QUESTION 28: OF JOY
WE must now consider the effects which result from the principal act of
charity which is love, and (1) the interior effects, (2) the exterior
effects. As to the first, three things have to be considered: (1) Joy,
(2) Peace, (3) Mercy.
Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether joy is an effect of charity?
(2) Whether this kind of joy is compatible with sorrow?
(3) Whether this joy can be full?
(4) Whether it is a virtue?
Article 1: Whether joy is effected in us by charity?
Objection 1: It would seem that joy is not effected in us by charity. For the
absence of what we love causes sorrow rather than joy. But God, Whom we
love by charity, is absent from us, so long as we are in this state of
life, since "while we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord" (2
Cor. 5:6). Therefore charity causes sorrow in us rather than joy.
Objection 2: Further, it is chiefly through charity that we merit happiness.
Now mourning, which pertains to sorrow, is reckoned among those things
whereby we merit happiness, according to Mt. 5:5: "Blessed are they that
mourn, for they shall be comforted." Therefore sorrow, rather than joy,
is an effect of charity.
Objection 3: Further, charity is a virtue distinct from hope, as shown above
(Question , Article ). Now joy is the effect of hope, according to Rm. 12:12:
"Rejoicing in hope." Therefore it is not the effect of charity.
On the contrary, It is written (Rm. 5:5): "The charity of God is poured
forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Who is given to us." But joy is
caused in us by the Holy Ghost according to Rm. 14:17: "The kingdom of
God is not meat and drink, but justice and peace, and joy in the Holy
Ghost." Therefore charity is a cause of joy.
I answer that, As stated above (FS, Question , Articles ,2,3), when we were
treating of the passions, joy and sorrow proceed from love, but in
contrary ways. For joy is caused by love, either through the presence of
the thing loved, or because the proper good of the thing loved exists and
endures in it; and the latter is the case chiefly in the love of
benevolence, whereby a man rejoices in the well-being of his friend,
though he be absent. On the other hand sorrow arises from love, either
through the absence of the thing loved, or because the loved object to
which we wish well, is deprived of its good or afflicted with some evil.
Now charity is love of God, Whose good is unchangeable, since He is His
goodness, and from the very fact that He is loved, He is in those who
love Him by His most excellent effect, according to 1 Jn. 4:16: "He that
abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him." Therefore spiritual
joy, which is about God, is caused by charity.
Reply to Objection 1: So long as we are in the body, we are said to be "absent
from the Lord," in comparison with that presence whereby He is present to
some by the vision of "sight"; wherefore the Apostle goes on to say (2
Cor. 5:6): "For we walk by faith and not by sight." Nevertheless, even in
this life, He is present to those who love Him, by the indwelling of His
Reply to Objection 2: The mourning that merits happiness, is about those things
that are contrary to happiness. Wherefore it amounts to the same that
charity causes this mourning, and this spiritual joy about God, since to
rejoice in a certain good amounts to the same as to grieve for things
that are contrary to it.
Reply to Objection 3: There can be spiritual joy about God in two ways. First, when we rejoice in the Divine good considered in itself; secondly, when we rejoice in the Divine good as participated by us. The former joy is the better, and proceeds from charity chiefly: while the latter joy proceeds from hope also, whereby we look forward to enjoy the Divine good, although this enjoyment itself, whether perfect or imperfect, is obtained according to the measure of one's charity.
Article 2: Whether the spiritual joy, which results from charity, is compatible with an admixture of sorrow?
Objection 1: It would seem that the spiritual joy that results from charity is
compatible with an admixture of sorrow. For it belongs to charity to
rejoice in our neighbor's good, according to 1 Cor. 13:4,6: "Charity . .
. rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth." But this joy
is compatible with an admixture of sorrow, according to Rm. 12:15:
"Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep." Therefore the
spiritual joy of charity is compatible with an admixture of sorrow.
