QUESTION 28: OF THE EFFECTS OF LOVE
We now have to consider the effects of love: under which head there are
six points of inquiry:
(1) Whether union is an effect of love?
(2) Whether mutual indwelling is an effect of love?
(3) Whether ecstasy is an effect of love?
(4) Whether zeal is an effect of love?
(5) Whether love is a passion that is hurtful to the lover?
(6) Whether love is cause of all that the lover does?
Article 1: Whether union is an effect of love?
Objection 1: It would seem that union is not an effect of love. For absence is
incompatible with union. But love is compatible with absence; for the
Apostle says (Gal. 4:18): "Be zealous for that which is good in a good
thing always" (speaking of himself, according to a gloss), "and not only
when I am present with you." Therefore union is not an effect of love.
Objection 2: Further, every union is either according to essence, thus form is
united to matter, accident to subject, and a part to the whole, or to
another part in order to make up the whole: or according to likeness, in
genus, species, or accident. But love does not cause union of essence;
else love could not be between things essentially distinct. On the other
hand, love does not cause union of likeness, but rather is caused by it,
as stated above (Question , Article ). Therefore union is not an effect of love.
Objection 3: Further, the sense in act is the sensible in act, and the
intellect in act is the thing actually understood. But the lover in act
is not the beloved in act. Therefore union is the effect of knowledge
rather than of love.
On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that every love is a
I answer that, The union of lover and beloved is twofold. The first is
real union; for instance, when the beloved is present with the lover. The
second is union of affection: and this union must be considered in
relation to the preceding apprehension; since movement of the appetite
follows apprehension. Now love being twofold, viz. love of concupiscence
and love of friendship; each of these arises from a kind of apprehension
of the oneness of the thing loved with the lover. For when we love a
thing, by desiring it, we apprehend it as belonging to our well-being. In
like manner when a man loves another with the love of friendship, he
wills good to him, just as he wills good to himself: wherefore he
apprehends him as his other self, in so far, to wit, as he wills good to
him as to himself. Hence a friend is called a man's "other self" (Ethic.
ix, 4), and Augustine says (Confess. iv, 6), "Well did one say to his
friend: Thou half of my soul."
The first of these unions is caused "effectively" by love; because love
moves man to desire and seek the presence of the beloved, as of something
suitable and belonging to him. The second union is caused "formally" by
love; because love itself is this union or bond. In this sense Augustine
says (De Trin. viii, 10) that "love is a vital principle uniting, or
seeking to unite two together, the lover, to wit, and the beloved." For
in describing it as "uniting" he refers to the union of affection,
without which there is no love: and in saying that "it seeks to unite,"
he refers to real union.
Reply to Objection 1: This argument is true of real union. That is necessary to
pleasure as being its cause; desire implies the real absence of the
beloved: but love remains whether the beloved be absent or present.
Reply to Objection 2: Union has a threefold relation to love. There is union
which causes love; and this is substantial union, as regards the love
with which one loves oneself; while as regards the love wherewith one
loves other things, it is the union of likeness, as stated above (Question , Article ). There is also a union which is essentially love itself. This union
is according to a bond of affection, and is likened to substantial union,
inasmuch as the lover stands to the object of his love, as to himself, if
it be love of friendship; as to something belonging to himself, if it be
love of concupiscence. Again there is a union, which is the effect of
love. This is real union, which the lover seeks with the object of his
love. Moreover this union is in keeping with the demands of love: for as
the Philosopher relates (Polit. ii, 1), "Aristophanes stated that lovers
would wish to be united both into one," but since "this would result in
either one or both being destroyed," they seek a suitable and becoming
union---to live together, speak together, and be united together in other
Reply to Objection 3: Knowledge is perfected by the thing known being united,
through its likeness, to the knower. But the effect of love is that the
thing itself which is loved, is, in a way, united to the lover, as stated
above. Consequently the union caused by love is closer than that which
is caused by knowledge.
Article 2: Whether mutual indwelling is an effect of love?
Objection 1: It would seem that love does not cause mutual indwelling, so that
the lover be in the beloved and vice versa. For that which is in another
is contained in it. But the same cannot be container and contents.
Therefore love cannot cause mutual indwelling, so that the lover be in
the beloved and vice versa.
Objection 2: Further, nothing can penetrate within a whole, except by means of
a division of the whole. But it is the function of the reason, not of the
appetite where love resides, to divide things that are really united.
Therefore mutual indwelling is not an effect of love.
Objection 3: Further, if love involves the lover being in the beloved and vice
versa, it follows that the beloved is united to the lover, in the same
way as the lover is united to the beloved. But the union itself is love,
as stated above (Article ). Therefore it follows that the lover is always
loved by the object of his love; which is evidently false. Therefore
mutual indwelling is not an effect of love.
