The Divine Nature and Attributes.
The Blessed Trinity.
The Creation; Angels, the World, Man.
The Divine Government.
CATECHISM OF THE "SUMMA THEOLOGICA"
I. OF GOD'S EXISTENCE
Does God exist?
Yes, God exists (II.).
Why do you say that God exists?
Because if God did not exist, nothing would exist. (II. 3).
How do you prove that if God did not exist nothing would exist?
It is proved by this argument: That which exists through God only, would not exist if God did not exist. But whatever exists that is not God, exists through God only. Therefore, if God did not exist nothing would exist.
But how do you prove that whatever exists that is not God, exists through God only?
By this argument: Final analysis shows that that which does not exist of itself, can only exist through some other which exists of itself; and this latter we call God. But whatever exists that is not God, does not exist of itself. Therefore final analysis shows that whatever exists that whatever is not God, exists through God only.
But how do you prove that whatever exists that is not God, does not exist of itself?
By this argument: That does not exist of itself, which has need of some other. But whatever exists that is not God, has need of some other. Therefore whatever exists that is not God, does not exist of itself.
But why is it that whatsoever has need of another, does not exist of itself?
Because that which exists of itself, neither depends nor could it depend upon anything or anybody; on the other hand, whatever has need of something or somebody, depends upon this something or this somebody.
But why do you assert that what exists of itself neither depends nor could depend on something or on somebody?
Because, existing of itself, it has everything in itself and through itself, and can receive nothing either from anything or from anybody.
Therefore every existing thing that has need of some other manifestly proves by its very existence that God exists?
Yes. Every existing thing that has need of some other manifestly proves by its very existence that God exists.
What then do those say who deny the existence of God?
They say that what has need of all has need of nothing and conversely.
But surely that is a contradiction?
Precisely; one cannot deny God without falling into contradiction.
Is it then foolish to deny the existence of God?
Yes, it is indeed foolish to deny the existence of God.
II. OF GOD'S NATURE AND ATTRIBUTES
Who is God?
God is a spirit, in three persons, the creator an sovereign Lord of all things.
What is meant by saying that God is a spirit?
By this is meant that He has no body, as we have, and that He is free from all matter, and that in Him there is nothing distinct from His being (III. 1-4).
What does this imply in God?
It implies that God is not a being like any other being which is this or that determined being; for He is in the true sense of the word most transcendental and most absolute; He is Very Being (III. 4).
Is God perfect?
Yes, God is perfect, for He lacks nothing (IV. 1).
Is God good?
Yes, God is Very Goodness; for He is the beginning and the end of all love (VI.).
Is God infinite?
Yes, God is infinite, for He has no limits (VII. 1).
Is God everywhere?
Yes, God is everywhere, for all that is, is in Him and through Him (VIII.).
Is God unchangeable?
Yes, God is unchangeable because possessing all things He can acquire nothing (IX.).
Is God eternal?
Yes, God is eternal because in Him there is no succession (X.).
Are there several Gods?
No, there is only one God (XI.).
Why are these divers attributes affirmed of God?
Because if He had them not, He would not be God.
How do you prove that if God did not have these attributes He would no longer be God?
Because God would no longer be God if He were not He who exists of Himself. But He who exists of Himself must be perfect, since He contains all in Himself; and if He is perfect He is good of necessity. He must be infinite, for if not something or other could act on Him, and thereby limit Him; and, if He is infinite, He must be everywhere. He must be unchangeable, for if not there would be something whereof He had need, and if He is unchangeable He is Eternal, since time implies sucession which involves change. On the other hand, since He is infinitely perfect He can be only one; for two things infinitely perfect are absolutely impossible, since there would be nought in one whereby it was distinguished from the other (III.-XI.).
Can we see God in this life?
No, we cannot see God in this life, the obstacle being our mortal body (XII. 11).
Can we see God in heaven?
We can see God in heaven with the eyes of the glorified soul (XII. 1-10).
How can we know God in this life?
We can know God in this life by reason and by faith (XII. 12, 13).
What is meant by knowing God in this life by our reason?
It is to know God through the creatures He has made (XII. 12).
What is it to know Him in this life by faith?
It is to know God by what He has told us Himself about Himself (XII. 13).
Of these two kinds of knowledge that we can have of God which is the more perfect?
Without doubt, the more perfect is the knowledge we have of Him by faith. For by it we see God in a light wherein the eye of reason fails; moreover, even though there are shadows and sometimes an impenetrable darkness for us here below, nevertheless the light of faith is none other than the dawn of heaven's vision which is to be our happiness through all eternity (XII. 13).
When we speak of God, or endeavour to express our thought concerning Him, have the words we use a correct meaning?
Most certainly: for these words, although used primarily to designate the perfections in a creature, can be transferred to designate what in God corresponds to these very perfections (XIII. 1-4).
When applied to God and to creatures, have these word the same meaning or one wholly different?
When applied to God they have the same meaning but in a superlative degree, that is, when used to designate perfections in creatures in the fulness of their meaning they truly signify these perfections: whereas when use to designate the divine perfections, or whatever is attributed to God, if all that they tell is verily in God they do not tell fully the perfections they express in God (XIII. 5)
Then whatever we may tell of God, and however exalted be our expressions concerning Him, for us God ever remains unutterable?
Yes; but in this life we cannot do anything more salutary, more perfect, and more noble than speak of Him and of all that concerns Him even though our thoughts fall short of Him and our speech fail (XIII. 6-12).
III. OF THE DIVINE OPERATIONS
What is the life of God?
He lives in His knowledge and in His love (XIV.-XXVI.).
Does God know all things?
Yes (XIV. 5).
Does God know all that happens on earth?
Yes (XIV. 11).
Does God know our secret thoughts?
Yes (XIV. 10).
Does God know the future?
Yes (XIV. 13).
How is this knowledge in God?
The reason is because God who is utterly immaterial has a mind that is infinite. Hence no thing that is, that will be, or can be in no matter what being is hidden from Him, since everything is related to His knowledge as effects are related to their causes (XIV. 1-5).
Has God a will?
Yes; for wheresoever there is mind, there also must be will (XIX. 1).
Do all things depend on the will of God?
Yes; because God's will is the first and supreme cause of all things (XIX. 4-6).
Does God love all His creatures?
Yes, for He made them out of love only (XX. 2).
Does God's love for His creatures produce any effect in them?
Yes, the effect of God's love in His creatures is the good found in them (XX. 3,4).
Is God just?
Yes, God is Very Justice (XXI. 1).
Why is God Very Justice?
God is Very Justice because He gives to each creature what is due to its nature (XXI. 5-2).
Is there any special kind of God's justice towards men?
Yes; and it consists in this, that He rewards the good and punishes the wicked (XXI. 1, Obj. 3).
Does God reward the good and punish the wicked in this life?
Only in part does God reward the good and punish the wicked in this life.
Where does God fully reward the good and punish the wicked?
In heaven God fully rewards the good, and in hell fully punishes the wicked.
Is God merciful?
Yes (XXI. 3).
In what does the mercy of God consist?
It consists in this, that He gives to each thing even more than is due to its nature; likewise He rewards the good more fully than they deserve and punishes the wicked even less than they deserve (XXI. 4.).
Has God any care of the world?
Yes; and it is called providence (XXI. 1).
Does the providence of God extend to all things?
Yes, for there is nothing in the world that God has not foreseen and pre-ordained from all eternity (XXII. 2).
Does it extend also to inanimate things?
Yes, for they are a part of God's handiwork (XXII. 2, Obj. 5).
Does it extend to the free acts of man?
