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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.

"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Happy is the youth, because he has time before him to do good. "
St Philip Neri

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