Tuesday, 25 August 2015
More on The Virtues: Stupidity and Intelligence Continued...
Posted by Supertradmum
Here is a long quotation from Garrigou-Lagrange on the virtues. I shall make a list of all forty of the virtues we are to develop in our lives while on earth, or gain through merit via penance and mortification. From Reality-A Thomistic Synthesis....which I did quote before on this blog and have recommended.
The point of this selection has to do with the fact that in order to develop and make a habit of virtue, one must use one's intellect. Virtues do not emanate from the emotions. Virtue forms the emotions to be the servants of the intellect and will.
One chooses to be trained in the virtues, to allow God to bring one to understand virtue in a particular way, such as through suffering or study.
But, learn the virtues we must. Some saints have infused virtue, but for most humans, virtues must be cultivated in cooperation with grace.
However, infused virtue comes after the practice of acquired virtue, in somewhat the same way that infused contemplation follows acquired contemplation.
Those who do not grow in virtue fall back into stupidity.
Stupidity ignores the virtuous life.
Article Two: Classification Of Virtues
Some virtues are intellectual, some are moral, some are theological. The intellectual virtues  are five: three in the speculative order, namely, first principles, science, and wisdom, and two in the practical order, prudence  and art. .
Moral virtues are perfections, either of the will or of the sense appetite. In dividing them St. Thomas is guided by the ancient moralists, Aristotle, St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine. All moral virtues are reduced to the four cardinal virtues:  prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance. Prudence, though it is an intellectual virtue, is likewise a moral virtue, because it guides both the will and the sense appetite in finding the right means in attaining an end. Justice inclines the will to give everyone his due. Fortitude strengthens the irascible appetite against unreasonable fear. Temperance rules the concupiscible appetite.
The theological virtues  elevate our higher faculties, intellect and will, proportioning them to our supernatural end, that is, to God's own inner life.  Faith makes us adhere supernaturally to what God has revealed. Hope, resting on His grace, tends to possess Him. Charity makes us love Him, more than ourselves, more than all else, because His infinite goodness is in itself lovable, and because He, both as Creator and as Father, loved us first. The theological virtues, therefore, are essentially supernatural and infused, by reason of their formal objects, which without them are simply inaccessible.
By this same rule St. Thomas distinguishes the infused moral virtues from acquired moral virtues.  This distinction, of capital importance yet too little known, must be emphasized. The acquired moral virtues do indeed incline us to what is in itself good, not merely to what is useful or delectable. They make man perfect as man. But they do not suffice to make man a God's child, who, guided by faith and Christian prudence, is to employ supernatural means for a supernatural end. Thus infused temperance, say, is specifically distinct from acquired temperance, as, to illustrate, a higher note on the key board is specifically distinct from the same note on a lower octave. Thus we distinguish Christian temperance from philosophic temperance, and evangelical poverty from the philosophic poverty of Crates. Acquired temperance, to continue with St. Thomas,  differs from infused temperance in rule, object, and end. It observes the just medium in nourishment, so as not to harm health or occupation. Infused temperance observes a higher medium, so as to live like a child of God on his march to a life that is eternal and supernatural. It implies a more severe mortification, which chastises the body and reduces it to subjection,  not merely to become a good citizen here below but rather a fellow citizen of the saints, a child in the family of God. .
This same difference between infused and acquired is found likewise in prudence, justice, and fortitude. Yet we must note that acquired virtue facilitates the exercise of infused virtue, as, to illustrate, finger exercises facilitate the musician's art which resides in the musician's intellect.
As the acquired virtues in the will and sense appetite, justice, namely, and fortitude, and temperance, are inseparable from prudence, so the infused virtues are inseparable from charity. Faith and hope can indeed continue to exist without charity, but they no longer exist in a state of virtue,  and their acts are no longer meritorious. And whereas all moral virtues, infused or acquired, must preserve a medium between excess and defect, the theological virtues have no medium properly speaking, because we can neither believe too much in God, nor hope too much in Him, nor love Him too much. 
to be continued...
Be ye perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.----Matt. 5:48