On the contrary, It is written (1 Jn. 4:16): "He that abideth in charity
abideth in God, and God in him." Now charity is the love of God.
Therefore, for the same reason, every love makes the beloved to be in the
lover, and vice versa.
I answer that, This effect of mutual indwelling may be understood as
referring both to the apprehensive and to the appetitive power. Because,
as to the apprehensive power, the beloved is said to be in the lover,
inasmuch as the beloved abides in the apprehension of the lover,
according to Phil. 1:7, "For that I have you in my heart": while the
lover is said to be in the beloved, according to apprehension, inasmuch
as the lover is not satisfied with a superficial apprehension of the
beloved, but strives to gain an intimate knowledge of everything
pertaining to the beloved, so as to penetrate into his very soul. Thus it
is written concerning the Holy Ghost, Who is God's Love, that He
"searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:10).
As the appetitive power, the object loved is said to be in the lover,
inasmuch as it is in his affections, by a kind of complacency: causing
him either to take pleasure in it, or in its good, when present; or, in
the absence of the object loved, by his longing, to tend towards it with
the love of concupiscence, or towards the good that he wills to the
beloved, with the love of friendship: not indeed from any extrinsic cause
(as when we desire one thing on account of another, or wish good to
another on account of something else), but because the complacency in the
beloved is rooted in the lover's heart. For this reason we speak of love
as being "intimate"; and "of the bowels of charity." On the other hand,
the lover is in the beloved, by the love of concupiscence and by the love
of friendship, but not in the same way. For the love of concupiscence is
not satisfied with any external or superficial possession or enjoyment of
the beloved; but seeks to possess the beloved perfectly, by penetrating
into his heart, as it were. Whereas, in the love of friendship, the lover
is in the beloved, inasmuch as he reckons what is good or evil to his
friend, as being so to himself; and his friend's will as his own, so that
it seems as though he felt the good or suffered the evil in the person of
his friend. Hence it is proper to friends "to desire the same things, and
to grieve and rejoice at the same," as the Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 3
and Rhet. ii, 4). Consequently in so far as he reckons what affects his
friend as affecting himself, the lover seems to be in the beloved, as
though he were become one with him: but in so far as, on the other hand,
he wills and acts for his friend's sake as for his own sake, looking on
his friend as identified with himself, thus the beloved is in the lover.
In yet a third way, mutual indwelling in the love of friendship can be
understood in regard to reciprocal love: inasmuch as friends return love
for love, and both desire and do good things for one another.
Reply to Objection 1: The beloved is contained in the lover, by being impressed
on his heart and thus becoming the object of his complacency. On the
other hand, the lover is contained in the beloved, inasmuch as the lover
penetrates, so to speak, into the beloved. For nothing hinders a thing
from being both container and contents in different ways: just as a genus
is contained in its species, and vice versa.
Reply to Objection 2: The apprehension of the reason precedes the movement of
love. Consequently, just as the reason divides, so does the movement of
love penetrate into the beloved, as was explained above.
Reply to Objection 3: This argument is true of the third kind of mutual
indwelling, which is not to be found in every kind of love.
Article 3: Whether ecstasy is an effect of love?
Objection 1: It would seem that ecstasy is not an effect of love. For ecstasy
seems to imply loss of reason. But love does not always result in loss of
reason: for lovers are masters of themselves at times. Therefore love
does not cause ecstasy.
Objection 2: Further, the lover desires the beloved to be united to him.
Therefore he draws the beloved to himself, rather than betakes himself
into the beloved, going forth out from himself as it were.
Objection 3: Further, love unites the beloved to the lover, as stated above
(Article ). If, therefore, the lover goes out from himself, in order to
betake himself into the beloved, it follows that the lover always loves
the beloved more than himself: which is evidently false. Therefore
ecstasy is not an effect of love.
On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "the Divine love
produces ecstasy," and that "God Himself suffered ecstasy through love."
Since therefore according to the same author (Div. Nom. iv), every love
is a participated likeness of the Divine Love, it seems that every love
I answer that, To suffer ecstasy means to be placed outside oneself.
This happens as to the apprehensive power and as to the appetitive power.
As to the apprehensive power, a man is said to be placed outside himself,
when he is placed outside the knowledge proper to him. This may be due to
his being raised to a higher knowledge; thus, a man is said to suffer
ecstasy, inasmuch as he is placed outside the connatural apprehension of
his sense and reason, when he is raised up so as to comprehend things
that surpass sense and reason: or it may be due to his being cast down
into a state of debasement; thus a man may be said to suffer ecstasy,
when he is overcome by violent passion or madness. As to the appetitive
power, a man is said to suffer ecstasy, when that power is borne towards
something else, so that it goes forth out from itself, as it were.
