St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province

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The privilege of the Virgin-Mother of God and the supreme prerogative of her Son may be seen from the following diagram:
THE LAW AND THE COURSE OF ORIGINAL SIN UNDER THE LAW... all descendants from Adam... spring from Adam materially and seminally... the body lies (not under the guilty, but) under the effects of original sin... the stricken body dispositively causes the soul to contract the guilt of original sin... all contract both debt and stain... all need a Redeemer to destroy the stain contracted PARTIALLY EXEMPT FROM THE LAW; PRIVILEGE OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION... the Blessed Virgin... springs from Adam materially and seminally... the body lies (not under the guilt, but) under the effects of original sin... the stricken body would have dispositively caused the soul to contract the guilt of original sin... the soul at the moment of union with the body was prevented by the infusion of grace from contracting sin... Mary contracted the debt, but not the stain... Mary needed a Redeemer to prevent her from contracting the stain WHOLLY EXEMPT FROM THE LAW; MIRACULOUS CONCEPTION... Our Blessed Lord... springs from Adam materially, not seminally (Q[31], A[1])... His body lay under neither guilt nor effects of original sin... the body being entirely free, could not transmit the stain to His soul... no preventive grace needed... Jesus Christ contracted neither debt nor stain... Jesus Christ is not redeemed, but the Redeemer

It will thus be seen how accurately St. Thomas speaks of the "flesh" or body of our Blessed Lady. For it should be remembered that, according to St. Thomas, the human body is animated in succession by (1) a vegetative, (2) a sensitive, and (3) a rational soul. Hence his assertion that "the flesh of the Blessed Virgin was conceived in original sin" (Question [14], Article [3], ad 1) means that the body of the Blessed Virgin, being descended from Adam both materially and seminally, contracted the bodily defects which are conveyed by seminal generation, and are the results of the privation of original justice (Question [69], Article [4], ad 3). Before animation, therefore the body of the Blessed Virgin would not be infected with the guilt of original sin, because privation of grace can only be in that which is the subject of grace, viz. the rational soul. Nevertheless, before animation the body of the Blessed Virgin, being seminally descended from Adam, was such that it would have been the means of transmitting the taint of original sin to the rational soul at the very first instant of animation, unless the grace of the Redeemer intervened and sanctified her soul "in that self-same instant," thus redeeming her and preventing her from contracting the guilt of original sin.
Why, then, does St. Thomas say that because the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before animation, therefore she could be sanctified only after animation?

Such a conclusion would hold if it were a question of the order of Nature: "a thing must be before it is such [prius est esse quam esse tale]"; and therefore the soul must be, before it is sanctified. But if St. Thomas held for a posteriority of time, no matter how short, we ask how it was that he did not perceive the fallacy of the argument, since it might be neither before nor after, but in the very instant of, animation.

The question is answered thus: St. Thomas as a Doctor of the Church and in matters which were not then "de fide," is a witness to the expression of the faith of his time. Hence his line of argument coincides with, because it follows, that of St. Bernard, Peter Lombard, Alexander of Hales, Albert the Great, St. Bonaventure. It was not likely that St. Thomas would differ from the great masters of his time, who failed to understand that the grace of redemption might at the same time be one of preservation and prevention. Nor is it likely that St. Thomas had any reliable information about the movement* in progress at that time towards a belief in the Immaculate Conception. [*Principally in England, where, owing to the influence of St. Anselm (1109), the doctrine was maintained by Eadmer (1137). Nicolas of St. Albans (1175), Osbert of Clare (1170), Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln (1253), William of Ware (1300), who was the master of Duns Scotus (1308)]. No doubt he knew something of it, but the names of its promoters would have weighed little with him as against those of Bernard, Albert, Peter, Alexander, and Bonaventure. And it must not be forgotten that among those who upheld the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, not a few ascribed the privilege as being absolute and not one of preservation and Redemption. Hence it is that St. Thomas insists on two things: (1) that the Mother of God was redeemed, and (2) that the grace of her sanctification was a grace of preservation. And, be it remarked in conclusion, these two points, so much insisted on by St. Thomas, are at the very basis of the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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Post praedicta, in quibus de unione Dei et hominis et de his quae unionem sequuntur, tractatum est, restat considerandum de his quae filius Dei incarnatus in natura humana sibi unita fecit vel passus est. Quae quidem consideratio quadripartita erit. Nam
  • primo, considerabimus de his quae pertinent ad ingressum eius in mundum;
  • secundo, de his quae pertinent ad processum vitae ipsius in hoc mundo;
  • tertio, de exitu ipsius ab hoc mundo;
  • quarto, de his quae pertinent ad exaltationem ipsius post hanc vitam.
