, they could be neither meritorious nor demeritorious, but would become meritorious in proportion as they are made morally good by means of a "good intention." It would be absolutely wrong to ascribe merit only to the more perfect works of supererogation (opera supererogatoria), such as the vow of perpetual chastity, excluding all works of mere obligation, such as the faithful observance of the commandments. Being morally good, the works of obligation are also meritorious, because goodness and meritoriousness are correlative terms.(1278) Whether the mere omission of an evil act is in itself meritorious, is doubtful.(1279) But most theologians are agreed in holding that the external work, as such, adds no merit to the internal act, except in so far as it reacts on the will and sustains and intensifies its operation. This and similar questions properly belong to moral theology.
b) The second requisite of merit is moral liberty (libertas indifferens ad actum), that is to say, freedom from both external and internal compulsion. This has been dogmatically defined against Jansenius.(1280)
That there can be no merit without liberty is clearly inculcated by Sacred Scripture. Cfr. 1 Cor. IX, 17: "For if I do this willingly, I have a reward."(1281) Matth. XIX, 17: "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."(1282) "Where there is compulsion," says St. Jerome, "there is neither a crown nor damnation."(1283) The morality of an act depends entirely on its being an actus humanus. Now no act is truly "human" unless it be freely performed. Consequently, freedom of choice is an indispensable condition of moral goodness and therefore also of merit.
What kind of liberty is necessary to enable the will to acquire merit? Theologians answer by saying that it is libertas contradictionis sive exercitii. If I do a good deed which I am free to do or not to do, I perform a morally good and therefore meritorious work. As regards the libertas specificationis, (that freedom by which a person may act thus or otherwise, e.g. give alms to one applicant in preference to another, or mortify himself in this or that particular manner), there can be no doubt that, whatever the choice made, the action is always good and meritorious. However, theologians have excogitated a hypothetical case in which an action may be physically free without being meritorious. It is when one is compelled to do a certain thing and is free only in so far as he is able to choose between two actions exactly equal in moral worth. This would be the case, for instance, if he had to pay a debt of ten dollars and were left free to pay it either in coin or in currency. The more common opinion is that in a case of this kind there would be a lack of that liberty which is necessary to render an act morally good and therefore meritorious.(1284)
c) The third requisite of merit is actual grace. Its necessity is evident from the fact that, to be meritorious, an act must be supernatural and consequently cannot be performed without the aid of prevenient and cooeperating grace.(1285)
d) Merit further requires a supernatural motive, for the reason that every good work must be supernatural, both as regards object and circumstances (ex obiecto et circumstantiis), and the end for which it is performed (ex fine). In determining the necessary qualities of this motive, however, theologians differ widely.
α) A considerable number, mostly of the Thomist persuasion, demand the motive of theological charity, and consequently regard the state of charity (caritas habitualis sive status caritatis et gratiae) as essential for the meritoriousness of all good works performed in the state of grace, even if they are performed from some other, truly supernatural though inferior motive, such as obedience, the fear of God, etc. This rigorous school is constrained to raise the question whether every single good work, to be supernaturally meritorious, must proceed from an act of divine charity (toties quoties), or whether the virtual influence of one act is sufficient to endow a series of subsequent acts with meritoriousness. Only a few Thomist theologians(1286) defend the first-mentioned theory. The majority(1287) hold that the influxus virtualis caritatis is sufficient. This view is vigorously defended by Cardinal Bellarmine, who says: "It is not enough to make a general good intention at the beginning of a year, or month, or day, by which all future actions are referred to God; but it is necessary to refer each particular act to God before it is performed."(1288) The advocates of this theory base their opinion on certain Scriptural and Patristic texts, and especially on St. Thomas, whose teaching they misunderstand.(1289)
The dogmatic question whether good works can be meritorious without being inspired by supernatural charity, has nothing to do with the moral problem whether there is an obligation to make an act of charity from time to time, except in so far as habitual charity,—i.e. the state of charity, which is always required for merit, nay even for the preservation of sanctifying grace,—cannot be permanently sustained unless renewed from time to time and effectuated by a fresh act of that virtue.(1290) St. Alphonsus teaches that every man is obliged to make an act of charity at least once a month, but he is contradicted by other eminent moralists. In practice it is well to insist on frequent acts of charity because such acts not only confirm and preserve the state of grace, but render our good works incomparably more meritorious in the sight of God. Hence, too, the importance of making a "good intention" every morning before beginning the day's work.(1291)
