The object of hope

If the proper object of the Christian virtue of hope is, as Thomas argues, “eternal blessedness,” (IIa IIae, 17, 2) it would seem improper to hope for the manifold other things for which we in fact do hope: “bona praesentis vitae tam spiritualia quam temporalia, et etiam liberationem a malis.” How can we hope for temporal goods without betraying our ultimate good?

Thomas’s solution: “quaecumque alia bona non debemus a Deo petere nisi in ordine ad beatitudinem aeternam.” We only hope for temporal goods insofar as they are ordered to the good of eternal life. The structure of the Lord’s Prayer preserves this grammar of hope, instructing Christians to pray for daily bread and deliverance from evil only after asking that the Lord’s name be hallowed, and that his kingdom come.

This entry was posted in Eternal Good, Hope, Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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