Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q20

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Q19 Q21

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IIª-IIae q. 20 pr. Deinde considerandum est de vitiis oppositis. Et primo, de desperatione; secundo, de praesumptione. Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor. Primo, utrum desperatio sit peccatum. Secundo, utrum possit esse sine infidelitate. Tertio, utrum sit maximum peccatorum. Quarto, utrum oriatur ex acedia. Question 20. Despair Is despair a sin? Can it be without unbelief? Is it the greatest of sins? Does it arise from sloth?
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod desperatio non sit peccatum. Omne enim peccatum habet conversionem ad commutabile bonum cum aversione ab incommutabili bono; ut patet per Augustinum, in Lib. de Lib. Arb. Sed desperatio non habet conversionem ad commutabile bonum. Ergo non est peccatum. Objection 1. It would seem that despair is not a sin. For every sin includes conversion to a mutable good, together with aversion from the immutable good, as Augustine states (De Lib. Arb. ii, 19). But despair includes no conversion to a mutable good. Therefore it is not a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, illud quod oritur ex bona radice non videtur esse peccatum, quia non potest arbor bona fructus malos facere, ut dicitur Matth. VII. Sed desperatio videtur procedere ex bona radice, scilicet ex timore Dei, vel ex horrore magnitudinis propriorum peccatorum. Ergo desperatio non est peccatum. Objection 2. Further, that which grows from a good root, seems to be no sin, because "a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit" (Matthew 7:18). Now despair seems to grow from a good root, viz. fear of God, or from horror at the greatness of one's own sins. Therefore despair is not a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, si desperatio esset peccatum, in damnatis esset peccatum quod desperant. Sed hoc non imputatur eis ad culpam, sed magis ad damnationem. Ergo neque viatoribus imputatur ad culpam. Et ita desperatio non est peccatum. Objection 3. Further, if despair were a sin, it would be a sin also for the damned to despair. But this is not imputed to them as their fault but as part of their damnation. Therefore neither is it imputed to wayfarers as their fault, so that it is not a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra, illud per quod homines in peccata inducuntur videtur esse non solum peccatum, sed principium peccatorum. Sed desperatio est huiusmodi, dicit enim apostolus de quibusdam, ad Ephes. IV, qui desperantes semetipsos tradiderunt impudicitiae in operationem omnis immunditiae et avaritiae. Ergo desperatio non solum est peccatum, sed aliorum peccatorum principium. On the contrary, That which leads men to sin, seems not only to be a sin itself, but a source of sins. Now such is despair, for the Apostle says of certain men (Ephesians 4:19): "Who, despairing, have given themselves up to lasciviousness, unto the working of all uncleanness and [Vulgate: 'unto'] covetousness." Therefore despair is not only a sin but also the origin of other sins.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod secundum philosophum, in VI Ethic., id quod est in intellectu affirmatio vel negatio est in appetitu prosecutio et fuga, et quod est in intellectu verum vel falsum est in appetitu bonum et malum. Et ideo omnis motus appetitivus conformiter se habens intellectui vero, est secundum se bonus, omnis autem motus appetitivus conformiter se habens intellectui falso, est secundum se malus et peccatum. Circa Deum autem vera existimatio intellectus est quod ex ipso provenit hominum salus, et venia peccatoribus datur; secundum illud Ezech. XVIII, nolo mortem peccatoris, sed ut convertatur et vivat. Falsa autem opinio est quod peccatori poenitenti veniam deneget, vel quod peccatores ad se non convertat per gratiam iustificantem. Et ideo sicut motus spei, qui conformiter se habet ad existimationem veram, est laudabilis et virtuosus; ita oppositus motus desperationis, qui se habet conformiter existimationi falsae de Deo, est vitiosus et peccatum. I answer that, According to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 2) affirmation and negation in the intellect correspond to search and avoidance in the appetite; while truth and falsehood in the intellect correspond to good and evil in the appetite. Consequently every appetitive movement which is conformed to a true intellect, is good in itself, while every appetitive movement which is conformed to a false intellect is evil in itself and sinful. Now the true opinion of the intellect about God is that from Him comes salvation to mankind, and pardon to sinners, according to Ezekiel 18:23, "I desire not the death of the sinner, but that he should be converted, and live" [Vulgate: 'Is it My will that a sinner should die . . . and not that he should be converted and live?' Cf. Ezekiel 33:11: while it is a false opinion that He refuses pardon to the repentant sinner, or that He does not turn sinners to Himself by sanctifying grace. Therefore, just as the movement of hope, which is in conformity with the true opinion, is praiseworthy and virtuous, so the contrary movement of despair, which is in conformity with the false opinion about God, is vicious and sinful.