Yes; and by this is meant that every free act of man is subject to the ordering of Divine Providence, and in these acts there is nothing but what God ordains or permits; for in no sense does man's liberty imply man's independence of God (XXII. 2, Obj. 4).
Has God's providence in regard to the elect any special name?
Yes, it is called predestination (XXIII. 1).
What does predestination imply with regard to those whom it concerns?
It implies that these one day shall possess the happiness of heaven (XXIII. 2).
What are those called who never attain to this happiness?
They are called the reproved or the non-elect (XXIII. 3).
Why is it that the predestined attain this happiness while the reproved or the non-elect do not?
It is because God chooses the predestined by a love of predilection, in virtue of which He so arranges all things in this life that ultimately they reach the happiness of heaven (XXIII. 4).
And why is it that the reproved or the non-elect do not ultimately reach the same happiness?
It is because God does not love them with the same love as He loves the predestined (XXIII. 3, Obj. 1).
But surely this is unjust on God's part?
No, it is not unjust, because no one has a right to the happiness of heaven; and those who reach heaven do so by the grace of God only (XXIII. 3, Obj. 2).
But those who do not reach heaven, will they be punished for not getting there?
They will not be punished for not getting there except in so far as their sins prevented them from getting there (XXIII. 3, Obj. 3).
Is it true that man is prevented from reaching heaven by his own fault?
Yes, it is through man's own fault if he does not reach the happiness of heaven which God offers to all; man who is free either does not respond to the offer made him by God or he spurns it by seeking his own ends (ibid.).
Does this despisal or the choosing of one's own ends outrage God?
Yes, such is an outrage against God; moreover when this is due to one's own personal sin, it merits the most severe chastisement (ibid.).
Do those who respond to God's offer and who reach the happiness of heaven owe it to God that they responded to His offer, and is it due to Him that they merit their happiness?
Yes, they owe it all to the predestination of God (XXIII. 3, Obj. 2).
Does God make this choice from all eternity?
Yes (XXIII. 3, Obj. 2).
What does this choice imply with regard to those whom it concerns?
It implies that God has fixed for them a place in heaven and that by His grace He guides them towards heaven which eventually they reach (XXIII. 5-7).
What should men do at the thought of this eternal choice of predestination?
They should rely completely on the grace of God in the endeavour to know for certain, in so far as this is possible on earth, that they are among the elect (XXIII. 8).
Is God almighty?
Yes (XXV. 1-6).
Why is God almighty?
Because since God is Very Being, whatever is not opposed to the idea of being is dependent upon Him (XXV. 3).
Is God happy?
Yes, God is Very Happiness; for He enjoys in an infinite manner the infinite good which is none other than Himself (XXVI. 1-4).
IV. OF THE DIVINE PERSONS
What is meant by saying that God is a spirit in three persons?
By this is meant that each of these three persons is the self-same spirit, who is God, with all the attributes of divinity (XXX. 2).
What are the names of the three persons?
They are called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Who is God the Father?
God the Father is He who, without principle Himself, begets the Son, and from whom proceeds the Holy Ghost.
Who is God the Son?
God the Son is He who is begotten of the Father, and from whom (with the Father as co-principle) proceeds the Holy Ghost.
Who is God the Holy Ghost?
The Holy Ghost is He who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Are these three divine persons distinct from God Himself?
Are they distinct from each other?
What is understood by saying that the divine persons are distinct from each other?
By this is understood that the Father is not the Son nor the Holy Ghost; that the Son is not the Father nor the Holy Ghost; and that the Holy Ghost is not the Father nor the Son.
Can these three persons be separated from each other?
Were they together from all eternity?
Has the Father, in relation to the Son, all that we have affirmed of God?
And have the Son in relation to the Father, and the Father and Son in relation to the Holy Ghost, all that we have affirmed of God?
And in relation to the Father and the Son, has the Holy Ghost likewise all we have affirmed of God?
Are these three, thus related to each other from all eternity, three Gods?
No. They are not three Gods, but three persons, each of whom is identified with the self-same God, and yet withal remain distinct from each other.
Do these three persons form a veritable society?
Yes, they form a veritable society, and such as is the most perfect of all societies (XXXI., Obj. 1).
Why is this society the most perfect of all societies?
The reason is because each of these three is alike infinite in perfection, in duration, in knowledge, in love, in power, and in happiness; and hence their joy in each other is infinitely rapturous.
How do we know there are three persons in God?
We know this by faith.
Could reason, without the help of faith, know that there are three persons in God?
No (XXXII. 1).
When faith tells us there are three persons in God, can reason understand this?
No. Even though faith tell us this, reason fails to understand (XXXII. 1, Obj. 2).
What are these truths called that are beyond reason's grasp and are known by faith only?
They are called mysteries.
Is the doctrine of the three Divine Persons a mystery?
Yes; and it is the most inscrutable of all mysteries.
What is this mystery of the three Divine Persons called?
It is called the mystery of the Holy Trinity (XXXI. 1).
Shall we ever come to know the Holy Trinity in itself?
Yes, some day we shall know the Holy Trinity in itself, for this knowledge will constitute our eternal happiness in heaven.
Is it possible on earth to get a glimpse of the beauties of this mystery of the Holy Trinity by a consideration of those actions which are proper to intellectual beings?
Yes, for these actions imply in an intellectual being the twofold relation of principle and term whether the action be one of thought or of love; for faith teaches us that in God in the act which is thought, the Father has the nature of the principle that expresses and the Word the nature of the term expressed; and in the act which is loving, the Father and the Son are co-principles of love in relation to the Holy Ghost who has the nature of the one loved.
What then is the ultimate reason of the mystery of the Holy Trinity in God?
It is the infinite richness or fecundity of the divine nature which demands the existence of these mysterious processions, which are called processions of origin (XXVII. 1).
What are these processions of origin called in God?
They are called generation and procession.
What is the consequence of this generation and this procession in God?
The consequence is that between the two terms of generation and the two terms of procession there are real relations which are constituted by these different terms.
What are these relations in God?
They are four in number, and are called Paternity, Filiation, Active Spiration, and Procession (or Passive Spiration) (XXVIII. 4).
Are these divine relations the same as the Divine Persons?
Yes (XL. 1).
Why is it then that there are four divine relations and yet only three Divine Persons?
The reason is because one of these relations, viz., Active Spiration, not being relatively opposed either to Paternity or Filiation, but on the contrary belonging to both Father and Son as one principle, it follows that the two persons, Father and Son, the one constituted by Paternity the other by Filiation, can be the subject of Active Spiration, which thereby does not constitute a separate person but which belongs equally to the person of the Father and the person of the Son (XXX. 2).
Is there any kind of order among the Divine Persons?
Yes, there is the order of origin, owing to which the Son can be sent by the Father, and the Holy Ghost can be sent by the Father and the Son (XLII., XLIII.).
When the Divine Persons produce acts other than those known as notional acts (which are the acts of generation and spiration), are these acts produced by the three persons in common?
Yes; and this is the reason why the act of thinking and the act of loving belong to all the three persons; and likewise all those actions which produce an effect outside God (XXXIX., XLI.).
But are there not certain actions or certain sources of action which are attributed more particularly to this or that person?
Yes. There are what are called certain attributions of this kind to which these acts or sources of act give rise according to the distinctive character of this or of that person: for this reason by way of appropriation we attribute power to the Father, for instance, wisdom to the Son, and goodness to the Holy Ghost, although these belong equally to all three (XXXIX. 7, 8; XLV. 6).
When therefore we speak of God in His relation to the world, do we always imply that it is God as one in nature and as three in person that acts?
Yes, except when we speak of the person of God the Son in the mystery of the Incarnation (XLV. 6).