Objection 2: Further, according to Gregory (Hom. in Evang. xxxiv), "penance
consists in deploring past sins, and in not committing again those we
have deplored." But there is no true penance without charity. Therefore
the joy of charity has an admixture of sorrow.
Objection 3: Further, it is through charity that man desires to be with Christ
according to Phil. 1:23: "Having a desire to be dissolved and to be with
Christ." Now this desire gives rise, in man, to a certain sadness,
according to Ps. 119:5: "Woe is me that my sojourning is prolonged!"
Therefore the joy of charity admits of a seasoning of sorrow.
On the contrary, The joy of charity is joy about the Divine wisdom. Now
such like joy has no admixture of sorrow, according to Wis. 8:16: "Her
conversation hath no bitterness." Therefore the joy of charity is
incompatible with an admixture of sorrow.
I answer that, As stated above (Article , ad 3), a twofold joy in God arises
from charity. One, the more excellent, is proper to charity; and with
this joy we rejoice in the Divine good considered in itself. This joy of
charity is incompatible with an admixture of sorrow, even as the good
which is its object is incompatible with any admixture of evil: hence the
Apostle says (Phil. 4:4): "Rejoice in the Lord always."
The other is the joy of charity whereby we rejoice in the Divine good as
participated by us. This participation can be hindered by anything
contrary to it, wherefore, in this respect, the joy of charity is
compatible with an admixture of sorrow, in so far as a man grieves for
that which hinders the participation of the Divine good, either in us or
in our neighbor, whom we love as ourselves.
Reply to Objection 1: Our neighbor does not weep save on account of some evil.
Now every evil implies lack of participation in the sovereign good: hence
charity makes us weep with our neighbor in so far as he is hindered from
participating in the Divine good.
Reply to Objection 2: Our sins divide between us and God, according to Is. 59:2;
wherefore this is the reason why we grieve for our past sins, or for
those of others, in so far as they hinder us from participating in the
Reply to Objection 3: Although in this unhappy abode we participate, after a
fashion, in the Divine good, by knowledge and love, yet the unhappiness
of this life is an obstacle to a perfect participation in the Divine
good: hence this very sorrow, whereby a man grieves for the delay of
glory, is connected with the hindrance to a participation of the Divine
Article 3: Whether the spiritual joy which proceeds from charity, can be filled?
Objection 1: It would seem that the spiritual joy which proceeds from charity
cannot be filled. For the more we rejoice in God, the more is our joy in
Him filled. But we can never rejoice in Him as much as it is meet that we
should rejoice in God, since His goodness which is infinite, surpasses
the creature's joy which is finite. Therefore joy in God can never be
Objection 2: Further, that which is filled cannot be increased. But the joy,
even of the blessed, can be increased, since one's joy is greater than
another's. Therefore joy in God cannot be filled in a creature.
Objection 3: Further, comprehension seems to be nothing else than the fulness
of knowledge. Now, just as the cognitive power of a creature is finite,
so is its appetitive power. Since therefore God cannot be comprehended by
any creature, it seems that no creature's joy in God can be filled.
On the contrary, Our Lord said to His disciples (Jn. 15:11): "That My
joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled."