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in quolibet peccato mortali est quodammodo aversio a bono incommutabili et conversio ad bonum commutabile, sed aliter et aliter. Nam principaliter consistunt in aversione a bono incommutabili peccata quae opponuntur virtutibus theologicis, ut odium Dei, desperatio et infidelitas, quia virtutes theologicae habent Deum pro obiecto, ex consequenti autem important conversionem ad bonum commutabile, inquantum anima deserens Deum consequenter necesse est quod ad alia convertatur. Peccata vero alia principaliter consistunt in conversione ad commutabile bonum, ex consequenti vero in aversione ab incommutabili bono, non enim qui fornicatur intendit a Deo recedere, sed carnali delectatione frui, ex quo sequitur quod a Deo recedat. Reply to Objection 1. In every mortal sin there is, in some way, aversion from the immutable good, and conversion to a mutable good, but not always in the same way. Because, since the theological virtues have God for their object, the sins which are contrary to them, such as hatred of God, despair and unbelief, consist principally in aversion from the immutable good; but, consequently, they imply conversion to a mutable good, in so far as the soul that is a deserter from God, must necessarily turn to other things. Other sins, however, consist principally in conversion to a mutable good, and, consequently, in aversion from the immutable good: because the fornicator intends, not to depart from God, but to enjoy carnal pleasure, the result of which is that he departs from God.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ex radice virtutis potest aliquid procedere dupliciter. Uno modo, directe ex parte ipsius virtutis, sicut actus procedit ex habitu, et hoc modo ex virtuosa radice non potest aliquod peccatum procedere; hoc enim sensu Augustinus dicit, in libro de Lib. Arb., quod virtute nemo male utitur. Alio modo procedit aliquid ex virtute indirecte sive occasionaliter. Et sic nihil prohibet aliquod peccatum ex aliqua virtute procedere, sicut interdum de virtutibus aliqui superbiunt, secundum illud Augustini, superbia bonis operibus insidiatur ut pereant. Et hoc modo ex timore Dei vel ex horrore propriorum peccatorum contingit desperatio, inquantum his bonis aliquis male utitur, occasionem ab eis accipiens desperandi. Reply to Objection 2. A thing may grow from a virtuous root in two ways: first, directly and on the part of the virtue itself; even as an act proceeds from a habit: and in this way no sin can grow from a virtuous root, for in this sense Augustine declared (De Lib. Arb. ii, 18,19) that "no man makes evil use of virtue." Secondly, a thing proceeds from a virtue indirectly, or is occasioned by a virtue, and in this way nothing hinders a sin proceeding from a virtue: thus sometimes men pride themselves of their virtues, according to Augustine (Ep. ccxi): "Pride lies in wait for good works that they may die." On this way fear of God or horror of one's own sins may lead to despair, in so far as man makes evil use of those good things, by allowing them to be an occasion of despair.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod damnati non sunt in statu sperandi, propter impossibilitatem reditus ad beatitudinem. Et ideo quod non sperant non imputatur eis ad culpam, sed est pars damnationis ipsorum. Sicut etiam in statu viae si quis desperaret de eo quod non est natus adipisci, vel quod non est debitum adipisci, non esset peccatum, puta si medicus desperat de curatione alicuius infirmi, vel si aliquis desperat se fore divitias adepturum. Reply to Objection 3. The damned are outside the pale of hope on account of the impossibility of returning to happiness: hence it is not imputed to them that they hope not, but it is a part of their damnation. Even so, it would be no sin for a wayfarer to despair of obtaining that which he had no natural capacity for obtaining, or which was not due to be obtained by him; for instance, if a physician were to despair of healing some sick man, or if anyone were to despair of ever becoming rich.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod desperatio sine infidelitate esse non possit. Certitudo enim spei a fide derivatur. Sed manente causa non tollitur effectus. Ergo non potest aliquis certitudinem spei amittere desperando nisi fide sublata. Objection 1. It would seem that there can be no despair without unbelief. For the certainty of hope is derived from faith; and so long as the cause remains the effect is not done away. Therefore a man cannot lose the certainty of hope, by despairing, unless his faith be removed.