V. OF THE CREATION
What is meant by saying that God is the Creator of all things?
It is meant that God made all things out of nothing (XLIV., XLV.).
There was then nothing at all beside God before He made all things?
Of a truth there was nothing beside God before He made all things, He Himself being by Himself, and all things else through Him (XLIV. 1).
When did God thus make all things out of nothing?
God made all things out of nothing when it pleased His will (XLIV.).
Had He so wished then, He need not have created the things He has made?
It is even so.
Why therefore did God wish to create at some given moment the things He has made?
God created the things He has made to make manifest His glory (XLIV. 4).
What is meant by this?
It is meant that God wished to make manifest the abundance of His goodness by communicating to others in part something of the infinite goodness which is none other than Himself.
It was not then through need, nor in order to acquire some perfection, that God created the things that He has made?
No, on the contrary, it was merely to give unto others something of what He Himself possesses in an infinite degree and out of sheer goodness that He created the things He has made.
VI. OF THE WORLD
What name is given to the sum of God's creation?
It is called the world or the universe (XLVII. 4).
Is then the world or the universe the work of God's hand?
Yes (XLVII. 1,2,3).
Of what is the world or universe composed?
It is composed of three categories of being: pure spirits, bodies, and spirits joined to body.
Is God Himself the Creator of these pure spirits, these bodies, and these spirits joined to body?
Yes, God Himself is the Creator of all these.
Did God alone, by Himself, create these things?
Yes, for God alone can create (XLV. 5).
How did God, alone and by Himself, make the world of spirits and bodies?
He did it by His Word together with His Love (XLV. 6).
VII. OF THE ANGELS: THEIR NATURE
Why did God wish there should be pure spirits in His work of creation?
He willed there should be pure spirits because they were destined to be the crowning of His work (L. 1).
Why are these pure spirits the crowning of God's work? Because they are the highest, the most perfect, and the most beautiful part of His creation (ibid.).
What is the nature of these pure spirits?
Pure spirits are substances free from all body and from all matter (L. i,z).
Are these pure spirits very numerous?
Yes (L. 3).
Is their number greater than that of all other created things?
But why are they so numerous?
Because the most beautiful part of God's creation ought to dominate by its grandeur all the rest of His creation (ibid.).
What are these pure spirits called?
They are called angels.
Why are they called angels?
Because they are the messengers whom God employs for the administering of the rest of His creation.
Can the angels take to themselves a body like ours?
No, the angels cannot take to themselves a body like ours; if at any time they reveal themselves to men in a bodily form, this form has only the external appearance of a body (LI. 1,2,3).
Do the angels exist somewhere?
Yes (LII. 1).
Ordinarily speaking, where are the angels?
Their ordinary place is in heaven (LXI. 4.)
Can angels pass from one place to another?
Yes (LIII. 1).
Is time necessary for their passing from one place to another?
In an instant the angels can pass from one place to another no matter the distance (LIII. 2).
Are they also able to leave one place gradually and to be present gradually in another place according to will?
Yes, they can do this, for their movement is nought else but a successive application of their power or their activity upon different things or on different parts of the same thing (LIII. 3).
VIII. THE INNER LIFE OF THE ANGELS
What is the life of the angels in so far as they are pure spirits?
Their life as pure spirits consists in knowledge and love.
What kind of knowledge have the angels?
Their knowledge is intellectual (LIV.).
Have the angels a knowledge through sense as we have?
No, there is no such knowledge in the angels (LIV. 5).
Why is there no knowledge through sense in the angels as in us?
Because knowledge through sense is acquired through a body; and the angels have no body (ibid.).
Is the intellectual knowledge of the angels more perfect than ours?
Why is this?
Because their intellectual knowledge is not acquired like ours from the exterior world; moreover they attain to the truth of a thing at a single glance without need of reasoning (LV. a; LVIII. 3,4).
Do the angels know all things?
No, for their nature is finite; God alone knows all things because He is infinite (LIV. 1, 2, 3).
Do they know the totality of creatures?
Yes; for their nature of pure spirit demands that this be so (LV. 2).
Do the angels know all that passes in the external world?
Yes. For the ideas in their minds manifest to them these things according as the latter come into being (ibid.)
Do they know our secret thoughts?
No. For these thoughts depend on our free will, and thereby are not necessarily linked up with external events (LVII. 4).
Is there no means at all whereby the angels can know our secret thoughts?
Yes. Our secret thoughts can become known to them by the revelation of God, or by the person himself revealing them (ibid.).
Do the angels know the future?
No, unless God reveal it to them (LVII. 3).
What kind of love is connatural to the angels?
Connaturally there is in the angels a perfect love of God, love of themselves and of all creatures unless sin, in the supernatural order, does not denaturalize what is free in their love in the natural order (LX.).
IX. OF THE CREATION OF THE ANGELS
Were all the angels created by God Himself?
Yes, for each of them is a pure spirit which can come into being only by way of creation (LXI. 1).
When were all the angels created by God?
The angels were created by God instantaneously at the same time when He created all the contents of the corporal world (LXI. 3).
Were the angels created by God in a locality?
Yes, the harmony of the divine work demanding this (LXI. 4, Obj. i).
What is the locality where the angels were created called?
We call it heaven simply, and sometimes the empyrean heaven (LXI. 4).
What does the empyrean heaven mean?
It means a place full of glory and splendour which is the most beautiful part of the corporal world (ibid.).
Is the empyrean heaven the same as the heaven of the blessed?
Yes (ibid. Obj. 3).
X. OF THE PROBATION OF THE ANGELS
In what state were the angels created?
They were created by God in a state of grace (LXII. 3).
What is meant by saying the angels were created in a state of grace?
By this is meant that at the instant of their creation they received from God a nature adorned with sanctifying grace which made them God's children, and which gave them the wherewith to attain to the glory of life eternal (LXII. i, 2, 3).
Was it by an act of their free will that the angels could attain the glory of life eternal?
Yes (LXII. 4).
In what consisted this act of their free will?
This act consisted in responding to the impulse of grace which inclined them to submit to God and to receive from Him with love and acknowledgment the gift of His glory which He offered to them (ibid.).
Under this impulse of grace, was time at all necessary for the angels to make the choice proposed to them by God?
No, this choice was made by them instantaneously (ibid.).
Did the angels attain to glory as soon as ever they had made this choice?
Yes, they attained to glory on the instant (LXII. 5).
XI. OF THE FALL OF THE BAD ANGELS
Did all the angels make the choice deserving of heaven offered to them by God?
No,for some of them turned away from God (LXIII. 3).
Why did certain angels refuse to turn to God?
Because they were prompted through pride and through the desire of self-sufficiency making themselves like unto God (LXIII. 2, 3).
Was this pride a great sin?
Yes, it was a heinous sin which provoked God's anger on the instant.
What was the result of God's just anger in regard to this sin of the angels?
On the instant God cast the bad angels into hell; and this place will be for ever the scene of their punishment (LXIV. 4).
What are these bad angels who revolted against God and were cast into hell called?
They are called the devils (LXIII. 4).
XII. OF THE CREATION OF MATERIAL SUBSTANCES, AND THE WORK OF THE SIX DAYS
After the creation of pure spirits, what is the second category of beings created by God in the universe?
The second category of beings created by God was bodily substance.
Were all the bodily substances in the world created by God?
Yes (LXV. 5).
Was it then God Himself who created the earth and all that we see in the heavens -- the sun, the moon, the stars -- and did He create the sea and all contained therein?
Yes, of a truth God created all these things Himself.
When did God create this material world?
God created this material world and all contained therein at the same time that He created the world of spirits (LXI. 3; LXVI. 4).