I answer that, Fulness of joy can be understood in two ways; first, on
the part of the thing rejoiced in, so that one rejoice in it as much as
it is meet that one should rejoice in it, and thus God's joy alone in
Himself is filled, because it is infinite; and this is condignly due to
the infinite goodness of God: but the joy of any creature must needs be
finite. Secondly, fulness of joy may be understood on the part of the one
who rejoices. Now joy is compared to desire, as rest to movement, as
stated above (FS, Question , Articles ,2), when we were treating of the passions:
and rest is full when there is no more movement. Hence joy is full, when
there remains nothing to be desired. But as long as we are in this world,
the movement of desire does not cease in us, because it still remains
possible for us to approach nearer to God by grace, as was shown above
(Question , Articles ,7). When once, however, perfect happiness has been
attained, nothing will remain to be desired, because then there will be
full enjoyment of God, wherein man will obtain whatever he had desired,
even with regard to other goods, according to Ps. 102:5: "Who satisfieth
thy desire with good things." Hence desire will be at rest, not only our
desire for God, but all our desires: so that the joy of the blessed is
full to perfection---indeed over-full, since they will obtain more than
they were capable of desiring: for "neither hath it entered into the
heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1
Cor. 2:9). This is what is meant by the words of Lk. 6:38: "Good measure
and pressed down, and shaken together, and running over shall they give
into your bosom." Yet, since no creature is capable of the joy condignly
due to God, it follows that this perfectly full joy is not taken into
man, but, on the contrary, man enters into it, according to Mt. 25:21:
"Enter into the joy of thy Lord."
Reply to Objection 1: This argument takes the fulness of joy in reference to the
thing in which we rejoice.
Reply to Objection 2: When each one attains to happiness he will reach the term
appointed to him by Divine predestination, and nothing further will
remain to which he may tend, although by reaching that term, some will
approach nearer to God than others. Hence each one's joy will be full
with regard to himself, because his desire will be fully set at rest; yet
one's joy will be greater than another's, on account of a fuller
participation of the Divine happiness.
Reply to Objection 3: Comprehension denotes fulness of knowledge in respect of
the thing known, so that it is known as much as it can be. There is
however a fulness of knowledge in respect of the knower, just as we have
said of joy. Wherefore the Apostle says (Col. 1:9): "That you may be
filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual
Article 4: Whether joy is a virtue?
Objection 1: It would seem that joy is a virtue. For vice is contrary to
virtue. Now sorrow is set down as a vice, as in the case of sloth and
envy. Therefore joy also should be accounted a virtue.
Objection 2: Further, as love and hope are passions, the object of which is
"good," so also is joy. Now love and hope are reckoned to be virtues.
Therefore joy also should be reckoned a virtue.
Objection 3: Further, the precepts of the Law are about acts of virtue. But we
are commanded to rejoice in the Lord, according to Phil. 4:4: "Rejoice in
the Lord always." Therefore joy is a virtue.
I answer that, As stated above (FS, Question , Articles ,4), virtue is an
operative habit, wherefore by its very nature it has an inclination to a
certain act. Now it may happen that from the same habit there proceed
several ordinate and homogeneous acts, each of which follows from
another. And since the subsequent acts do not proceed from the virtuous
habit except through the preceding act, hence it is that the virtue is
defined and named in reference to that preceding act, although those
other acts also proceed from the virtue. Now it is evident from what we
have said about the passions (FS, Question , Articles ,4) that love is the first
affection of the appetitive power, and that desire and joy follow from
it. Hence the same virtuous habit inclines us to love and desire the
beloved good, and to rejoice in it. But in as much as love is the first
of these acts, that virtue takes its name, not from joy, nor from desire,
but from love, and is called charity. Hence joy is not a virtue distinct
from charity, but an act, or effect, of charity: for which reason it is
numbered among the Fruits (Gal. 5:22).
Reply to Objection 1: The sorrow which is a vice is caused by inordinate
self-love, and this is not a special vice, but a general source of the
vices, as stated above (FS, Question , Article ); so that it was necessary to
account certain particular sorrows as special vices, because they do not
arise from a special, but from a general vice. On the other hand love of
God is accounted a special virtue, namely charity, to which joy must be
referred, as its proper act, as stated above (here and Article ).
Reply to Objection 2: Hope proceeds from love even as joy does, but hope adds, on
the part of the object, a special character, viz. "difficult," and
"possible to obtain"; for which reason it is accounted a special virtue.
On the other hand joy does not add to love any special aspect, that might
cause a special virtue.
Reply to Objection 3: The Law prescribes joy, as being an act of charity, albeit
not its first act.