Summary Against Modern Thought: How We Can Love God

Summary Against Modern Thought: How We Can Love God

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Key quote: “because of [love], even difficult things are lightly regarded.” Who, who has experienced love, can deny this?


1 From the foregoing it becomes evident that man achieves this result through the help of divine sanctifying grace: the fact that he loves God.

2 For sanctifying grace is an effect in man of divine love. But the proper effect in man of divine love seems to be the fact that he loves God. Indeed, this is the principal thing in the lover’s intention: to be loved in turn by the object of his love. To this, then, the lover’s main effort inclines, to attract his beloved to the love of himself; unless this occurs, his love must come to naught. So, this fact that he loves God is the result in man of sanctifying grace.

3 Again, there must be some union of things for which there is one end, as a result of their being ordered to this end. Thus, in a state men are unified by a certain concord, so that they may be able to attain the public good, and soldiers in combat must be united and act with one accord, so that victory, the common end, may be achieved.

Now, the ultimate end, to which man is brought with the help of divine grace, is the vision of God in His essence, which is proper to God Himself. Thus, this final good is shared with man by God. So, man cannot be brought to this end unless he be united with God by the conformation of his will. And this is the proper effect of love, for “it is proper to friends to approve and disapprove the same things, and to be delighted in and to be pained by the same things.” Hence, by sanctifying grace man is established as a lover of God, since man is directed by it to the end that has been shared with him by God.

Notes The quotes is from The Philosopher, in the Nicomachean Ethics. For example, “But if one friend remained the same while the other became better and far outstripped him in virtue, should the latter treat the former as a friend? Surely he cannot. When the interval is great this becomes most plain, e.g. in the case of childish friendships; if one friend remained a child in intellect while the other became a fully developed man, how could they be friends when they neither approved of the same things nor delighted in and were pained by the same things? For not even with regard to each other will their tastes agree, and without this (as we saw) they cannot be friends; for they cannot live together. But we have discussed these matters.”

4 Besides, since the end and the good are the proper object of the appetite or affection, man’s affections must be chiefly perfected by sanctifying grace, which directs man to his ultimate end. But the chief perfection of the affections is love. The mark of this is that every movement of feeling is derived from love, for no one desires, hopes, or rejoices except because of a good which is loved. Likewise, neither does anyone experience repugnance, fear, sorrow, or anger except because of what is opposed to the good that is loved. Therefore, the principal effect of sanctifying grace is for man to love God.

5 Moreover, the form whereby a thing is ordered to an end makes the thing somewhat like the end. For instance, a body acquires through the form of weight a likeness and conformity to the place toward which it is moved naturally. But we showed that sanctifying grace is a certain form in man whereby he is ordered to his ultimate end, Who is God. So, man achieves the likeness to God through grace. Now, likeness is the cause of love, for everything loves its like (See Sirach 13:19). Therefore, by grace man is made a lover of God.

Notes The quotation is “Every beast loveth its like: so also every man him that is nearest to himself.”

6 Furthermore, it is required for perfection of operation that a person act steadily and promptly. Now, love produces this result especially; because of it, even difficult things are lightly regarded. So, since man’s operations must become perfect as a result of sanctifying grace, as appears from what we have said, it is necessary for the love of God to be established in us through this grace.

7 Hence, the Apostle says, in Romans (5:5): “the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.” Moreover, the Lord has promised His vision to those who love Him, saying in John (14:21): “he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father; and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him.”

8 Thus, it is clear that grace, which directs us to the final divine vision, causes the love of God in us.


  1. C-Marie

    Yes, being able to Love God, is the result of man’s cooperation with God’s gift to man of Sanctifying Grace.

    God bless, C-Marie

  2. Hans Erren

    “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

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