The first of these ecstasies is caused by love dispositively in so far,
namely, as love makes the lover dwell on the beloved, as stated above
(Article ), and to dwell intently on one thing draws the mind from other
things. The second ecstasy is caused by love directly; by love of
friendship, simply; by love of concupiscence not simply but in a
restricted sense. Because in love of concupiscence, the lover is carried
out of himself, in a certain sense; in so far, namely, as not being
satisfied with enjoying the good that he has, he seeks to enjoy something
outside himself. But since he seeks to have this extrinsic good for
himself, he does not go out from himself simply, and this movement
remains finally within him. On the other hand, in the love of friendship,
a man's affection goes out from itself simply; because he wishes and does
good to his friend, by caring and providing for him, for his sake.
Reply to Objection 1: This argument is true of the first kind of ecstasy.
Reply to Objection 2: This argument applies to love of concupiscence, which, as
stated above, does not cause ecstasy simply.
Reply to Objection 3: He who loves, goes out from himself, in so far as he wills
the good of his friend and works for it. Yet he does not will the good of
his friend more than his own good: and so it does not follow that he
loves another more than himself.
Article 4: Whether zeal is an effect of love?
Objection 1: It would seem that zeal is not an effect of love. For zeal is a
beginning of contention; wherefore it is written (1 Cor. 3:3): "Whereas
there is among you zeal [Douay: 'envying'] and contention," etc. But
contention is incompatible with love. Therefore zeal is not an effect of
Objection 2: Further, the object of love is the good, which communicates
itself to others. But zeal is opposed to communication; since it seems an
effect of zeal, that a man refuses to share the object of his love with
another: thus husbands are said to be jealous of [zelare] their wives,
because they will not share them with others. Therefore zeal is not an
effect of love.
Objection 3: Further, there is no zeal without hatred, as neither is there
without love: for it is written (Ps. 72:3): "I had a zeal on occasion of
the wicked." Therefore it should not be set down as an effect of love any
more than of hatred.
On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv): "God is said to be a
zealot, on account of his great love for all things."
I answer that, Zeal, whatever way we take it, arises from the intensity
of love. For it is evident that the more intensely a power tends to
anything, the more vigorously it withstands opposition or resistance.
Since therefore love is "a movement towards the object loved," as
Augustine says (Questions. 83, qu. 35), an intense love seeks to remove
everything that opposes it.
But this happens in different ways according to love of concupiscence,
and love of friendship. For in love of concupiscence he who desires
something intensely, is moved against all that hinders his gaining or
quietly enjoying the object of his love. It is thus that husbands are
said to be jealous of their wives, lest association with others prove a
hindrance to their exclusive individual rights. In like manner those who
seek to excel, are moved against those who seem to excel, as though these
were a hindrance to their excelling. And this is the zeal of envy, of
which it is written (Ps. 36:1): "Be not emulous of evil doers, nor envy
[zelaveris] them that work iniquity."
On the other hand, love of friendship seeks the friend's good:
wherefore, when it is intense, it causes a man to be moved against
everything that opposes the friend's good. In this respect, a man is said
to be zealous on behalf of his friend, when he makes a point of repelling
whatever may be said or done against the friend's good. In this way, too,
a man is said to be zealous on God's behalf, when he endeavors, to the
best of his means, to repel whatever is contrary to the honor or will of
God; according to 3 Kgs. 19:14: "With zeal I have been zealous for the
Lord of hosts." Again on the words of Jn. 2:17: "The zeal of Thy house
hath eaten me up," a gloss says that "a man is eaten up with a good zeal,
who strives to remedy whatever evil he perceives; and if he cannot, bears
with it and laments it."
Reply to Objection 1: The Apostle is speaking in this passage of the zeal of
envy; which is indeed the cause of contention, not against the object of
love, but for it, and against that which is opposed to it.
Reply to Objection 2: Good is loved inasmuch as it can be communicated to the
lover. Consequently whatever hinders the perfection of this
communication, becomes hateful. Thus zeal arises from love of good. But
through defect of goodness, it happens that certain small goods cannot,
in their entirety, be possessed by many at the same time: and from the
love of such things arises the zeal of envy. But it does not arise,
properly speaking, in the case of those things which, in their entirety,
can be possessed by many: for no one envies another the knowledge of
truth, which can be known entirely by many; except perhaps one may envy
another his superiority in the knowledge of it.
