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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.

"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."
St Nicholas Flue

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"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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