Choose a topic from Part 1:

95. The Will of the First Man

1. Man was created in grace. The subjection of his reasonto God, and of his lower appetites to his reason, were gifts ofgrace, not merely natural perfections.

2. The lower appetites of man are the tendencies of hisbodily nature. Now, that which experiences appetency or tendencyundergoes something. The Latin word for an undergoing ispassio. Hence the experience, the kick-back, of sentientappetites (concupiscible and irascible) is called passion.We distinguish the passions, according to the appetites which theyfollow upon, as concupiscible and irascible passions. And, althoughthe passions belong to the sentient order, we call them thepassions of the soul because they exercise an influence which risesinto the intellective order and affects the faculties of the soul,especially the will. The passions of the soul are: (a) theconcupiscible passions: love-hatred, desire-aversion,joy-grief; (b) the irascible passions: hope-despair,courage-fear, anger. Our first parents, in the state of innocence,were not subject to the passions that have reference to evil, forthey had to face no evil, present or threatening; hence they werenot subject to fear, grief, despair, anger, or inordinate desire.They had only such passions as refer to present and future good:joy, love, hope, orderly desire. And these passions of our firstparents were, before the fall, perfectly subject to their reason,that is, to their intellectually enlightened will.

3. Virtues are habits (that is, stable qualities) whichsteadily dispose the soul to act in accordance with reason andGod's law. The first man had all the virtues that suited hisstate, and he had the habitual aptitude for those virtues which hadno place in the state of innocence, such, for instance, as thevirtue of penance.

4. Considering the full and unimpeded flow of grace to thesinless soul, we find that the actions of man in the state ofinnocence were of greater merit than those performed after thefall. But considering the difficulty which fallen man experiencesin performing good works, we may discern a greater merit in goodactions performed after the fall. A small thing done withdifficulty may mean more than a great thing done with ease.Our Lord said that the poor widow who gave only two small coins incharity, which were all she had, gave more than the rich peoplewho, out of their abundance, made large contributions.

"For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?"
Thomas á Kempis

* * *

"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

* * *

"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

* * *