Thomas Aquino

Fede

Virtue

Faith - Charity.

The object of our faith is the First Truth, that is, God; He is the object and together the reason for our faith. Let us therefore say that of faith he is the material and formal object.

OBJECT OF THE FAITH

Truth before, the material object of our faith, is a complex object by the believer, because our intellect can formulate the articles that concern it only by proceeding with affirmations or negations, but it is not a complex object by God, because God is simple.

God is the formal object of faith, that is, why we believe: faith therefore does not rest on falsehood, because God, who enlightens our faith, cannot make us see the falsehood. Faith has things that do not appear, so the subject of faith is not what the intellect itself intends, but what it is about to command by the will; therefore, one truth cannot be the subject of understanding and faith at the same time and for the same subject; it may be for different subjects; however, that which is to be believed by faith from the totality of men is not understood by intellects.

The truths to be believed are distinguished in articles because, as in our body we distinguish between the arts, so agrees with our intellect that even in the subject of faith, which is complex to him, we distinguish so many little arts or articles. Throughout the centuries, the articles of faith grew, but not with the substance, but with regard to their performance and the explicit profession of the faithful.

The Church then has distinctly formulated the articles of faith in divinity and faith in the humanity of Jesus Christ, and has acted appropriately by bringing them together in the Symbol. On the Symbol, since it is about the whole Church, it is only the one who is the head of the whole Church, that is, the Pope.

ACT OF FAITH

Believing is to think with assent and precisely with firm assent, otherwise it would be either to doubt, or to suspect, or to argue.
The expressions: I believe Deum, I believe Deo, I believe in Deum, point to one material object, the other is the formal object, the third is the ultimate object of faith. If you have faith in what the mind does not come to, and if then you cannot please God without faith, you have to believe in something that goes beyond human reason. Now, faith teaches us precisely in what drives the beatific vision, which is superior to human nature.

Indeed, speaking in general, it must be said that faith is also needed in what reason can come from itself, such as the existence of God: for only so, immediately and without error, they come to the knowledge of divine truth.
The first things to believe, that is, articles of faith, must be explicitly believed, but things that have secondary relationship with faith are enough to believe them implicitly. The superiors, then, who must educate the inferior, must explicitly believe more than the inferior ones.

From the coming of Jesus Christ onward the explicit faith of the Incarnation is necessary for everyone to be saved, and the explicit faith of the Trinity is also necessary because it is presupposed by the mystery of the Incarnation.
Believing with faith in charity is meritorious, for it is a free act, which supports the motion of grace; reason then increases the merit if it is intended to illustrate the truth of the faith, but it diminishes if it is the one that induces the intellect to believe it.

THE PROFESSION OF THE FAITH

The extreme profession of faith is act of faith, being the end of faith, as well as the word is the term of thought.
The profession of faith is necessary for salvation; however, it is, like any other positive precept, compulsory at any time, but only in the given circumstances.

THE VIRT OF THE FAITH

The words of the Apostle: "Faith is the substance of hopeless things and the subject of the non-living," though they are not a formal definition of faith, derived from the next genus and the specific difference, but they are a descriptive definition derived from its object, that is, beatific vision initiating with faith, and by its effect, the assent of the intellect to the unseen things.

Faith is, as in its subject, in the intellect, so that belief is the act of the intellect, having the truth to believe in truth, and having the truth relationship with the intellect; and faith is the principle of believing.

Charity is then the form of faith, for form is what makes perfect and is charity that makes perfect faith, which works for love; and charity, which is the form of faith, belongs to the will rather than to the intellect, so it may be that faith is in an intellect coupled with a charity-free will and thus an imperfect, informal faith which can then become a faith formed and perfect if the will comes from charity, that is, grace; and it may well be that a previously established faith; then become inform. True virtue is only faith formed, because it is only the principle of perfect acts. Faith, by the men who possess it, is manifold, but by God, which is the object, is unique and equal for all. Faith by itself is the first virtue, because it is the principle of spiritual life and you cannot love God, the ultimate end, hoping for in Him unless you know Him by faith; accidentally however, since there is no faith without humility, one can say that the first virtue is humility. Faith has greater certainty of science, wisdom, and intellect, both by its cause, which is the Word of God, and by the assent, for the assent of faith is firm.

WHO HAS FAITH?

Angels and men were created in grace and therefore they had the faith, which is the beginning and preparation for the beatific vision.
Faith, which is the consensus of the intellect under the will of the will, also has the demons, forced by the evidence of the signs, but theirs is a forced faith and which they displease. Those who deny faith to a single article of the Faith do not even have faith in the other articles, for in this way reject the same formal object of faith, that is, the authority of the Church, which proceeds from God; and therefore other heretical articles can only have an opinion according to their will and judgment.
One can have more faith than others, the number of articles, and the firmness of the intellect and willingness of the will.

WHO CAUSES FAITH?

It is God who infuses faith: he causes faith in us as to material object, because it is God who reveals truths to believe; and he causes faith in us even as to the assent of the mind, because it comes from the will, but moved by grace, and not by the only free will, as the Pelagians demanded.
The same loyal faith is God's gift, for it is also faith, and if it is clear, it is for a defect that is not intrinsic, but extrinsic, because of the lack of charity in the will.

EFFECTS OF THE FAITH

The effect of faith is fear; and in particular the servile fear is the effect of faithless faith, which fears the punishment of God the Judge; filial fear is the effect of the established faith, which fears the separation from God the Supreme Good.
The effect of faith is also the purification of the heart, for if impurity is mixing with lower things, purification will be the opposite, and the first principle is faith, which elevates us to union with God.

EFFECTS OF THE FAITH

The effect of faith is fear; and in particular the servile fear is the effect of faithless faith, which fears the punishment of God the Judge; filial fear is the effect of the established faith, which fears the separation from God the Supreme Good. The effect of faith is also the purification of the heart, for if impurity is mixing with lower things, purification will be the opposite, and the first principle is faith, which elevates us to union with God.

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