Did God create both the world of matter and the world of spirit in an instant?
Yes, God created both in an instant and at the same time (ibid.).
Was the material world in the first instant the same as we see it to-day?
No (LXVI. 1).
In what state then was the material world created by God?
It was created in a state of chaos.
What is meant by saying it was created in a state of chaos?
By this is meant that God first of all created the elements only, from which the world evolved such as we see it to-day (LXVI. 1, 2).
Who was the cause of this evolution of the world from the primary elements, such as we see it to-day?
God was the cause thereof.
Did God so create the material world that straightway it evolved from the primary elements?
No, for this evolution lasted through several succeeding stages, each of which was due to His divine intervention.
How many such interventions were there whereby the material world was brought to that state in which we see it to-day?
There were six divine interventions.
What are these six interventions called?
They are called the six days of creation (LXXI V. 1, 2).
What did God create on the first day?
On the first day God created the light (LX VII. 4).
On the second day?
The firmament (LXVIII. 1).
On the third day?
On the third day God separated the waters from the land; He also created the vegetable kingdom (LXIX.).
On the fourth day?
On this day God created the sun, the moon, and the stars (LXX. 1).
On the fifth day?
The fishes and the birds (LXXI.).
On the sixth day?
On this day God created the beasts of the earth; and lastly He created man (LXXII.).
How do we know that God thus created the world such as we see it?
We know that God thus created the world such as we see it because He Himself has said so.
Where does God say that He created the world in this wise and such as we see it?
In the first chapter of Genesis, at the very beginning of the Holy Scriptures, God tells us that He made the world in this wise and such as we see it.
Are the sciences in accord with this first chapter of Genesis?
There is no doubt that sciences worthy of the name are and will always be in accord with the first chapter of Genesis.
Why do you say sciences worthy of the name?
Because sciences worthy of the name give true explanations of things as they are; but no science knows better than God Himself the things that He Himself made; and it is God who tells us how He made them in the first chapter of Genesis.
Can there be then any contradiction between the sciences and Holy Scripture on the subject of the creation of the material world?
No, it is not possible for any contradiction to exist between the sciences worthy of the name and Holy Scripture on the subject of the creation of the material world (LXVII.-LXXIV.).
XIII. OF MAN: HIS NATURE; HIS SPIRITUAL AND IMMORTAL SOUL
Is there anything in this world which forms as it were a world apart, a being that is wholly distinct from the rest of the world created by God?
Yes; and this being is man. What is man?
Man is a composite of spirit and body, in whom the world of spirits and the world of bodies in some sort coalesce (LXXV.).
What is the spirit called that is in man?
It is called the soul (LXXV. 1-4).
Is man the only being in the world of bodies that has a soul?
No. Besides man plants and animals have souls.
What is the difference between the soul of man and the souls of plants and animals?
There is this difference, the soul of a plant has only vegetative life, the soul of an animal has both vegetative. and sensitive life, whereas the soul of man has in addition an intellective life.
Is it then by intellective life that man is distinct from all other living beings in this world?
Is this intellective life of the soul of man, in itself, independent of his body?
Yes (LXXV. 2).
Can any reason be given to establish this truth?
Yes; and the reason is because the object of thought is something wholly immaterial.
But how does it follow from this that the human soul in its intellective life is, in itself, independent of body?
This follows because if the soul itself were not wholly immaterial it could not attain by thought to an object wholly immaterial (ibid.).
What follows from this truth?
It follows that the soul of man is immortal (LXXV. 6).
Can it be shown that the immortality of man's soul follows from this truth?
Yes. Because if in the soul there is an act wholly independent of bodily matter, it must itself be independent of bodily matter.
What follows from this truth that the soul is, in itself, independent of bodily matter?
It follows that if the body perishes by separation from the soul, the soul itself does not perish (ibid.).
Will the human soul live for ever?
Why then is the human soul united to a body?
The human soul is united to a body in order to make a substantial whole called man (LXXVI. 1).
Is it not then accidental that the soul is united to a body?
No, for the soul was made to be joined to a body (LXXVI. 1).
What are the effects of the soul upon the body to which it is united?
The soul gives to the body every perfection that the body has, that is it gives to it being, life, and sense; but thought it cannot give, for this is proper to the soul itself
XIV. OF THE VEGETATIVE AND SENSITIVE POWERS
Are there in the soul divers powers corresponding to the divers acts it produces?
Yes, with the only exception of the first perfection which the soul gives to the body, namely, existence; but it gives this not through some power or faculty, but immediately, of itself (LXXVII.).
What powers of the soul give life to the body?
The vegetative powers.
What are these powers?
They are three in number, viz., the power of nutrition, of growth, and of reproduction (LXX VIII. 2).
What faculties of the soul give sense to the body?
The sensitive powers.
What are these powers?
They are twofold: the powers of knowing and the powers of loving.
What are the sensitive powers through which the body knows?
The five external senses (LXXVIII. 3).
What are these powers called?
They are called the powers of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.
And the five external senses, what are they called?
They are called sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch (ibid.).
Are there also any internal sensitive powers of knowing that do not appear externally?
Yes, they are the common (or central) sense, the imagination, instinct (or estimative sense), and memory (LXXVIII. 4).
XV. OF THE MIND AND ITS ACT OF UNDERSTANDING
Are there any other powers of knowing in man?
Yes, there is another faculty of knowing and it is man's chief power.
What is this chief power of knowing in man called?
It is called his reason or intellect (LXXIX. 1).
Is reason and intellect one and the same power of knowing in man?
Yes (LXXIX. 8).
Why are these two names given to the same power?
It is because in the act of knowing man sometimes understands at a glance as it were without reasoning whereas at other times he must reason (ibid.).
Is reasoning an act proper to man?
Yes, because of all beings that are, man alone is able to reason, or has need of reasoning.
Is it a perfection in man to be able to reason?
Yes, but it is an imperfection to have need of reasoning.
Why is it a perfection in man to be able to reason?
Because in this wise man can attain to truth; whereas no creature inferior to man, such as animals which are without reason, can do this.
Why is it on the other hand, an imperfection in man to have need of reasoning?
Because in this wise he attains to truth by slow degrees only, and he is thereby liable to err; whereas God and the angels who have no need of reasoning attain to truth straightway without fear of making a mistake.
What is it to know truth?
To know truth is to know things as they are.
What then is it not to know things as they are?
It is to be in Ignorance or in error.
Is there any difference between being in ignorance and being in error?
Yes, there is a great difference; to be in ignorance is merely not to know things as they are; whereas to be in error is to affirm that a thing is, when it is not, or conversely.
Is it an evil for man to be in error?
Yes, it is a great evil, because man's proper good consists in knowledge of the truth which is the good of his intellect.
Has man a knowledge of the truth at birth?
No, at birth man has no knowledge of the truth; for Ihough he then has an intellect it is in an entirely undeveloped state; its unfolding, necessary for the attainment of truth, awaits the development of the powers of sense which are its handmaids (LXXXIV. 5).
When then does man begin to know truth?
Man begins to know truth when he has attained the use of reason, that is at about the age of seven years.
Can man know all things by his reason?
No, man cannot know all by his reason adequately, that is if one considers his reason within the limits of natural powers (XII. 4; LXXXVI. 2, 4).
What things can man know by the natural force of reason?
By the natural power of his reason man can know things attainable by his senses and all that these things manifest.
Can man know himself by the natural power of his reason?
Yes, because he himself is a thing attainable by the power of sense, and by the help of other things that fall within the scope of his senses, he is able, by reasoning, come to a knowledge of himself (LXXXVII.).
Can man know the angels or pure spirits?
Yes, but he can know them only imperfectly.
