Summa Theologiae by St Thomas Aquinas
XP: Treatise On The Last Things
Q95 Of The Gifts* Of The Blessed
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A5 Whether three dowries of the soul are suitably assigned?

[a] Objection 1:
It would seem unfitting to assign to the soul three dowries, namely, "vision," "love" and "fruition." For the soul is united to God according to the mind wherein is the image of the Trinity in respect of the memory, understanding, and will. Now love regards the will, and vision the understanding. Therefore there should be something corresponding to the memory, since fruition regards not the memory but the will.

[b] Objection 2:
Further, the beatific dowries are said to correspond to the virtues of the way, which united us to God: and these are faith, hope, and charity, whereby God Himself is the object. Now love corresponds to charity, and vision to faith. Therefore there should be something corresponding to hope, since fruition corresponds rather to charity.

[c] Objection 3:
Further, we enjoy God by love and vision only, since "we are said to enjoy those things which we love for their own sake," as Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 4). Therefore fruition should not be reckoned a distinct dowry from love.

[d] Objection 4:
Further, comprehension is required for the perfection of beatitude: "So run that you may comprehend" (1 Cor. 9:24). Therefore we should reckon a fourth dowry

[e] Objection 5:
Further, Anselm says (De Simil. xlviii) that the following pertain to the soul's beatitude: "wisdom, friendship, concord, power, honor, security, joy": and consequently the aforesaid dowries are reckoned unsuitably.

[f] Objection 6:
Further, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xxii) that "in that beatitude God will be seen unendingly, loved without wearying, praised untiringly." Therefore praise should be added to the aforesaid dowries.

[g] Objection 7:
Further, Boethius reckons five things pertaining to beatitude (De Consol. iii) and these are: Sufficiency which wealth offers, joy which pleasure offers, celebrity which fame offers, security which power offers, reverence which dignity offers. Consequently it seems that these should be reckoned as dowries rather than the aforesaid.

[h] I answer that,
All agree in reckoning three dowries of the soul, in different ways however. For some say that the three dowries of the soul are vision, love, and fruition, others reckon them to be vision, comprehension, and fruition; others, vision, delight, and comprehension. However, all these reckonings come to the same, and their number is assigned in the same way. For it has been said [5140] (A [2]) that a dowry is something inherent to the soul, and directing it to the operation in which beatitude consists. Now two things are requisite in this operation: its essence which is vision, and its perfection which is delight: since beatitude must needs be a perfect operation. Again, a vision is delightful in two ways: first, on the part of the object, by reason of the thing seen being delightful; secondly, on the part of the vision, by reason of the seeing itself being delightful, even as we delight in knowing evil things, although the evil things themselves delight us not. And since this operation wherein ultimate beatitude consists must needs be most perfect, this vision must needs be delightful in both ways. Now in order that this vision be delightful on the part of the vision, it needs to be made connatural to the seer by means of a habit; while for it to be delightful on the part of the visible object, two things are necessary, namely that the visible object be suitable, and that it be united to the seer. Accordingly for the vision to be delightful on its own part a habit is required to elicit the vision, and thus we have one dowry, which all call vision. But on the part of the visible object two things are necessary. First, suitableness, which regards the affections -- and in this respect some reckon love as a dowry, others fruition (in so far as fruition regards the affective part) since what we love most we deem most suitable. Secondly, union is required on the part of the visible object, and thus some reckon comprehension, which is nothing else than to have God present and to hold Him within ourself [* Cf. [5141] FS, Q [4], A [3]]; while others reckon fruition, not of hope, which is ours while on the way, but of possession [* Literally "of the reality: non spei... sed rei"] which is in heaven.

[i] Thus the three dowries correspond to the three theological virtues, namely vision to faith, comprehension (or fruition in one sense) to hope, and fruition (or delight according to another reckoning to charity). For perfect fruition such as will be had in heaven includes delight and comprehension, for which reason some take it for the one, and some for the other.

[j] Others, however, ascribe these three dowries to the three powers of the soul, namely vision to the rational, delight to the concupiscible, and fruition to the irascible, seeing that this fruition is acquired by a victory. But this is not said properly, because the irascible and concupiscible powers are not in the intellective but in the sensitive part, whereas the dowries of the soul are assigned to the mind.

[k] Reply to Objection 1:
Memory and understanding have but one act: either because understanding is itself an act of memory, or -- if understanding denote a power -- because memory does not proceed to act save through the medium of the understanding, since it belongs to the memory to retain knowledge. Consequently there is only one habit, namely knowledge, corresponding to memory and understanding: wherefore only one dowry, namely vision, corresponds to both.

[l] Reply to Objection 2:
Fruition corresponds to hope, in so far as it includes comprehension which will take the place of hope: since we hope for that which we have not yet; wherefore hope chafes somewhat on account of the distance of the beloved: for which reason it will not remain in heaven [Cf. [5142] SS, Q [18], A [2]] but will be succeeded by comprehension.

[m] Reply to Objection 3:
Fruition as including comprehension is distinct from vision and love, but otherwise than love from vision. For love and vision denote different habits, the one belonging to the intellect, the other to the affective faculty. But comprehension, or fruition as denoting comprehension, does not signify a habit distinct from those two, but the removal of the obstacles which made it impossible for the mind to be united to God by actual vision. This is brought about by the habit of glory freeing the soul from all defects; for instance by making it capable of knowledge without phantasms, of complete control over the body, and so forth, thus removing the obstacles which result in our being pilgrims from the Lord.

[n] Reply OBJ 4 is clear from what has been said.

[o] Reply to Objection 5:
Properly speaking, the dowries are the immediate principles of the operation in which perfect beatitude consists and whereby the soul is united to Christ. The things mentioned by Anselm do not answer to this description; but they are such as in any way accompany or follow beatitude, not only in relation to the Bridegroom, to Whom "wisdom" alone of the things mentioned by him refers, but also in relation to others. They may be either one's equals, to whom "friendship" refers as regards the union of affections, and "concord" as regards consent in actions, or one's inferiors, to whom "power" refers, so far as inferior things are ordered by superior, and "honor" as regards that which inferiors offer to their superiors. Or again (they may accompany or follow beatitude) in relation to oneself: to this "security" refers as regards the removal of evil, and "joy" as regards the attainment of good.

[p] Reply to Objection 6:
Praise, which Augustine mentions as the third of those things which will obtain in heaven, is not a disposition to beatitude but rather a sequel to beatitude: because from the very fact of the soul's union with God, wherein beatitude consists, it follows that the soul breaks forth into praise. Hence praise has not the necessary conditions of a dowry.

[q] Reply to Objection 7:
The five things aforesaid mentioned by Boethius are certain conditions of beatitude, but not dispositions to beatitude or to its act, because beatitude by reason of its perfection has of itself alone and undividedly all that men seek in various things, as the Philosopher declares (Ethic. i, 7; x, 7, 8). Accordingly Boethius shows that these five things obtain in perfect beatitude, because they are what men seek in temporal happiness. For they pertain either, as "security," to immunity from evil, or to the attainment either of the suitable good, as "joy," or of the perfect good, as "sufficiency," or to the manifestation of good, as "celebrity," inasmuch as the good of one is made known to others, or as "reverence," as indicating that good or the knowledge thereof, for reverence is the showing of honor which bears witness to virtue. Hence it is evident that these five should not be called dowries, but conditions of beatitude.