The Order of Charity in Thomas Aquinas

Philosophy and Theology 9 (1/2):13-27 (1995)
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Abstract

Thomas articulates the proper priority among charity’s objects based on his understanding of charity as rooted in the fellowship of eternal happiness. God, as the source of the happiness, is our principal “fellow” in it and so first in the order of charity. The individual’s fellowship with himself or herself, with the “inner man,” is most intimate, and so the individual comes next in the order. Then come our neighbors, all of whom are our fellows now and may be our fellows for eternity. Finally, the body is itself properly an object of charity, for it is by means of the acts we perform in the body that we may come to share in the fellowship of eternal happiness

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