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, praeferre culpam propriam bonitati vel misericordiae divinae est negare infinitatem divinae misericordiae vel bonitatis, quod est infidelitatis. Sed qui desperat culpam suam praefert misericordiae vel bonitati divinae, secundum illud Gen. IV, maior est iniquitas mea quam ut veniam merear. Ergo quicumque desperat est infidelis. Objection 2. Further, to prefer one's own guilt to God's mercy and goodness, is to deny the infinity of God's goodness and mercy, and so savors of unbelief. But whoever despairs, prefers his own guilt to the Divine mercy and goodness, according to Genesis 4:13: "My iniquity is greater than that I may deserve pardon." Therefore whoever despairs, is an unbeliever.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, quicumque incidit in haeresim damnatam est infidelis. Sed desperans videtur incidere in haeresim damnatam, scilicet Novatianorum, qui dicunt peccata non remitti post Baptismum. Ergo videtur quod quicumque desperat sit infidelis. Objection 3. Further, whoever falls into a condemned heresy, is an unbeliever. But he that despairs seems to fall into a condemned heresy, viz. that of the Novatians, who say that there is no pardon for sins after Baptism. Therefore it seems that whoever despairs, is an unbeliever.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod remoto posteriori non removetur prius. Sed spes est posterior fide, ut supra dictum est. Ergo remota spe potest remanere fides. Non ergo quicumque desperat est infidelis. On the contrary, If we remove that which follows, that which precedes remains. But hope follows faith, as stated above (Question 17, Article 7). Therefore when hope is removed, faith can remain; so that, not everyone who despairs, is an unbeliever.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod infidelitas pertinet ad intellectum, desperatio vero ad vim appetitivam. Intellectus autem universalium est, sed vis appetitiva movetur ad particularia, est enim motus appetitivus ab anima ad res, quae in seipsis particulares sunt. Contingit autem aliquem habentem rectam existimationem in universali circa motum appetitivum non recte se habere, corrupta eius aestimatione in particulari, quia necesse est quod ab aestimatione in universali ad appetitum rei particularis perveniatur mediante aestimatione particulari, ut dicitur in III de anima; sicut a propositione universali non infertur conclusio particularis nisi assumendo particularem. Et inde est quod aliquis habens rectam fidem in universali deficit in motu appetitivo circa particulare, corrupta particulari eius aestimatione per habitum vel per passionem. Sicut ille qui fornicatur, eligendo fornicationem ut bonum sibi ut nunc, habet corruptam aestimationem in particulari, cum tamen retineat universalem aestimationem veram secundum fidem, scilicet quod fornicatio sit mortale peccatum. Et similiter aliquis, retinendo in universali veram aestimationem fidei, scilicet quod est remissio peccatorum in Ecclesia, potest pati motum desperationis, quasi sibi in tali statu existenti non sit sperandum de venia, corrupta aestimatione eius circa particulare. Et per hunc modum potest esse desperatio sine infidelitate, sicut et alia peccata mortalia. I answer that, Unbelief pertains to the intellect, but despair, to the appetite: and the intellect is about universals, while the appetite is moved in connection with particulars, since the appetitive movement is from the soul towards things, which, in themselves, are particular. Now it may happen that a man, while having a right opinion in the universal, is not rightly disposed as to his appetitive movement, his estimate being corrupted in a particular matter, because, in order to pass from the universal opinion to the appetite for a particular thing, it is necessary to have a particular estimate (De Anima iii, 2), just as it is impossible to infer a particular conclusion from an universal proposition, except through the holding of a particular proposition. Hence it is that a man, while having right faith, in the universal, fails in an appetitive movement, in regard to some particular, his particular estimate being corrupted by a habit or a passion, just as the fornicator, by choosing fornication as a good for himself at this particular moment, has a corrupt estimate in a particular matter, although he retains the true universal estimate according to faith, viz. that fornication is a mortal sin. On the same way, a man while retaining in the universal, the true estimate of faith, viz. that there is in the Church the power of forgiving sins, may suffer a movement of despair, to wit, that for him, being in such a state, there is no hope of pardon, his estimate being corrupted in a particular matter. On this way there can be despair, just as there can be other mortal sins, without belief.