QUESTION 93: OF THE HAPPINESS OF THE SAINTS AND THEIR MANSIONS
We must next consider the happiness of the saints and their mansions.
Under this head there are three points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the happiness of the saints will increase after the judgment?
(2) Whether the degrees of happiness should be called mansions?
(3) Whether the various mansions differ according to various degrees of
Article 1: Whether the happiness of the saints will be greater after the judgment than before?
Objection 1: It would seem that the happiness of the saints will not be
greater after the judgment than before. For the nearer a thing approaches
to the Divine likeness, the more perfectly does it participate happiness.
Now the soul is more like God when separated from the body than when
united to it. Therefore its happiness is greater before being reunited to
the body than after.
Objection 2: Further, power is more effective when it is united than when
divided. Now the soul is more united when separated from the body than
when it is joined to the body. Therefore it has then greater power for
operation, and consequently has a more perfect share of happiness, since
this consists in action [*Cf. FS, Question , Article ].
Objection 3: Further, beatitude consists in an act of the speculative
intellect. Now the intellect, in its act, makes no use of a bodily organ;
and consequently by being reunited to the body the soul does not become
capable of more perfect understanding. Therefore the soul's happiness is
not greater after than before the judgment.
Objection 4: Further, nothing can be greater than the infinite, and so the
addition of the finite to the infinite does not result in something
greater than the infinite by itself. Now the beatified soul before its
reunion with the body is rendered happy by rejoicing in the infinite
good, namely God; and after the resurrection of the body it will rejoice
in nothing else except perhaps the glory of the body, and this is a
finite good. Therefore their joy after the resumption of the body will
not be greater than before.
On the contrary, A gloss on Apoc. 6:9, "I saw under the altar the souls
of them that were slain," says: "At present the souls of the saints are
under the altar, i.e. less exalted than they will be." Therefore their
happiness will be greater after the resurrection than after their death.
Further, just as happiness is bestowed on the good as a reward, so is
unhappiness awarded to the wicked. But the unhappiness of the wicked
after reunion with their bodies will be greater than before, since they
will be punished not only in the soul but also in the body. Therefore the
happiness of the saints will be greater after the resurrection of the
body than before.
I answer that, It is manifest that the happiness of the saints will
increase in extent after the resurrection, because their happiness will
then be not only in the soul but also in the body. Moreover, the soul's
happiness also will increase in extent, seeing that the soul will rejoice
not only in its own good, but also in that of the body. We may also say
that the soul's happiness will increase in intensity [*Cf. FS, Question , Article 
, ad 5, where St. Thomas retracts this statement]. For man's body may be
considered in two ways: first, as being dependent on the soul for its
completion; secondly, as containing something that hampers the soul in
its operations, through the soul not perfectly completing the body. As
regards the first way of considering the body, its union with the soul
adds a certain perfection to the soul, since every part is imperfect, and
is completed in its whole; wherefore the whole is to the part as form to
matter. Consequently the soul is more perfect in its natural being, when
it is in the whole---namely, man who results from the union of soul and
body---than when it is a separate part. But as regards the second
consideration the union of the body hampers the perfection of the soul,
wherefore it is written (Wis. 9:15) that "the corruptible body is a load
upon the soul." If, then, there be removed from the body all those things
wherein it hampers the soul's action, the soul will be simply more
perfect while existing in such a body than when separated therefrom. Now
the more perfect a thing is in being, the more perfectly is it able to
operate: wherefore the operation of the soul united to such a body will
be more perfect than the operation of the separated soul. But the
glorified body will be a body of this description, being altogether
subject to the spirit. Therefore, since beatitude consists in an
operation [*Cf. FS, Question , Article , seqq.], the soul's happiness after its
reunion with the body will be more perfect than before. For just as the
soul separated from a corruptible body is able to operate more perfectly
than when united thereto, so after it has been united to a glorified
body, its operation will be more perfect than while it was separated. Now
every imperfect thing desires its perfection. Hence the separated soul
naturally desires reunion with the body and on account of this desire
which proceeds from the soul's imperfection its operation whereby it is
borne towards God is less intense. This agrees with the saying of
Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii, 35) that "on account of the body's desire it
is held back from tending with all its might to that sovereign good."
Reply to Objection 1: The soul united to a glorified body is more like to God
than when separated therefrom, in so far as when united it has more
perfect being. For the more perfect a thing is the more it is like to
God: even so the heart, the perfection of whose life consists in
movement, is more like to God while in movement than while at rest,
although God is never moved.
Reply to Objection 2: A power which by its own nature is capable of being in
matter is more effective when subjected in matter than when separated
from matter, although absolutely speaking a power separate from matter is
Reply to Objection 3: Although in the act of understanding the soul does not make
use of the body, the perfection of the body will somewhat conduce to the
perfection of the intellectual operation in so far as through being
united to a glorified body, the soul will be more perfect in its nature,
and consequently more effective in its operation, and accordingly the
good itself of the body will conduce instrumentally, as it were, to the
operation wherein happiness consists: thus the Philosopher asserts
(Ethic. i, 8,10) that external goods conduce instrumentally to the
happiness of life.
Reply to Objection 4: Although finite added to infinite does not make a greater
thing, it makes more things, since finite and infinite are two things,
while infinite taken by itself is one. Now the greater extent of joy
regards not a greater thing but more things. Wherefore joy is increased
in extent, through referring to God and to the body's glory, in
comparison with the joy which referred to God. Moreover, the body's glory
will conduce to the intensity of the joy that refers to God, in so far as
it will conduce to the more perfect operation whereby the soul tends to
God: since the more perfect is a becoming operation, the greater the
delight [*Cf. FS, Question , Article ], as stated in Ethic. x, 8.