Why can he know them only imperfectly?
It is because he cannot know them in themselves reason of their nature; for they do not belong to the category of things attainable by sense, which things a the proper object of man's reason (LXXXVIII. I, 2).
Can man know God in Himself?
No, man cannot know God in Himself by the natur force of his reason, for God is infinite above all things I sense, which alone are the objects proportionate to ti natural power of man's reason (LXXXVIII. 3).
Left then to his natural powers man can know God only imperfectly by his reason?
Is it nevertheless a good thing for man to be able to know God only imperfectly by his reason?
Yes. Indeed it is a great perfection for man to know God by his reason however imperfect the knowledge be; because thereby man is lifted up in an eminent degree above the rest of creatures that are devoid of reason; it is moreover owing to the possibility of this knowledge that God has raised man to the sovereign dignity of being child of His grace; in this happy state man's reason flows God as He is in Himself, at first imperfectly by the light of faith, but at length perfectly by the light of glory (XII. 4, Obj. 3, 5, 8, 10, 13).
By the fact that man can be raised to the dignity of becoming a child of God by grace, is he placed on a level with the angels?
Yes. Raised to the dignity of a child of God by grace, man is in some sort on an equal footing with the angels; indeed he can even ascend higher than they in this order of grace, although in the order of nature he always remains inferior to them (CVIII. 8).
XVI. OF MAN'S POWERS OF LOVING: FREE WILL
Are there any other powers in man beside those of knowing?
Yes, there are also the powers of loving.
What is understood by these powers?
By the powers of loving we understand that there is in man a power by which he is drawn through the medium of his powers of knowing to seek whatsoever presents itself as a good, and to turn away from whatsoever presents itself as an evil.
Are there several powers of loving in man?
They are twofold by reason of the two kinds of knowledge in man.
What are these powers of loving called?
The first is called the heart or the affections in the material sense of the word (LXXXI.); the second is called the will (LXXXII.).
May not man's will also be called the heart?
Yes, but in a higher and wholly immaterial sense of the word.
Which is the more perfect of these two powers of loving?
Is it because man has a will that he is said to be free?
Yes, for his will is not drawn of itself or of necessity to a good except under the general aspect of good; hence provided the good presented to the will is only some particular good the will is master of its own act in so far as it is able to choose or not to choose that particular good (LXXXIII.).
Is man's free will dependent upon his will only?
No, man's free will results from a combination of his will with his reason or intellect.
Is man by his intellect and will, and his power of freedon the king of all creatures in this world?
Yes, this is so; for all things else by their very nature are inferior to man and were made to serve him.
XVII. OF MAN'S ORIGIN OR HIS CREATION BY GOD
Do all men on earth, and all those who preceded then come from one father and one mother?
This first man and this first woman from whom all men come, what were they called?
They were called Adam and Eve.
Who was the author of Adam and Eve?
How did God make Adam and Eve?
By giving them a body and a soul.
How did God give a soul to Adam and Eve?
By creation (XC. 1, 2).
How did God give a body to Adam and Eve?
God tells us that He made the body of Adam from the slime of the earth and that He built up Eve's body from a rib of Adam (XCI., XCII.).
Must we say that man was made to God's own image and likeness?
What is understood by this?
By this is understood that God has given to man a nature and corresponding actions of such a kind that in their highest reach man is enabled to enter in some measure into the spiritual life of God and appreciate the inner life of the three august persons; and owing to this he is enabled to imitate the perfection proper to the Divine Persons (XCIII. 5-9).
Is it possible to show how the nature of man and his actions, viewed in their highest endeavour, enable him to know God in His spiritual nature and to catch a glimpse even of the intimate life of the three Divine Persons?
The reason is because man's soul as regards its highest faculties is also spiritual in nature; moreover its supreme acts are those of thinking and loving, which are capable of reaching to the First Truth and the First Good which is God Himself (XCIII. 5-7).
In these acts of thought and of love how can we catch a glimpse of the inner life of the three Divine Persons?
By these acts we can attain even unto this because when our mind thinks of God it forms within itself an interior word wherein it reads an object; and under the very impulse of the thought which conceives the word there is begotten an act of love for this same object conceived by the mind (XCIII. 6).
How can we imitate the perfection proper to the Divine Persons?
We can do this, as God Himself does, by making God conceived in our mind and loved by our will the first object of our life of thought and of our life of love. (XCIII. 7).
In the corporeal world is man only made to the image and likeness of God?
Yes; and this by reason of his spiritual nature (XCIII. 2).
Do not other creatures in this world resemble their Creator in some way?
Yes, all creatures in the world bear a mark or a trace of God who made them, by reason of their perfections which are of a lower order (XCIII. 6).
XVIII. OF THE STATE OF HAPPINESS IN WHICH MAN WAS CREATED
Was man created by God in a state of great perfection?
What did the state of perfection in which man was created comprise?
It comprised the mind's complete knowledge void of error; original justice with all the virtues of mind and: will; entire command of the soul over the body and over every creature inferior to man (XCIV., XCV., XCVI.).
Was this state of perfection proper to the first man only or ought it to have been common to all who are descendents from Adam by generation?
It was proper to Adam as regards the gift of knowledge only; but since original justice and the gifts of integrity and complete moral rectitude are inseparable from human nature as such these would have been transmitted to all by way of origin or generation had not sin stood in the way (XCIV., CI. 1).
In this state in which man was created, would he have been subject to death?
No, in this state man would not have died (CXVII. 1)
Would man have suffered in this state?
No, for by a special privilege man's body was guarded from all evil by the soul which itself was incapable of suffering so long as it remained subjected to God by its will (XCVII. a).
Was man created by God in a state of happiness?
Was this state that of his final and perfect happiness?
No, it was only temporary, and would have been followed by another state which was final (XCIV. 1, Obj. 1).
What then may one call this state of happiness in which man was created by God?
It may be called a state of initial happiness which was to prepare man by way of merit to enter into the state of his final and perfect happiness in token of reward (XCIV. 1, Obj. 2; XCV. 4).
Where would man have acquired this state of final and perfect happiness had he remained faithful?
He would have acquired this happiness in the glory of heaven in the company of the angels, whither God would have transferred him after a certain period of probation (XCIV. 1, Obj. 1).
Where was man placed while awaiting to be transferred to the glory of heaven?
He was placed in a garden of delights prepared by God for him (CII.).
What was this garden of delights called?
It was called the Garden of Eden (ibid.).
XIX. OF THE CONSERVATION OF THINGS AND THEIR GOVERNMENT
What is meant by saying that God is the sovereign lord of all things?
By this is understood that in the world created by God all things are subjected to the exclusive, supreme, and absolute dominion of God Himself (CIII. 1, 3).
What is meant by this?
By this is meant that there is nothing in the spirit world, or in the material world, or in man, which can evade the action of God maintaining and leading all things to the end for which He created them (CIII. 4-8).
What is this end towards which God by His dominion maintains and guides all created things?
This end towards which God by His sway leads and maintains all created things is Himself or His glory (CCIII. 2).
What is meant by saying that God and His glory are the end of the entire universe thus maintained and ruled by Him?
By this is meant that God and His glory are the end of the whole universe because God directs all things therein that He might make known in the very order of the universe the designs of His holy will (ibid.).
It is then in the very order of the universe that the glory of God shines forth and is manifested outwardly?
Could there be anything greater and more perfect outside God than this order of the universe which is created, maintained, and ruled by Him?
No, in the present dispensation of things there could be nothing greater or more perfect (XXV. 5, 6).
Why in the present dispensation of things?
Because, since God is infinite and almighty, no created order however perfect could ever exhaust His infinite power (ibid.).