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod effectus tollitur non solum sublata causa prima, sed etiam sublata causa secunda. Unde motus spei auferri potest non solum sublata universali aestimatione fidei, quae est sicut causa prima certitudinis spei; sed etiam sublata aestimatione particulari, quae est sicut secunda causa. Reply to Objection 1. The effect is done away, not only when the first cause is removed, but also when the secondary cause is removed. Hence the movement of hope can be done away, not only by the removal of the universal estimate of faith, which is, so to say, the first cause of the certainty of hope, but also by the removal of the particular estimate, which is the secondary cause, as it were.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod si quis in universali aestimaret misericordiam Dei non esse infinitam, esset infidelis. Hoc autem non existimat desperans, sed quod sibi in statu illo, propter aliquam particularem dispositionem, non sit de divina misericordia sperandum. Reply to Objection 2. If anyone were to judge, in universal, that God's mercy is not infinite, he would be an unbeliever. But he who despairs judges not thus, but that, for him in that state, on account of some particular disposition, there is no hope of the Divine mercy.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 2 ad 3 Et similiter dicendum ad tertium quod Novatiani in universali negant remissionem peccatorum fieri in Ecclesia. The same answer applies to the Third Objection, since the Novatians denied, in universal, that there is remission of sins in the Church.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod desperatio non sit maximum peccatorum. Potest enim esse desperatio absque infidelitate, sicut dictum est. Sed infidelitas est maximum peccatorum, quia subruit fundamentum spiritualis aedificii. Ergo desperatio non est maximum peccatorum. Objection 1. It would seem that despair is not the greatest of sins. For there can be despair without unbelief, as stated above (Article 2). But unbelief is the greatest of sins because it overthrows the foundation of the spiritual edifice. Therefore despair is not the greatest of sins.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, maiori bono maius malum opponitur; ut patet per philosophum, in VIII Ethic. Sed caritas est maior spe, ut dicitur I Cor. XIII. Ergo odium est maius peccatum quam desperatio. Objection 2. Further, a greater evil is opposed to a greater good, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. viii, 10). But charity is greater than hope, according to 1 Corinthians 13:13. Therefore hatred of God is a greater sin than despair.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, in peccato desperationis est solum inordinata aversio a Deo. Sed in aliis peccatis est non solum aversio inordinata, sed etiam inordinata conversio. Ergo peccatum desperationis non est gravius, sed minus aliis. Objection 3. Further, in the sin of despair there is nothing but inordinate aversion from God: whereas in other sins there is not only inordinate aversion from God, but also an inordinate conversion. Therefore the sin of despair is not more but less grave than other sins.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra, peccatum insanabile videtur esse gravissimum, secundum illud Ierem. XXX, insanabilis fractura tua, pessima plaga tua. Sed peccatum desperationis est insanabile, secundum illud Ierem. XV, plaga mea desperabilis renuit curari. Ergo desperatio est gravissimum peccatum. On the contrary, An incurable sin seems to be most grievous, according to Jeremiah 30:12: "Thy bruise is incurable, thy wound is very grievous." Now the sin of despair is incurable, according to Jeremiah 15:18: "My wound is desperate so as to refuse to be healed." [Vulgate: 'Why is my wound,' etc.] Therefore despair is a most grievous sin.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod peccata quae opponuntur virtutibus theologicis sunt secundum suum genus aliis peccatis graviora. Cum enim virtutes theologicae habeant Deum pro obiecto, peccata eis opposita important directe et principaliter aversionem a Deo. In quolibet autem peccato mortali principalis ratio mali et gravitas est ex hoc quod avertit a Deo, si enim posset esse conversio ad bonum commutabile sine aversione a Deo, quamvis esset inordinata, non esset peccatum mortale. Et ideo illud quod primo et per se habet aversionem a Deo est gravissimum inter peccata mortalia. Virtutibus autem theologicis opponuntur infidelitas, desperatio et odium Dei. Inter quae odium et infidelitas, si desperationi comparentur, invenientur secundum se quidem, idest secundum rationem propriae speciei, graviora. Infidelitas enim provenit ex hoc quod homo ipsam Dei veritatem non credit; odium vero Dei provenit ex hoc quod voluntas hominis ipsi divinae bonitati contrariatur; desperatio autem ex hoc quod homo non sperat se bonitatem Dei participare. Ex quo patet quod infidelitas et odium Dei sunt contra Deum secundum quod in se est; desperatio autem secundum quod eius bonum participatur a nobis. Unde maius peccatum est, secundum se loquendo, non credere Dei veritatem, vel odire Deum, quam non sperare consequi gloriam ab ipso. Sed si comparetur desperatio ad alia