It’s been a few weeks, so please go back and review the previous post, knowledge of which is required here.
1 On the same premises it can be shown that the hope of future happiness must be caused in us by grace.
2 In fact, the love that a man has for others arises in man from the love that he has for himself, for a man stands in relation to a friend as he does to himself. But a person loves himself inasmuch as he wishes the good for himself, just as he loves another person by wishing him good. So, by the fact that a man is interested in his own good he is led to develop an interest in another person’s good. Hence, because a person hopes for good from some other person, a way develops for man to love that other person in himself, from whom he hopes to attain the good.
Indeed, a person is loved in himself when the lover wishes the good for him, even if the lover may receive nothing from him.
Now, since by sanctifying grace there is produced in man an act of loving God for Himself, the result was that man obtained hope from God by means of grace. However, though it is not for one’s own benefit, friendship, whereby one loves another for himself, has of course many resulting benefits, in the sense that one friend helps another as he helps himself. Hence, when one person loves another, and knows that he is loved by that other, he must get hope from him.
Now, by grace man is so established as a lover of God, through the love of charity, that he is also instructed by faith that he is first loved by God: according to the passage found in 1 John (4:10): “In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because He hath first loved us.” It follows, then, from the gift of grace that man gets hope from God. It is also clear from this that just as hope is a preparation of man for the true love of God, so also man is conversely strengthened in hope by charity.
3 Again, in every lover there is caused a desire to be united with his beloved, in so far as that is possible; as a result, it is most enjoyable to live with friends. So, if by grace man is made a lover of God, there must be produced in him a desire for union with God, according as that is possible.
But faith, which is caused by grace, makes it clear that the union of man with God in the perfect enjoyment in which happiness consists is possible. Therefore, the desire for this fruition results in man from the love of God. But the desire for anything bothers the soul of the desirer, unless there be present some hope of attainment. So, it was appropriate that in man, in whom God’s love and faith are caused by grace, there should also be caused a hope of acquiring future happiness.
4 Besides, if some difficulty should emerge among things ordered to a desired end, hope of attaining the end provides solace. For instance, a person suffers but slightly from the bitterness of medicine because of his hope for good health. But in our process of working toward happiness, which is the end of all our desires, many difficulties present burdens to be borne, because virtue, by which one advances toward happiness, “is concerned with difficulties.” Therefore, in order that man may tend toward happiness smoothly and readily, it was necessary to provide him with the hope of obtaining happiness.
5 Moreover, no one is moved toward an end that he judges impossible to attain. So, in order that a person may push forward toward the end, he must have a feeling toward the end as toward something possible of attainment, and this is the feeling of hope. Therefore, since man is directed toward his ultimate end of happiness by grace, it was necessary for the hope of attaining happiness to be impressed on man’s power of feeling by means of grace.
Notes Our good saint is being strict here. Impossible means just that, not possible, and not “unlikely” or whatever. It is possible to fantasize the impossible, like imagining walking around the center of the sun with no electronic aid, and thus to desire it. But you don’t have hope for it unless you truly believe it can happen.
6 Hence, it is said in 1 Peter (1:3-4): “He hath regenerated us unto a lively hope… unto an inheritance incorruptible, reserved for heaven.” And again in Romans (8:24) it is said: “we are saved by hope.”