XX. OF GOD'S ACTION IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNIVERSE; AND OF MIRACLES
How does God govern this universe which was created by Him?
By maintaining it and directing it to its end (CIII. 4).
Does God maintain all created things Himself?
Yes, God Himself maintains all created things; although He uses certain of His creatures to maintain others in existence according to the order of dependence which He established among things when He created them (CIV. 1, 2).
What is meant by saying that He Himself maintains all created things?
By this is meant that that which is at the basis of all beings in the universe and which makes existence the common connecting link of all is communicated to them by the direct action of God Himself (CIV. i).
Is the act of maintaining all things in existence also proper to God as is the creation of things?
Yes, because the direct and immediate result of both phenomena is the inflow of being which is an effect proper to God (CIV. 1, Obj. 4; VIII. 1).
Could God effect that all things that are should cease to be?
What action on God's part would be necessary to effect that all things that are should cease to be?
It would be sufficient for Him to cease willing to give them the being they have, and which they continue to receive from Him every instant (ibid.).
Without ceasing, therefore, the being of all things that are in the world depends absolutely upon God?
Yes, without ceasing things depend absolutely on God; much in the same way as the light of the day depends absolutely upon the presence of the action of the sun; except that the action of the sun is a necessary action, whereas the action of God is wholly free (ibid.).
Has God ever annihilated anything He has made?
No (CIV. 4).
Will God ever annihilate anything?
Why has God never annihilated and will never annihilate anything He has created? ~ Because God acts for His glory only; and His glory 36 CATECHISM OF TEE "SUMMA THEOLOGICA"
Because God acts for His glory only; and His glory demands not that He annihilate, but rather that He preserve things in existence (ibid.).
Can there be any change in things made by God?
Yes, and changes more or less radical according to the difference of natures, and according to the difference of states of the same nature.
Do these changes which sometimes come about in the things made by God, enter into the plan of His divine government?
Yes, since all such can and should advance the end of His government which is the glory of God and the well-being of His work.
Are there any changes in creatures that are due to the special action of God?
Yes (CV. 1-8); and they are those changes which affect directly the ultimate basis of material things, or the affective part of spiritual beings, and also that which is fundamental in every action of the creature (CV. 1, 4, 5).
Is this action which is proper to God and to which we must attribute the changes that come about in material things "outside" the action of secondary causes which in the ordinary course of nature is proportionate to these changes?
Yes, and such changes are called miracles (CV. 6, 7).
Are there any such miracles performed by God?
Yes, it is most certain that there are miracles perform. by God in the material world. They can be graded in three categories according as the events are beyond the power of nature to effect -- in themselves, or in the subject in which they are effected, or in the manner of the production (CV. 8).
Why has God performed such miracles, and does He still perform them?
God has performed, and may perform again as pleases Him, such miracles in order to arouse the mind of men, and to make them acknowledge His divine power which is brought into play for their well-being and for His own glory.
XXI. OF THE ACTION THIS GOVERNMENT; OF THE UNIVERSE OF CREATURES IN AND OF THE ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE
As regards the changes that come about, or can come about in created things, can creatures act and do they act one upon the other?
Yes; and it is indeed the action of one creature upon another which constitutes, properly speaking, the order of the universe (XLVII. 3).
Is this action of creatures, one upon the other, subjected also to the action of the divine government?
Yes; and in the most intimate way (CIII. 6).
What is meant by this?
By this is meant that by the action of creatures one upon the other, God directs the whole assemblage of His creatures to the end He has fixed for them (ibid.).
Could God alone, and by His own activity, lead each one of His creatures to its end?
Without doubt He could do this; but it was better for Him to have willed to employ thus the actions of creatures one upon the other in order to lead them to their end; for thereby creatures are more perfect and God's power is made more manifest.
Why are creatures thereby more perfect?
Because, thus, creatures participate in the sovereign activity of God, whereby He directs them to their end (CIII. 6, Obj. 2). ~ And why is God's power made more manifest?
Because it is a mark of power and greatness for a sovereign to have in his service a throng of ministers to put his orders into execution (CIII. 6, Obj. 3).
When creatures then act one upon the other they are simply executing the orders of God?
Yes, for their actions can never evade the perfect and sovereign sway of the divine government (CIII. 8, Obj. 1, and Obj. 2).
Is it altogether impossible for there to be any disorder in the activity of creatures, one upon the other, when they act as instruments of God in the government of the world?
Yes, it is impossible, for no matter what their action be it is always directed in co-operating under the transcending action of God towards the good of the universe (CIII. 8, Obj. s, and Obj. 3).
Can creatures, in their action one upon the other, be the cause of any particular evil?
Yes; and this both in the physical order and the moral, for they can disturb this or that particular subalternate order among creatures, or even among the divers manifestations thereof which come under the designs and wishes of God (CIII. 8, Obj. 1).
Can any such particular evil happen contrary to the order of divine government?
No, if understood in its entirety.
What is meant by this?
By this is meant that God who is ineffably mighty effects that such a particular evil is subordinate to a higher order in virtue of which even this particular evil helps towards the universal good (ibid.; XIX. 6; XXIII. 5, Obj. 3).
Everything then that happens by the action of creatures one upon the other falls in a marvellous manner under the supreme control of the divine government?
Yes, for even if one thing seems to be disarranged in its own subalternate order, there is always to be found a wise and searching reason for the disarrangement in some higher sphere.
Can we, in this life, come to understand this wonderful ordering of divine government in the world?
No, we can never come to understand this, since for such knowledge it would be necessary to be acquainted not only with the whole of creation but also with the divine plans.
Where shall we come to see in all its splendour the beauty and the harmony of God's government of the world?
Only in heaven shall we see it in all its splendour.
XXII. OF THE ANGELS: THE HIERARCHIES AND THE ORDERS
Do the pure spirits or the angels also act one upon the other?
What is this action of one angel upon another called?
It is called illumination (CVI. 1).
Why is it called illumination?
Because angels act one upon the other only for the reason of transmitting the light (knowledge) they receive from God concerning the course of His government (ibid.).
Is this light, imparted by God to angels, communicated to them in some graduated and ordered scale?
What is meant by this?
By this is meant that God imparts this light first of all to those who are nearer to Him, and these in their turn impart the light to other angels; thus, from the highest to the lowest the light is communicated in such wise that the first imparts it to the last by the action of those who are midway (CVI. 3).
There is then in this action of the angels whereby they communicate one to the other the light imparted by God to them the subordination of first, midway, and last.?
Yes (CVIII. a).
Is it possible to give some illustration of this subordination of this action of pure spirits one upon the other whereby they communicate the light imparted to them by God?
One might compare it to a stream of light which falls translucently from rock to rock, and is fed everlastingly by the waters of some beautiful lake situate in the height. of the mountain.
Does this subordination among the angels comprise divers groups?
Yes (CVIII. i).
How many kinds are there of these groups?
These groups are of two kinds.
What are these two kinds of groups called?
They are called the hierarchies and orders or the angelic choirs.
What is meant by the word "hierarchy?"
The word" hierarchy" is derived from the Greek and means "sacred principality."
What does the word "principality" entail?
The word "principality" entails two things: a prince and a multitude organized under him (CVIII. 1).
When one speaks of a "sacred principality" what is meant by that?
"Sacred principality" understood in its strict and full sense means the whole assemblage of rational creatures called to participate in things holy under the sole government of God, who is the Supreme Prince and' Sovereign King of them all (ibid.).
There ought then to be only one sacred principality and only one hierarchy in the world governed by God?
Yes, if one considers the sacred principality on the part of God, who is the Supreme Prince and Sovereign King of all rational creatures governed by Him, there is only one sacred principality or only one hierarchy which embraces both angels and men (CVIII. 1).