After the foregoing treatise of the union of God and man and the consequences thereof, it remains for us to consider what things the Incarnate Son of God did or suffered in the human nature united to Him. This consideration will be fourfold. For we shall consider:
  • (1) Those things that relate to His coming into the world;
  • (2) Those things that relate to the course of His life in this world;
  • (3) His departure from this world;
  • (4) Those things that concern His exaltation after this life.
Circa primum quatuor consideranda occurrunt,
  • primo quidem, de conceptione Christi;
  • secundo, de eius nativitate;
  • tertio, de eius circumcisione;
  • quarto, de eius Baptismo.
The first of these offers four points of consideration:
  • (1) The Conception of Christ;
  • (2) His Birth;
  • (3) His Circumcision;
  • (4) His Baptism.
Circa conceptionem autem eius, oportet aliqua considerare
  • primo, quantum ad matrem concipientem;
  • secundo, quantum ad modum conceptionis;
  • tertio, quantum ad perfectionem prolis conceptae.
Concerning His Conception there are some points to be considered:
  • (1) As to the Mother who conceived Him;
  • (2) as to the mode of His Conception;
  • (3) as to the perfection of the offspring conceived.
Ex parte autem matris occurrunt quatuor consideranda,
  • primo quidem, de sanctificatione eius;
  • secundo, de virginitate eius;
  • tertio, de desponsatione eius;
  • quarto, de Annuntiatione ipsius, vel de praeparatione ipsius ad concipiendum.
On the part of the Mother four points offer themselves to our consideration:
  • (1) Her sanctification.
  • (2) her virginity;
  • (3) her espousals;
  • (4) her annunciation, or preparation for conception.
Circa primum quaeruntur sex. Concerning the first there are six points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum beata virgo mater Dei fuerit sanctificata ante nativitatem ex utero. (1) Whether the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, was sanctified before her birth from the womb?
Secundo, utrum fuerit sanctificata ante animationem. (2) Whether she was sanctified before animation?
Tertio, utrum per huiusmodi sanctificationem fuerit sibi totaliter sublatus fomes peccati. (3) Whether in virtue of this sanctification the fomes of sin was entirely taken away from her?
Quarto, utrum per huiusmodi sanctificationem fuerit consecuta ut nunquam peccaret. (4) Whether the result of this sanctification was that she never sinned?
Quinto, utrum per huiusmodi sanctificationem adepta fuerit plenitudinem gratiarum. (5) Whether in virtue of this sanctification she received the fulness of grace?
Sexto, utrum sic fuisse sanctificata fuerit proprium sibi. (6) Whether it was proper to her to be thus sanctified?

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Whether the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before her birth from the womb?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod beata virgo non fuerit sanctificata ante nativitatem ex utero. Dicit enim apostolus, I Cor. XV, non prius quod spirituale est, sed quod animale, deinde quod est spirituale. Sed per gratiam sanctificantem nascitur homo spiritualiter in filium Dei, secundum illud Ioan. I, ex Deo nati sunt. Nativitas autem ex utero est nativitas animalis. Non ergo beata virgo fuit prius sanctificata quam ex utero nasceretur. Objection 1: It would seem that the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before her birth from the womb. For the Apostle says (1 Cor. 15:46): "That was not first which is spiritual but that which is natural; afterwards that which is spiritual." But by sanctifying grace man is born spiritually into a son of God according to Jn. 1:13: "(who) are born of God." But birth from the womb is a natural birth. Therefore the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before her birth from the womb.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in epistola ad Dardanum, sanctificatio, qua efficimur templum Dei, non nisi renatorum est. Nemo autem renascitur nisi prius nascatur. Ergo beata virgo non fuit prius sanctificata quam ex utero nasceretur. Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (Ep. ad Dardan.): "The sanctification, by which we become temples of God, is only of those who are born again." But no one is born again, who was not born previously. Therefore the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before her birth from the womb.