Article 2: Whether the degrees of beatitude should be called mansions?
Objection 1: It would seem that the degrees of beatitude should not be called
mansions. For beatitude implies the notion of a reward: whereas mansion
denotes nothing pertaining to a reward. Therefore the various degrees of
beatitude should not be called mansions.
Objection 2: Further, mansion seemingly denotes a place. Now the place where
the saint will be beatified is not corporeal but spiritual, namely God
Who is one. Therefore there is but one mansion: and consequently the
various degrees of beatitude should not be called mansions.
Objection 3: Further, as in heaven there will be men of various merits, so are
there now in purgatory, and were in the limbo of the fathers. But various
mansions are not distinguished in purgatory and limbo. Therefore in like
manner neither should they be distinguished in heaven.
On the contrary, It is written (Jn. 14:2): "In My Father's house there
are many mansions": and Augustine expounds this in reference to the
different degrees of rewards (Tract. lxvii in Joan.).
Further, in every well-ordered city there is a distinction of mansions.
Now the heavenly kingdom is compared to a city (Apoc. 21:2). Therefore we
should distinguish various mansions there according to the various
degrees of beatitude.
I answer that, Since local movement precedes all other movements, terms
of movement, distance and the like are derived from local movement to all
other movements according to the Philosopher (Phys., liber viii, 7). Now
the end of local movement is a place, and when a thing has arrived at
that place it remains there at rest and is maintained therein. Hence in
every movement this very rest at the end of the movement is called an
establishment [collocatio] or mansion. Wherefore since the term movement
is transferred to the actions of the appetite and will, the attainment of
the end of an appetitive movement is called a mansion or establishment:
so that the unity of a house corresponds to the unity of beatitude which
unity is on the part of the object, and the plurality of mansions
corresponds to the differences of beatitude on the part of the blessed:
even so we observe in natural things that there is one same place above
to which all light objects tend, whereas each one reaches it more
closely, according as it is lighter, so that they have various mansions
corresponding to their various lightness.
Reply to Objection 1: Mansion implies the notion of end and consequently of
reward which is the end of merit.
Reply to Objection 2: Though there is one spiritual place, there are different
degrees of approaching thereto: and the various mansions correspond to
Reply to Objection 3: Those who were in limbo or are now in purgatory have not
yet attained to their end. Wherefore various mansions are not
distinguished in purgatory or limbo, but only in heaven and hell, wherein
is the end of the good and of the wicked.
Article 3: Whether the various mansions are distinguished according to the various degrees of charity?
Objection 1: It would seem that the various mansions are not distinguished
according to the various degrees of charity. For it is written (Mt. 25:15): "He gave to every one according to his proper virtue [Douay:
'ability']." Now the proper ability of a thing is its natural power.
Therefore the gifts also of grace and glory are distributed according to
the different degrees of natural power.
Objection 2: Further, it is written (Ps. 61:12): "Thou wilt render to every
man according to his works." Now that which is rendered is the measure of
beatitude. Therefore the degrees of beatitude are distinguished according
to the diversity of works and not according to the diversity of charity.
Objection 3: Further, reward is due to act and not to habit: hence "it is not
the strongest who are crowned but those who engage in the conflict"
(Ethic. i, 8) and "he . . . shall not be [Vulg.: 'is not'] crowned except
he strive lawfully." Now beatitude is a reward. Therefore the various
degrees of beatitude will be according to the various degrees of works
and not according to the various degrees of charity.
On the contrary, The more one will be united to God the happier will one
be. Now the measure of charity is the measure of one's union with God.
Therefore the diversity of beatitude will be according to the difference
Further, "if one thing simply follows from another thing simply, the
increase of the former follows from the increase of the latter." Now to
have beatitude follows from having charity. Therefore to have greater
beatitude follows from having greater charity.
I answer that, The distinctive principle of the mansions or degrees of beatitude is twofold, namely proximate and remote. The proximate principle is the difference of disposition which will be in the blessed, whence will result the difference of perfection in them in respect to the beatific operation: while the remote principle is the merit by which they have obtained that beatitude. In the first way the mansions are distinguished according to the charity of heaven, which the more perfect it will be in any one, the more will it render him capable of the Divine clarity, on the increase of which will depend the increase in perfection of the Divine vision. In the second way the mansions are distinguished according to the charity of the way. For our actions are meritorious, not by the very substance of the action, but only by the habit of virtue with which they are informed. Now every virtue obtains its meritorious efficacy from charity [*Cf. FS, Question , Article ], which has the end itself for its object [*Cf. SS, Question , Article , ad 1]. Hence the diversity of merit is all traced to the diversity of charity, and thus the charity of the way will distinguish the mansions by way of merit.
Reply to Objection 1: In this passage "virtue" denotes not the natural ability
alone, but the natural ability together with the endeavour to obtain
grace [*Cf. SS, Question , Article ]. Consequently virtue in this sense will be a
kind of material disposition to the measure of grace and glory that one
will receive. But charity is the formal complement of merit in relation
to glory, and therefore the distinction of degrees in glory depends on
the degrees of charity rather than on the degrees of the aforesaid virtue.
Reply to Objection 2: Works in themselves do not demand the payment of a reward,
except as informed by charity: and therefore the various degrees of glory
will be according to the various degrees of charity.
Reply to Objection 3: Although the habit of charity or of any virtue whatever is
not a merit to which a reward is due, it is none the less the principle
and reason of merit in the act: and consequently according to its
diversity is the diversity of rewards. This does not prevent our
observing a certain degree of merit in the act considered generically,
not indeed in relation to the essential reward which is joy in God, but
in relation to some accidental reward, which is joy in some created good.