duo peccata ex parte nostra, sic desperatio est periculosior, quia per spem revocamur a malis et introducimur in bona prosequenda; et ideo, sublata spe, irrefrenate homines labuntur in vitia, et a bonis laboribus retrahuntur. Unde super illud Proverb. XXIV, si desperaveris lapsus in die angustiae, minuetur fortitudo tua, dicit Glossa, nihil est execrabilius desperatione, quam qui habet et in generalibus huius vitae laboribus, et, quod peius est, in fidei certamine constantiam perdit. Et Isidorus dicit, in libro de summo bono, perpetrare flagitium aliquod mors animae est, sed desperare est descendere in Infernum. I answer that, Those sins which are contrary to the theological virtues are in themselves more grievous than others: because, since the theological virtues have God for their object, the sins which are opposed to them imply aversion from God directly and principally. Now every mortal sin takes its principal malice and gravity from the fact of its turning away from God, for if it were possible to turn to a mutable good, even inordinately, without turning away from God, it would not be a mortal sin. Consequently a sin which, first and of its very nature, includes aversion from God, is most grievous among mortal sins. Now unbelief, despair and hatred of God are opposed to the theological virtues: and among them, if we compare hatred of God and unbelief to despair, we shall find that, in themselves, that is, in respect of their proper species, they are more grievous. For unbelief is due to a man not believing God's own truth; while the hatred of God arises from man's will being opposed to God's goodness itself; whereas despair consists in a man ceasing to hope for a share of God's goodness. Hence it is clear that unbelief and hatred of God are against God as He is in Himself, while despair is against Him, according as His good is partaken of by us. Wherefore strictly speaking it is more grievous sin to disbelieve God's truth, or to hate God, than not to hope to receive glory from Him. If, however, despair be compared to the other two sins from our point of view, then despair is more dangerous, since hope withdraws us from evils and induces us to seek for good things, so that when hope is given up, men rush headlong into sin, and are drawn away from good works. Wherefore a gloss on Proverbs 24:10, "If thou lose hope being weary in the day of distress, thy strength shall be diminished," says: "Nothing is more hateful than despair, for the man that has it loses his constancy both in the every day toils of this life, and, what is worse, in the battle of faith." And Isidore says (De Sum. Bono ii, 14): "To commit a crime is to kill the soul, but to despair is to fall into hell."
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 3 ad arg. Et per hoc patet responsio ad obiecta.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod desperatio ex acedia non oriatur. Idem enim non procedit ex diversis causis. Desperatio autem futuri saeculi procedit ex luxuria; ut dicit Gregorius, XXXI Moral. Non ergo procedit ex acedia. Objection 1. It would seem that despair does not arise from sloth. Because different causes do not give rise to one same effect. Now despair of the future life arises from lust, according to Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45). Therefore it does not arise from sloth.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, sicut spei opponitur desperatio, ita gaudio spirituali opponitur acedia. Sed gaudium spirituale procedit ex spe, secundum illud Rom. XII, spe gaudentes. Ergo acedia procedit ex desperatione, et non e converso. Objection 2. Further, just as despair is contrary to hope, so is sloth contrary to spiritual joy. But spiritual joy arises from hope, according to Romans 12:12, "rejoicing in hope." Therefore sloth arises from despair, and not vice versa.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, contrariorum contrariae sunt causae. Sed spes, cui opponitur desperatio, videtur procedere ex consideratione divinorum beneficiorum, et maxime ex consideratione incarnationis, dicit enim Augustinus, XII de Trin., nihil tam necessarium fuit ad erigendum spem nostram quam ut demonstraretur nobis quantum nos Deus diligeret. Quid vero huius rei isto indicio manifestius, quam quod Dei filius naturae nostrae dignatus est inire consortium? Ergo desperatio magis procedit ex negligentia huius considerationis quam ex acedia. Objection 3. Further, contrary effects have contrary causes. Now hope, the contrary of which is despair, seems to proceed from the consideration of Divine favors, especially the Incarnation, for Augustine says (De Trin. xiii, 10): "Nothing was so necessary to raise our hope, than that we should be shown how much God loves us. Now what greater proof could we have of this than that God's Son should deign to unite Himself to our nature?" Therefore despair arises rather from the neglect of the above consideration than from sloth.