Praeterea, quicumque est sanctificatus per gratiam, est mundatus a peccato originali et actuali. Si ergo beata virgo fuit sanctificata ante nativitatem ex utero, consequens est quod fuerit tunc emundata ab originali peccato. Sed solum originale peccatum poterat eam impedire ab introitu regni caelestis. Si ergo tunc mortua fuisset, videtur quod ianuam regni caelestis introisset. Quod tamen fieri non potuit ante passionem Christi, iuxta illud apostoli, habemus enim fiduciam in introitum sanctorum per sanguinem eius, ut dicitur Heb. X. Videtur ergo quod beata virgo non fuerit sanctificata antequam ex utero nasceretur. Objection 3: Further, whoever is sanctified by grace is cleansed from sin, both original and actual. If, therefore, the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before her birth from the womb, it follows that she was then cleansed from original sin. Now nothing but original sin could hinder her from entering the heavenly kingdom. If therefore she had died then, it seems that she would have entered the gates of heaven. But this was not possible before the Passion of Christ, according to the Apostle (Heb. 10:19): "We have [Vulg.: 'having'] therefore a confidence in the entering into the Holies by His blood." It seems therefore that the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before her birth from the womb.
Praeterea, peccatum originale ex origine contrahitur, sicut peccatum actuale ex actu. Sed quandiu aliquis est in actu peccandi, non potest a peccato actuali mundari. Ergo etiam nec beata virgo a peccato originali mundari potuit dum esset adhuc in ipso actu originis, in materno utero existens. Objection 4: Further, original sin is contracted through the origin, just as actual sin is contracted through an act. But as long as one is in the act of sinning, one cannot be cleansed from actual sin. Therefore neither could the Blessed Virgin be cleansed from original sin as long as she was in the act of origin, by existence in her mother's womb.
Sed contra est quod Ecclesia celebrat nativitatem beatae virginis. Non autem celebratur festum in Ecclesia nisi pro aliquo sancto. Ergo beata virgo in ipsa sui nativitate fuit sancta. Fuit ergo in utero sanctificata. On the contrary, The Church celebrates the feast of our Lady's Nativity. Now the Church does not celebrate feasts except of those who are holy. Therefore even in her birth the Blessed Virgin was holy. Therefore she was sanctified in the womb.
Respondeo dicendum quod de sanctificatione beatae Mariae, quod scilicet fuerit sanctificata in utero, nihil in Scriptura canonica traditur, quae etiam nec de eius nativitate mentionem facit. Sed sicut Augustinus, de assumptione ipsius virginis, rationabiliter argumentatur quod cum corpore sit assumpta in caelum, quod tamen Scriptura non tradit; ita etiam rationabiliter argumentari possumus quod fuerit sanctificata in utero. Rationabiliter enim creditur quod illa quae genuit unigenitum a patre, plenum gratiae et veritatis, prae omnibus aliis maiora gratiae privilegia accepit, unde legitur, Luc. I, quod Angelus ei dixit, ave, gratia plena. I answer that, Nothing is handed down in the canonical Scriptures concerning the sanctification of the Blessed Mary as to her being sanctified in the womb; indeed, they do not even mention her birth. But as Augustine, in his tractate on the Assumption of the Virgin, argues with reason, since her body was assumed into heaven, and yet Scripture does not relate this; so it may be reasonably argued that she was sanctified in the womb. For it is reasonable to believe that she, who brought forth "the Only-Begotten of the Father full of grace and truth," received greater privileges of grace than all others: hence we read (Lk. 1:28) that the angel addressed her in the words: "Hail full of grace!"
