OF JOY (FOUR ARTICLES)
(1) Whether joy is effected in us by charity?
(2) Whether the spiritual joy, which results from charity, is compatible
with an admixture of sorrow?
(3) Whether the spiritual joy which proceeds from charity, can be filled?
(4) Whether joy is a virtue?
Article 1. Whether joy is effected in us by charity?
Objection 1: It would seem that joy is not
effected in us by charity. For the absence of what we love causes sorrow
rather than joy. But God, Whom we love by charity, is absent from us, so
long as we are in this state of life, since "while we are in the body, we
are absent from the Lord" (2
Cor. 5:6). Therefore charity causes sorrow in us rather than joy.
Objection 2: Further, it is chiefly through
charity that we merit happiness. Now mourning, which pertains to sorrow, is
reckoned among those things whereby we merit happiness, according to
Mat. 5:5: "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Therefore sorrow, rather than joy, is an effect of charity.
Objection 3: Further, charity is a virtue
distinct from hope, as shown above (Q,
A). Now joy is the effect of hope, according to
Rom. 12:12: "Rejoicing in hope." Therefore it is not the effect of
On the contrary, It is written (Rom.
5:5): "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy
Ghost, Who is given to us." But joy is caused in us by the Holy Ghost
Rom. 14:17: "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but justice and
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Therefore charity is a cause of joy.
I answer that, As stated above (FS,
Q, AA,2,3), when we were treating of the passions, joy and sorrow
proceed from love, but in contrary ways. For joy is caused by love, either
through the presence of the thing loved, or because the proper good of the
thing loved exists and endures in it; and the latter is the case chiefly in
the love of benevolence, whereby a man rejoices in the well-being of his
friend, though he be absent. On the other hand sorrow arises from love,
either through the absence of the thing loved, or because the loved object
to which we wish well, is deprived of its good or afflicted with some evil.
Now charity is love of God, Whose good is unchangeable, since He is His
goodness, and from the very fact that He is loved, He is in those who love
Him by His most excellent effect, according to
1 Jn. 4:16: "He that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in
him." Therefore spiritual joy, which is about God, is caused by charity.
Reply to Objection 1: So long as we are in the
body, we are said to be "absent from the Lord," in comparison with that
presence whereby He is present to some by the vision of "sight"; wherefore
the Apostle goes on to say (2
Cor. 5:6): "For we walk by faith and not by sight." Nevertheless, even
in this life, He is present to those who love Him, by the indwelling of His
Reply to Objection 2: The mourning that merits
happiness, is about those things that are contrary to happiness. Wherefore
it amounts to the same that charity causes this mourning, and this spiritual
joy about God, since to rejoice in a certain good amounts to the same as to
grieve for things that are contrary to it.
Reply to Objection 3: There can be spiritual joy
about God in two ways. First, when we rejoice in the Divine good considered
in itself; secondly, when we rejoice in the Divine good as participated by
us. The former joy is the better, and proceeds from charity chiefly: while
the latter joy proceeds from hope also, whereby we look forward to enjoy the
Divine good, although this enjoyment itself, whether perfect or imperfect,
is obtained according to the measure of one's charity.
Article 2. Whether the
spiritual joy, which results from charity, is compatible with an admixture of
Objection 1: It would seem that
the spiritual joy that results from charity is compatible with an admixture of
sorrow. For it belongs to charity to rejoice in our neighbor's good, according
1 Cor. 13:4,6: "Charity . . . rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with
the truth." But this joy is compatible with an admixture of sorrow, according to
Rom. 12:15: "Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep."
Therefore the spiritual joy of charity is compatible with an admixture of
Objection 2: Further, according to Gregory (Hom. in
Evang. xxxiv), "penance consists in deploring past sins, and in not committing
again those we have deplored." But there is no true penance without charity.
Therefore the joy of charity has an admixture of sorrow.
Objection 3: Further, it is through charity that man
desires to be with Christ according to
Phil. 1:23: "Having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ." Now
this desire gives rise, in man, to a certain sadness, according to
Ps. 119:5: "Woe is me that my sojourning is prolonged!" Therefore the joy of
charity admits of a seasoning of sorrow.
On the contrary, The joy of charity is joy about the
Divine wisdom. Now such like joy has no admixture of sorrow, according to
Wis. 8:16: "Her conversation hath no bitterness." Therefore the joy of
charity is incompatible with an admixture of sorrow.
I answer that, As stated above (A, ad 3), a
twofold joy in God arises from charity. One, the more excellent, is proper to
charity; and with this joy we rejoice in the Divine good considered in itself.
This joy of charity is incompatible with an admixture of sorrow, even as the
good which is its object is incompatible with any admixture of evil: hence the
Apostle says (Phil.
4:4): "Rejoice in the Lord always."
The other is the joy of charity whereby we rejoice in the
Divine good as participated by us. This participation can be hindered by
anything contrary to it, wherefore, in this respect, the joy of charity is
compatible with an admixture of sorrow, in so far as a man grieves for that
which hinders the participation of the Divine good, either in us or in our
neighbor, whom we love as ourselves.
Reply to Objection 1: Our neighbor does not weep
save on account of some evil. Now every evil implies lack of participation in
the sovereign good: hence charity makes us weep with our neighbor in so far as
he is hindered from participating in the Divine good.
Reply to Objection 2: Our sins divide between us and
God, according to
Is. 59:2; wherefore this is the reason why we grieve for our past sins, or
for those of others, in so far as they hinder us from participating in the
Reply to Objection 3: Although in this unhappy
abode we participate, after a fashion, in the Divine good, by knowledge and
love, yet the unhappiness of this life is an obstacle to a perfect participation
in the Divine good: hence this very sorrow, whereby a man grieves for the delay
of glory, is connected with the hindrance to a participation of the Divine good.
