Choose a topic from Part 2A:

12. Intention

1. Intention is an elicited act of the will, by which the will purposes to go after an object.

2. Thus intention is the determining of an end; it is the setting up of a choice. The end intended may be the object of immediate choice, or it may be something that is to be attained by the use of means; effective intention must take in necessary means as well as the end which is to be attained by them. A means to an end is itself an end until it is attained.

3. Intention can therefore be directed to one object in itself directly, or as the goal of a series of means. And an intention may be singular, having only one thing in view, or it may be plural, having several non conflicting things in view. Thus a man may, in giving alms, intend simply to relieve poverty. Or he may have several intentions in his almsgiving: to relieve the poor; to practice self-denial; to do penance; to please God; to show good example; to win grace for his soul.

4. There is a difference between the will-acts of wish and intention. A man may wish for something without intending to make use of means to achieve it. Thus a man who is much overweight may wish to be thinner without intending to endure the hardship of a reducing diet.

5. Man alone, among earthly creatures, can form a true intention. Animals, plants, and minerals, and man in his bodily being, act with "the intention of nature," whether the activity be exercised with or without sentient knowledge. Intention in its true meaning is a free will-act, and belongs only to a being of the rational rder.

"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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"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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"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

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