Why then and in what sense does one speak of hierarchies in the plural, and even in a certain way of hierarchies in the world of pure spirits or angels only?
Because on the part of the multitude organized under a prince the principality differs according as that multitude in different ways is subject to the governing of the prince (CVIII. 1).
Is it possible to give an illustration of this diversity in things human?
Yes, for under the same king are to be found cities or provinces differing from each other in that they are ruled by different laws and by different ministers of state (ibid.).
Is there one hierarchy for human beings and another for the angels?
Yes, as long as there are human beings on earth, there is one hierarchy for them and another for the angels (ibid.).
Why as long as there are human beings on earth?
Because in heaven men are included in the hierarchy the angels (CVIII. 8).
Are there several hierarchies among the angels?
Yes (CVIII. 1).
How many hierarchies are there?
There are three hierarchies among the angels (ibid.).
Is it possible to say how these hierarchies among the angels are differentiated?
These three hierarchies among the angels are differentiated according to the threefold way of knowing the reasons of things which relate to the divine government (ibid.).
In what way does the first hierarchy know the reasons of things which relate to the divine government?
It knows them according as these reasons proceed from the First Universal Principle, which is God (ibid.).
What does this import on the part of the angels of this first hierarchy?
On the part of the angels of this first hierarchy, this imports that their place is near to God in such wise that all the orders of this hierarchy are named from some office which has for its object God Himself (CVIII. 1, 6).
In what way does the second hierarchy know the reasons of things which relate to the divine government?
It knows them according as this kind of reasons depend upon created universal causes (CVIII. 1).
What does this import on the part of the angels of this second hierarchy?
For the angels of the second hierarchy, this imports that they receive their illumination (knowledge) from the first hierarchy, and that their orders are named from some office having reference to the universality of creatures governed by God (CVIII. 1, 6).
In what way does the third hierarchy know the reasons of things which relate to the divine government?
It knows them according as they are applied to particular things in so far as these things depend from their proper causes (CVIII. 1).
What does this imply on the part of the angels of this third hierarchy?
For the angels of this third hierarchy, this imports that they receive the divine light, according to certain particular forms which enable them to have communion with our minds in this life -- and it further implies that their orders are named from acts relating to some one human being as, for instance, the guardian angels, or to some one province as, for instance, the Principalities (CVIII. 1, 6).
Is it possible to find some illustration of this threefold kind of hierarchy in the things of this world?
Yes, there are illustrations of this threefold kind of hierarchy in the things of this world; for instance, among. the ministers of a king there are chamberlains, councillors, and attendants who are always near the person of the prince; further, there are officers of the royal court whose duty it is to look after the affairs of the whole kingdom in a general way; lastly, there are officers whose duty it is to look after this or that particular section of the kingdom (CVIII. 6).
Are the orders distinct from the hierarchies among the angels?
Yes (CVIII. 2).
In what consists this distinction?
It consists in this, that the hierarchies constitute divers multitudes of angels forming divers principalities under the same divine government, whereas the orders constitute divers classes in each multitude which forms a hierarchy (CVIII. 2).
How many orders are there in each hierarchy?
There are three orders in each hierarchy (ibid.). Why are there three orders in each hierarchy? Because even with us the different classes which distinguish men in one city are reduced to three principal classes, namely, the nobles, the commoners, and the peasantry (CVIII. 2).
There are then in each hierarchy the higher angels, the lower angels, and the angels that come between?
Yes, and these form what are called the three orders of each hierarchy (CVIII. 2).
One must distinguish then, in all, nine angelic orders?
Yes, there are nine principal angelic orders (CVIII. 5, 6).
Why nine "principal" angelic orders?
Because in each order there are yet other subordinations almost without number, each angel having his proper place and his particular duty; but it is not for us to know all this in this life (CVIII. 3).
Are the nine orders the same as the nine choirs of angels?
Why is the name "choirs" given to the angelic orders?
Because each order in fulfilling its duties in the divine government constitutes a class replete with harmony which makes manifest in a wonderful way the glory of God in this work.
What are the names of the nine choirs of angels?
They are, descending from the higher to the lower, the Seraphim, the Cherubim, the Thrones, the Dominations, the Virtues, the Powers, the Principalities, the Archangels, and the Angels (CVIII. 5).
Do these orders still exist among the devils?
Yes, for the orders are consequent upon the very nature of the angels; and nature in the devils remains the same.
Is there then a subordination among the devils just as there was before their fall?
Yes (CIX. 1, 2).
Is this order among them ever used for good?
No, it is never used except for evil (CIX. 3).
There is then no illumination among the devils?
Among the devils there is only the darkness of evil; and for this reason their empire is called the kingdom of darkness (ibid.).
XXIII. OF THE ACTION OF THE GOOD ANGELS ON THE CORPOREAL WORLD.
Does God employ His angels in the administration of the corporeal world?
Yes, for this corporeal world is inferior to the angels, and in every ordered government the lower is ruled by the higher (CX. 1).
To what order belong the angels who govern the corporeal, world?
They belong to the Order of the Virtues (CX. i, Obj. 3).
What is the duty of the angels who exercise control over the corporeal world?
The angels who exercise control over the corporeal world see to the perfect accomplishment of the intent of divine providence and to the fulfilment of the divine will in all that passes among the divers beings which make up the corporeal world (CX. 1, 2, 3).
Is it through the medium of these angels of the Order of the Virtues that God performs all changes which come about in the corporeal world, even the performance of miracles?
Yes, it is through the medium of these angels of the Order of the Virtues that God performs all changes which come about in the corporeal world, even the performance of miracles (CX. 4).
When God employs His angels for the performance of some miracle, is it by the personal power of the angel that the miracle is performed?
No, a miracle is performed by the power of God only; but an angel may help therein either by way of intercession or in the capacity of instrument (CX. 4, Obj. x).
XXIV. OF THE ACTION OF THE GOOD ANGELS UPON MAN; THE GUARDIAN ANGELS
Can an angel have any action upon man?
Yes, an angel can act upon man by reason of man's spiritual nature, which is of a high order (CXI.).
Can an angel illumine the thought and the mind of man?
Yes, an angel can illumine the thought and the mind of man by strengthening his power of vision and by bringing within his reach some truth which the angel himself contemplates (CXI. 1).
Can an angel move the will of man by influencing it directly?
No, an angel cannot move the will of man by acting upon it directly, since the movement of the will is an interior inclination which depends only upon the will itself directly or upon God who is its author (CXI. 2).
Only God then can move the will of man by acting upon it directly?
Yes, only God can change the will of man by acting upon it directly (CXI. 2).
Can an angel act upon the imagination of man and upon his other sensitive faculties?
Yes, an angel can act upon the imagination of man and upon his other sensitive faculties; for these faculties function by means of organs, and consequently they depend for their activity upon the corporeal world which is under the control of the angels (CXI. 3).
Can an angel act upon man's senses?
Yes, for the same reason an angel can act upon man's external senses; moreover he can affect them as he wills unless it is a question of the bad angels whose activity can be checked by the action of the good angels (CXI. 4).
Can then the good angels check and counteract the action of the bad angels?
Yes, the good angels can check and counteract the action of the bad angels, for the order of Divine Justice. determined that on account of their sin the bad angels should be subject to the control of the good angels (CIX. 4).
Can the good angels be sent by God to minister to men?
Yes, the good angels can be sent by God to minister to men, since God makes use of their activity in order to promote man's good, or in order to put His plans into execution with regard to men (CXII. 1).
Can all the good angels be sent by God in this way minister to men?