Article 3. Whether the spiritual joy which proceeds from charity, can be
Objection 1: It would seem that the spiritual joy
which proceeds from charity cannot be filled. For the more we rejoice in God,
the more is our joy in Him filled. But we can never rejoice in Him as much as it
is meet that we should rejoice in God, since His goodness which is infinite,
surpasses the creature's joy which is finite. Therefore joy in God can never be
Objection 2: Further, that which is filled cannot be
increased. But the joy, even of the blessed, can be increased, since one's joy
is greater than another's. Therefore joy in God cannot be filled in a creature.
Objection 3: Further, comprehension seems to be
nothing else than the fulness of knowledge. Now, just as the cognitive power of
a creature is finite, so is its appetitive power. Since therefore God cannot be
comprehended by any creature, it seems that no creature's joy in God can be
On the contrary, Our Lord said to His disciples (Jn.
15:11): "That My joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled."
I answer that, Fulness of joy can be understood in
two ways; first, on the part of the thing rejoiced in, so that one rejoice in it
as much as it is meet that one should rejoice in it, and thus God's joy alone in
Himself is filled, because it is infinite; and this is condignly due to the
infinite goodness of God: but the joy of any creature must needs be finite.
Secondly, fulness of joy may be understood on the part of the one who rejoices.
Now joy is compared to desire, as rest to movement, as stated above (FS,
Q, AA,2), when we were treating of the passions: and rest is full
when there is no more movement. Hence joy is full, when there remains nothing to
be desired. But as long as we are in this world, the movement of desire does not
cease in us, because it still remains possible for us to approach nearer to God
by grace, as was shown above (Q, AA,7). When once, however, perfect
happiness has been attained, nothing will remain to be desired, because then
there will be full enjoyment of God, wherein man will obtain whatever he had
desired, even with regard to other goods, according to
Ps. 102:5: "Who satisfieth thy desire with good things." Hence desire will
be at rest, not only our desire for God, but all our desires: so that the joy of
the blessed is full to perfection---indeed over-full, since they will obtain
more than they were capable of desiring: for "neither hath it entered into the
heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1
Cor. 2:9). This is what is meant by the words of
Lk. 6:38: "Good measure and pressed down, and shaken together, and running
over shall they give into your bosom." Yet, since no creature is capable of the
joy condignly due to God, it follows that this perfectly full joy is not taken
into man, but, on the contrary, man enters into it, according to
Mat. 25:21: "Enter into the joy of thy Lord."
Reply to Objection 1: This argument takes the
fulness of joy in reference to the thing in which we rejoice.
Reply to Objection 2: When each one attains to
happiness he will reach the term appointed to him by Divine predestination, and
nothing further will remain to which he may tend, although by reaching that
term, some will approach nearer to God than others. Hence each one's joy will be
full with regard to himself, because his desire will be fully set at rest; yet
one's joy will be greater than another's, on account of a fuller participation
of the Divine happiness.
Reply to Objection 3: Comprehension denotes fulness
of knowledge in respect of the thing known, so that it is known as much as it
can be. There is however a fulness of knowledge in respect of the knower, just
as we have said of joy. Wherefore the Apostle says (Col.
1:9): "That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom
and spiritual understanding."
Whether joy is a virtue?
Objection 1: It would seem that joy is a virtue. For
vice is contrary to virtue. Now sorrow is set down as a vice, as in the case of
sloth and envy. Therefore joy also should be accounted a virtue.
Objection 2: Further, as love and hope are passions,
the object of which is "good," so also is joy. Now love and hope are reckoned to
be virtues. Therefore joy also should be reckoned a virtue.
Objection 3: Further, the precepts of the Law are
about acts of virtue. But we are commanded to rejoice in the Lord, according to
Phil. 4:4: "Rejoice in the Lord always." Therefore joy is a virtue.
On the contrary, It is not numbered among the
theological virtues, nor among the moral, nor among the intellectual virtues, as
is evident from what has been said above (FS, QQ,60,62).
I answer that, As stated above (FS,
Q, AA,4), virtue is an operative habit, wherefore by its very nature
it has an inclination to a certain act. Now it may happen that from the same
habit there proceed several ordinate and homogeneous acts, each of which follows
from another. And since the subsequent acts do not proceed from the virtuous
habit except through the preceding act, hence it is that the virtue is defined
and named in reference to that preceding act, although those other acts also
proceed from the virtue. Now it is evident from what we have said about the
Q, AA,4) that love is the first affection of the appetitive power,
and that desire and joy follow from it. Hence the same virtuous habit inclines
us to love and desire the beloved good, and to rejoice in it. But in as much as
love is the first of these acts, that virtue takes its name, not from joy, nor
from desire, but from love, and is called charity. Hence joy is not a virtue
distinct from charity, but an act, or effect, of charity: for which reason it is
numbered among the Fruits (Gal.
Reply to Objection 1: The sorrow which is a vice is
caused by inordinate self-love, and this is not a special vice, but a general
source of the vices, as stated above (FS,
Q, A); so that it was necessary to account certain particular sorrows
as special vices, because they do not arise from a special, but from a general
vice. On the other hand love of God is accounted a special virtue, namely
charity, to which joy must be referred, as its proper act, as stated above (here
Reply to Objection 2: Hope proceeds from love even
as joy does, but hope adds, on the part of the object, a special character, viz.
"difficult," and "possible to obtain"; for which reason it is accounted a
special virtue. On the other hand joy does not add to love any special aspect,
that might cause a special virtue.
Reply to Objection 3: The Law prescribes joy, as
being an act of charity, albeit not its first act.