Reply to Objection 3: The very fact that a man hates whatever is opposed to the
object of his love, is the effect of love. Hence zeal is set down as an
effect of love rather than of hatred.
Article 5: Whether love is a passion that wounds the lover?
Objection 1: It would seem that love wounds the lover. For languor denotes a
hurt in the one that languishes. But love causes languor: for it is
written (Cant 2:5): "Stay me up with flowers, compass me about with
apples; because I languish with love." Therefore love is a wounding
Objection 2: Further, melting is a kind of dissolution. But love melts that in
which it is: for it is written (Cant 5:6): "My soul melted when my
beloved spoke." Therefore love is a dissolvent: therefore it is a
corruptive and a wounding passion.
Objection 3: Further, fervor denotes a certain excess of heat; which excess
has a corruptive effect. But love causes fervor: for Dionysius (Coel.
Hier. vii) in reckoning the properties belonging to the Seraphim's love,
includes "hot" and "piercing" and "most fervent." Moreover it is said of
love (Cant 8:6) that "its lamps are fire and flames." Therefore love is a
wounding and corruptive passion.
On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "everything loves
itself with a love that holds it together," i.e. that preserves it.
Therefore love is not a wounding passion, but rather one that preserves
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Articles ,2; Question , Article ), love
denotes a certain adapting of the appetitive power to some good. Now
nothing is hurt by being adapted to that which is suitable to it; rather,
if possible, it is perfected and bettered. But if a thing be adapted to
that which is not suitable to it, it is hurt and made worse thereby.
Consequently love of a suitable good perfects and betters the lover; but
love of a good which is unsuitable to the lover, wounds and worsens him.
Wherefore man is perfected and bettered chiefly by the love of God: but
is wounded and worsened by the love of sin, according to Osee 9:10: "They
became abominable, as those things which they loved."
And let this be understood as applying to love in respect of its formal
element, i.e. in regard to the appetite. But in respect of the material
element in the passion of love, i.e. a certain bodily change, it happens
that love is hurtful, by reason of this change being excessive: just as
it happens in the senses, and in every act of a power of the soul that is
exercised through the change of some bodily organ.
In reply to the objections, it is to be observed that four proximate
effects may be ascribed to love: viz. melting, enjoyment, languor, and
fervor. Of these the first is "melting," which is opposed to freezing.
For things that are frozen, are closely bound together, so as to be hard
to pierce. But it belongs to love that the appetite is fitted to receive
the good which is loved, inasmuch as the object loved is in the lover, as
stated above (Article ). Consequently the freezing or hardening of the heart
is a disposition incompatible with love: while melting denotes a
softening of the heart, whereby the heart shows itself to be ready for
the entrance of the beloved. If, then, the beloved is present and
possessed, pleasure or enjoyment ensues. But if the beloved be absent,
two passions arise; viz. sadness at its absence, which is denoted by
"languor" (hence Cicero in De Tusc. Quaest. iii, 11 applies the term
"ailment" chiefly to sadness); and an intense desire to possess the
beloved, which is signified by "fervor." And these are the effects of
love considered formally, according to the relation of the appetitive
power to its object. But in the passion of love, other effects ensue,
proportionate to the above, in respect of a change in the organ.
Article 6: Whether love is cause of all that the lover does?
Objection 1: It would seem that the lover does not do everything from love.
For love is a passion, as stated above (Question , Article ). But man does not do
everything from passion: but some things he does from choice, and some
things from ignorance, as stated in Ethic. v, 8. Therefore not everything
that a man does, is done from love.
Objection 2: Further, the appetite is a principle of movement and action in
all animals, as stated in De Anima iii, 10. If, therefore, whatever a man
does is done from love, the other passions of the appetitive faculty are
Objection 3: Further, nothing is produced at one and the same time by contrary
causes. But some things are done from hatred. Therefore all things are
not done from love.
On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "all things,
whatever they do, they do for the love of good."
I answer that, Every agent acts for an end, as stated above (Question , Article ). Now the end is the good desired and loved by each one. Wherefore it is
evident that every agent, whatever it be, does every action from love of
Reply to Objection 1: This objection takes love as a passion existing in the
sensitive appetite. But here we are speaking of love in a general sense,
inasmuch as it includes intellectual, rational, animal, and natural love:
for it is in this sense that Dionysius speaks of love in chapter iv of De
Reply to Objection 2: As stated above (Article ; Question , Article ) desire, sadness and
pleasure, and consequently all the other passions of the soul, result
from love. Wherefore every act proceeds from any passion, proceeds also
from love as from a first cause: and so the other passions, which are
proximate causes, are not superfluous.