β) There is a second group of very eminent theologians, including Suarez,(1292) Vasquez,(1293) De Lugo, and Ballerini, who hold that, to be meritorious, the good works of a just man, who has habitual charity, need only conform to the divine law, no special motive being required. These writers base their teaching on the Tridentine decree which says: "For this is that crown of justice which the Apostle declared was, after his fight and course, laid up for him, to be rendered to him by the Just Judge, and not only to him, but also to all that love His coming. For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses His virtue into the said justified,—as the head into the members and the vine into the branches,—and this virtue always precedes, and accompanies, and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God (can. 2), we must believe that nothing further is wanting to the justified to prevent their being accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life, to be obtained also in its [due] time, if so be, however, that they depart in grace."(1294) This teaching is in harmony with Scripture. The Bible nowhere requires an act of charity to make good works meritorious for Heaven. In the "eight beatitudes"(1295) our Lord Himself promises eternal glory for works which are not all works of charity, nor even dictated by charity, either formal or virtual. When He was asked: "Master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting?"(1296) he did not answer with Bellarmine: "Steep all thy works in the motive of charity," but declared: "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."(1297) And when requested to specify, He simply cited the ordinary precepts of the Decalogue.(1298) We also know that at the Last Judgment He will receive the elect into the "kingdom of His Father" solely in consideration of the works of mercy they have done.(1299)
Theological reasoning lends its support to this view. If good works performed without the motive of charity were not supernaturally meritorious, this would be attributable to one of three causes. Either the just would sin by doing good; or good works performed without charity would not be deserving of eternal beatitude; or, finally, there would be no strict equality between service and reward. All three of these suppositions are untenable. The first would lead to Bajanism or Jansenism.(1300) The second and third overlook the fact that the requisite proportion (condignitas) between service and reward is furnished by sanctifying grace or habitual charity, which, as deificatio, adoptive sonship, and union with the Holy Ghost, actually supplies that for which the motivum caritatis is demanded.
We might ask the advocates of the more rigorous opinion, whence the act of charity which they demand for every meritorious work, derives its peculiar proportionality or condignitas with the beatific vision. Surely not from itself, because as an act it is merely primus inter pares, without in any essential respect excelling other motives. There is no alternative but to attribute it to that quasi-divine dignity which is imparted to the just man and his works by sanctifying grace.
For these reasons present-day theology regards the second theory as sufficiently well established and the faithful are largely guided by it in practice.(1301)
2. REQUISITES OF MERIT ON THE PART OF THE AGENT WHO MERITS.—The agent who merits must be a wayfarer and in the state of sanctifying grace.
a) The wayfaring state (status viae) is merely another name for life on earth. Death as the natural, though not essentially necessary limit of life, closes the time of meriting. Nothing is more clearly taught in Holy Scripture than that we must sow in this world if we desire to reap in the next.(1302)
b) The second requisite is the state of sanctifying grace. Only the just can be "sons of God" and "heirs of heaven."(1303) Cfr. John XV, 4: "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me."(1304) Rom. VIII, 17: "And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ."(1305)
Does the degree of sanctifying grace existing in the soul exert a decisive influence on the amount of merit due to the good works performed? This question can be easily solved on the theological principle that the supernatural dignity of the soul increases in proportion to its growth in sanctifying grace. Vasquez holds that, other things being equal, one who is holier gains no greater merit by performing a given work than one who is less holy.(1306) All other theologians(1307) hold with St. Thomas(1308) that the meritoriousness of a good deed is larger in proportion to the godlike dignity of the agent, which in turn is measured by the degree of sanctifying grace in the soul. This explains why God, in consideration of the greater holiness of some saints who are especially dear to Him, often deigns through their intercession to grant favors which He refuses to others.(1309)
3. THE REQUISITES OF MERIT ON THE PART OF GOD.—Merit requires but one thing on the part of God, viz.: that He accept the good work in actu secundo as deserving of reward. Since, however, theologians are not agreed on this point, we are dealing merely with a more or less well-founded opinion.