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod Gregorius, XXXI Moral., desperationem enumerat inter ea quae procedunt ex acedia. On the contrary, Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) reckons despair among the effects of sloth.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, obiectum spei est bonum arduum possibile vel per se vel per alium. Dupliciter ergo potest in aliquo spes deficere de beatitudine obtinenda, uno modo, quia non reputat eam ut bonum arduum; alio modo, quia non reputat eam ut possibilem adipisci vel per se vel per alium. Ad hoc autem quod bona spiritualia non sapiunt nobis quasi bona, vel non videantur nobis magna bona, praecipue perducimur per hoc quod affectus noster est infectus amore delectationum corporalium, inter quas praecipuae sunt delectationes venereae, nam ex affectu harum delectationum contingit quod homo fastidit bona spiritualia, et non sperat ea quasi quaedam bona ardua. Et secundum hoc desperatio causatur ex luxuria. Ad hoc autem quod aliquod bonum arduum non aestimet ut possibile sibi adipisci per se vel per alium, perducitur ex nimia deiectione; quae quando in affectu hominis dominatur, videtur ei quod nunquam possit ad aliquod bonum relevari. Et quia acedia est tristitia quaedam deiectiva spiritus, ideo per hunc modum desperatio ex acedia generatur. Hoc autem est proprium obiectum spei, scilicet quod sit possibile, nam bonum et arduum etiam ad alias passiones pertinent. Unde specialius oritur ex acedia. Potest tamen oriri ex luxuria, ratione iam dicta. I answer that, As stated above (17, 1; I-II, 40, 1), the object of hope is a good, difficult but possible to obtain by oneself or by another. Consequently the hope of obtaining happiness may be lacking in a person in two ways: first, through his not deeming it an arduous good; secondly, through his deeming it impossible to obtain either by himself, or by another. Now, the fact that spiritual goods taste good to us no more, or seem to be goods of no great account, is chiefly due to our affections being infected with the love of bodily pleasures, among which, sexual pleasures hold the first place: for the love of those pleasures leads man to have a distaste for spiritual things, and not to hope for them as arduous goods. On this way despair is caused by lust. On the other hand, the fact that a man deems an arduous good impossible to obtain, either by himself or by another, is due to his being over downcast, because when this state of mind dominates his affections, it seems to him that he will never be able to rise to any good. And since sloth is a sadness that casts down the spirit, in this way despair is born of sloth. Now this is the proper object of hope--that the thing is possible, because the good and the arduous regard other passions also. Hence despair is born of sloth in a more special way: though it may arise from lust, for the reason given above.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 4 ad 1 Unde patet responsio ad primum. This suffices for the Reply to the First Objection.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut philosophus dicit, in II Rhetor., sicut spes facit delectationem, ita etiam homines in delectationibus existentes efficiuntur maioris spei. Et per hunc etiam modum homines in tristitiis existentes facilius in desperationem incidunt, secundum illud II ad Cor. II, ne maiori tristitia absorbeatur qui eiusmodi est. Sed tamen quia spei obiectum est bonum, in quod naturaliter tendit appetitus, non autem refugit ab eo naturaliter, sed solum propter aliquod impedimentum superveniens; ideo directius quidem ex spe oritur gaudium, desperatio autem e converso ex tristitia. Reply to Objection 2. According to the Philosopher (Rhet. i, 11), just as hope gives rise to joy, so, when a man is joyful he has greater hope: and, accordingly, those who are sorrowful fall the more easily into despair, according to 2 Corinthians 2:7: "Lest . . . such an one be swallowed up by overmuch sorrow." Yet, since the object of hope is good, to which the appetite tends naturally, and which it shuns, not naturally but only on account of some supervening obstacle, it follows that, more directly, hope gives birth to joy, while on the contrary despair is born of sorrow.
IIª-IIae q. 20 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod ipsa etiam negligentia considerandi divina beneficia ex acedia provenit. Homo enim affectus aliqua passione praecipue illa cogitat quae ad illam pertinent passionem. Unde homo in tristitiis constitutus non de facili aliqua magna et iucunda cogitat, sed solum tristia, nisi per magnum conatum se avertat a tristibus. Reply to Objection 3. This very neglect to consider the Divine favors arises from sloth. For when a man is influenced by a certain passion he considers chiefly the things which pertain to that passion: so that a man who is full of sorrow does not easily think of great and joyful things, but only of sad things, unless by a great effort he turn his thoughts away from sadness.


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