Choose a topic from Part 2A:

13. Election or Choice of Means

1. The will chooses the end and the means to the end in its particular acts. The intellect judges means as to suitability, but the choice or election of means is an act of the will.

2. Since choice or election is an operation of the rational appetite called the will, it cannot be exercised by non rational animals. Animals make sense judgments and act on them by instinct, which is an interior sensing power, an inner sense. But animals cannot know means as such, nor choose means in the light of understanding, for they do not possess understanding.

3. Man's last end or ultimate good is not subject to choice; man tends to it by necessity. Man's choice is limited to the field of means. Yet each means is chosen as a good or an end, but not as ultimate end. In choosing a particular end or good, the human will is actually choosing a means to the ultimate end.

4. The field of choice of means, the arena of human freedom, is the field of human acts. No man, according to Aristotle, chooses anything but what he can do himself.

5. And thus choice is limited to the realm of things humanly possible. Aristotle says (Ethic. iii): "There is no choice among impossibilities."

6. Choice, by its very nature, is free. A necessitated choice is not a choice at all. The compelling attraction of the last end of man, that is, the supreme good, removes it from the field of choice; man must will the last end for he cannot will unfulfillment. But no particular good or end is so perfect as to compel the will to tend to it. In every particular thing, the intellect can discern points or phases of attractiveness and of unattractiveness. Sin is evil, but it offers the sinner an apparent and ready satisfaction, that is, it is seen in the light of something good or desirable. And virtue is entirely attractive, yet it can be regarded as undesirable in so far as it exacts effort and is to be attained only by sustained and tedious labor. Thus in a particular choice, the will may go either way. This is what is meant by freedom of choice.

"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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"Try to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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