No, not all of them can be sent thus (CXII. 2).
Which of them are never sent to minister to men?
All those of the first hierarchy (CXII. 2, 3).
Why are not any of these angels sent to minister to men?
Because it is the privilege of this hierarchy to stand always before God (CXII. 3).
By reason of this privilege, what are these angels of the first hierarchy called?
They are called the assisting angels (CXII. 3).
Can all the angels of the other two hierarchies be sent to minister to men?
Yes, in this wise however, that the Dominations superintend the execution of the divine plans, whereas the Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels put them directly into execution (CXII. 4).
Are there any angels sent by God to protect men?
Yes, there are certain angels sent by God to protect men, for it is a part of the ruling of Divine Providence that man, whose thoughts and wishes are so changeable andsoinconstant, should be assisted in his journey towards heaven by one of the blessed spirits whose wills are for ever rooted in good (CXIII. 1).
Has God deputed one and the same angel to be the guardian of several men, or has he deputed a guardian angel for each separate man?
God has deputed a guardian angel to assist each separate man; for every single human soul is more dear to God than the divers species of material creatures over which, however, presides an angel who is mindful of them, and promotes their welfare (CXIII. 3).
To what order belong the angels which are thus deputed by God, separately, to be the guardian angels to men?
The angels which are thus deputed by God, separately, to be the guardian angels to men belong all to the last of the nine choirs of angels (CXIII. 3).
Are all men without exception thus committed by God to the care of one of His angels?
Yes, all men without exception are thus committed by God to the care of one of His angels, as long as they live on this earth, and the reason is because of the perilous way through which all must pass before they come to the end of their lives (CXIII. 4).
Did Christ our Lord, as man, also have a guardian angel?
No, it was not fitting that Christ our Lord should have a guardian angel, seeing that in person He was God; but certain angels were appointed to the great honour of ministering to Him (CXIII. 4, Obj. 1).
When is an angel personally appointed by God to be the guardian of some man?
It is at the instant of man's coming into the world that God deputes an angel to be his guardian (CXIII. 5).
Does it happen that sometimes an angel quits a man to whose guardianship he has been appointed?
No, a guardian angel never leaves a man over whom he has charge, and he continues to watch over him~, without ceasing, until the last moment of his life on earth (CXIII. 6).
Do the angels ever sorrow because of the sins of those over whom they have charge?
No, for after doing what lies in their power to prevent sin, should sin nevertheless prevail, they adore, in this as in all things else, the inscrutability of the divine plan (CXIII. 7).
Is it a commendable thing to counsel the practice committing oneself often and in all things to the protection of one's guardian angel?
Yes, to counsel the practice of commending oneself often and in all things to the protection of one's guardian angel is an excellent thing, and should be recommend in every way.
May one be infallibly certain of this protection, should one invoke it?
Yes, provided that our demand is consistent with the eternal counsels of God, and according as our concerns are ordained to the glory of God (CXIII. 8).
XXV. OF THE ACTION OF THE BAD ANGELS OR OF THE DEMONS
Can the devils attack and tempt men?
Why is it possible for the devils to attack and tempt man?
The devils are able to attack and to tempt man by reason of their wickedness, and because God can make use of the very temptation for the good of his chosen ones (CXIV. 1).
Is it proper to the devils alone to tempt man?
In what sense is it said that it is proper to the devils alone to tempt man?
It is proper to the devils to tempt man in this sense, that they alone tempt man always with the object of doing him harm and in the hope that man might be lost (CXIV. 2).
Can the devils perform miracles in order to tempt and to seduce man?
No, the devils are unable to perform true miracles in order to tempt and to seduce man, but they can perform things that have the appearance of miracles.
What is meant by the words: appearance of miracles?
By these words are understood prodigies which exceed manner of acting of the things around us as far as knowledge of them goes, but which, however, do not exceed the natural power of the whole of creatures (CXIV 4).
By what sign above all may one detect these spurious miracles performed by the devils?
Above all one may detect them by this, that they are related to something that is bad, and consequently God cannot be their author as He is of true miracles (XIV. 4, Obj. 3).
XXVI. OF THE ACTION OF THE MATERIAL WORLD OR OF THE WHOLE OF THE COSMOS
Is it only the good or evil spirits that God employs in government of the world?
No, it is not only the good or evil spirits that God employs in the government of the world.
What other beings are there which concur in government?
All the cosmic agents whose activities are brought into play by God help also towards the accomplishment of His rule (CXV. 1).
Is then the whole course of nature thus in the hands God for the ruling of the world?
Yes, the whole course of nature with all its laws is the hands of God for the ruling of the world (CXV. 2)
It is then for the realization of the plans of God for the help thereof, that every day the sun rises, day follows night, that the seasons come and go, this in such order that nothing ever disturbs the coming and the going of the days, the months, the years, and centuries?
Yes, it is for the fulfilment of the designs of God and for help thereof that the sun rises each day, that night follows day, that the seasons follow each other in order and this in such a way that nothing ever disarranges the coming and the going of the days, the months, the years, and the centuries.
May one say that it is for man and for his welfare that God has thus ordained and maintains in a regular order the course of the world of nature?
Yes, one may and indeed must say that it is for man and for his welfare that God has thus ordained and maintains in a regular order the course of the world of nature.
Man then is the creature for whom God in some wise has arranged that all other creatures should be subservient to his needs?
Yes, man is the creature for whom God in some wise has arranged that all other creatures should be subservient to his needs.
Why has God thus acted towards man?
God has acted thus towards man because man is the weakest of His creatures who has need of all other things for the good of his soul and body.
XVII. OF THE ACTION OF MAN HIMSELF
Can man, weak though he be, also help in the action of God towards the government of the world?
Yes, in spite of his weakness, man also can help in a great degree in the activity of God in the government of the world.
How can man thus concur with the action of God in government of the world?
Man can concur with the action of God in the government of the world in co-operating himself for the good of man.
In what way can man co-operate himself for the good of man?
Man co-operates toward the good of man in being used by God as an instrument for the welfare of the soul body of man.
How can man serve as an instrument in God's hands for the benefit of the soul and body of man?
Man serves as an instrument in God's hands for the benefit of the soul of man, because it is due to the operation of man that God creates the soul of each child born to the world; and because this soul develops and grows in perfection under the action of the master who is its teacher (CXVII., CXVIII.).
And how does man serve as an instrument in God's hands as regards the body of man?
Because, according to the laws of nature fixed by Him, God has arranged that the body of the child is formed and is brought forth into the world by the tender care of a father and a mother (CXIX.).
XXVIII. OF THE POINT UPON WHICH THE WHOLE COURSE OF DIVINE GOVERNMENT IS CENTRED
It is then at the cradle of the child, among men, that we see shine forth, as from a central point, all the graciousness of God's government in the world?
Yes, it is at the child's cradle, among men, that we see shine forth, as from a central point, all the sweetness of God's government in the world; for all in the world is ordained for the welfare of the child: the loving care of the parents, the whole of nature which helps its life, the angels who have care of it, and the goodness of God who destines it for the glory of heaven.
Was there a cradle of the birth of a child among men around which all the splendours of God's government in the world shone forth in a way beyond compare?
Yes; and this happened at the birth of a Child, who, as we shall see shortly, is the means or the way of man's return to God (CXIX 2, Obj. 4).
What happened, in effect, at the birth of this Child?
At the birth of this Child there was a conception wholly due to the supernatural action of the Holy Spirit, a Mother who remained virgin, kings and wise men led to the cradle by a star, and a multitude of celestial spirits praising God and singing: "Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will."
How is this Child of benediction called?
He is none other than Emmanuel, or God-with-us, and He is called Jesus.
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