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5. Goodness

1. A thing has goodness in so far as it can be the goal of a desire or tendency. That is called good which answers an appetite or appetency. Now, a thing can be the goal of a tendency by the fact that it is a thing at all, that it has being. Hence goodness and being are really the same thing. But logically, that is, in the way of human understanding, there is a distinction between goodness and being; for we can think of being without noticing that it is desirable or good. Therefore, between goodness and being, there is not a real distinction (as between thing and thing), but there is a logical distinction (as between distinct mental approaches to the same thing).

2. Hence it is evident that our idea of being is prior to our idea of goodness; for we are aware of a being as such before we are aware that it is necessarily good.

3. A thing is good in so far as it has positive being; positive being is perfection or actuality. For perfection is desirable, and desirability defines goodness.

4. Goodness has the character of a final cause, for it is an end-in-view; it invites or attracts, and thus far causes the action which seeks to attain it.

5. Positive being (and hence perfection or actuality) is found in the essence of a thing, in its mode of being, in its specific kind, and in its tendency to its end. Therefore we discern goodness in a reality, in its mode, in its species, and in its direction to its end, goal, or purpose.

6. Good may be classified as the seemly or virtuous, the pleasing, and the useful.

"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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"It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come."
Thomas á Kempis

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