Invenimus autem quibusdam aliis hoc privilegialiter esse concessum ut in utero sanctificarentur, sicut Ieremias, cui dictum est, Ierem. I, antequam exires de vulva, sanctificavi te; et sicut Ioannes Baptista, de quo dictum est, Luc. I, spiritu sancto replebitur adhuc ex utero matris suae. Unde rationabiliter creditur quod beata virgo sanctificata fuerit antequam ex utero nasceretur. Moreover, it is to be observed that it was granted, by way of privilege, to others, to be sanctified in the womb; for instance, to Jeremias, to whom it was said (Jer. 1:5): "Before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee"; and again, to John the Baptist, of whom it is written (Lk. 1:15): "He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb." It is therefore with reason that we believe the Blessed Virgin to have been sanctified before her birth from the womb.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod etiam in beata virgine prius fuit animale, et post id quod est spirituale, quia prius fuit secundum carnem concepta, et postea secundum spiritum sanctificata. Reply to Objection 1: Even in the Blessed Virgin, first was that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual: for she was first conceived in the flesh, and afterwards sanctified in the spirit.
Ad secundum dicendum quod Augustinus loquitur secundum legem communem, secundum quam per sacramenta non regenerantur aliqui nisi prius nati. Sed Deus huic legi sacramentorum potentiam suam non alligavit, quin aliquibus ex speciali privilegio gratiam suam conferre possit antequam nascantur ex utero. Reply to Objection 2: Augustine speaks according to the common law, by reason of which no one is regenerated by the sacraments, save those who are previously born. But God did not so limit His power to the law of the sacraments, but that He can bestow His grace, by special privilege, on some before they are born from the womb.
Ad tertium dicendum quod beata virgo sanctificata fuit in utero a peccato originali quantum ad maculam personalem, non tamen fuit liberata a reatu quo tota natura tenebatur obnoxia, ut scilicet non intraret in Paradisum nisi per Christi hostiam; sicut etiam de sanctis patribus dicitur qui fuerunt ante Christum. Reply to Objection 3: The Blessed Virgin was sanctified in the womb from original sin, as to the personal stain; but she was not freed from the guilt to which the whole nature is subject, so as to enter into Paradise otherwise than through the Sacrifice of Christ; the same also is to be said of the Holy Fathers who lived before Christ.
Ad quartum dicendum quod peccatum originale trahitur ex origine inquantum per eam communicatur humana natura, quam respicit proprie peccatum originale. Quod quidem fit quando proles concepta animatur. Unde post animationem nihil prohibet prolem conceptam sanctificari, postea enim non manet in materno utero ad accipiendam humanam naturam, sed ad aliqualem perfectionem eius quod iam accepit. Reply to Objection 4: Original sin is transmitted through the origin, inasmuch as through the origin the human nature is transmitted, and original sin, properly speaking, affects the nature. And this takes place when the off-spring conceived is animated. Wherefore nothing hinders the offspring conceived from being sanctified after animation: for after this it remains in the mother's womb not for the purpose of receiving human nature, but for a certain perfecting of that which it has already received.

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Whether the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before animation?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod beata virgo sanctificata fuit ante animationem. Quia, ut dictum est, plus gratiae est collatum virgini matri Dei quam alicui sanctorum. Sed quibusdam videtur esse concessum quod sanctificarentur ante animationem. Quia dicitur Ierem. I, priusquam te formarem in utero, novi te, non autem infunditur anima ante corporis formationem. Similiter etiam de Ioanne Baptista dicit Ambrosius, super Luc., quod nondum inerat ei spiritus vitae, et iam inerat ei spiritus gratiae. Ergo multo magis beata virgo ante animationem sanctificari potuit. Objection 1: It would seem that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before animation. Because, as we have stated (Article [1]), more grace was bestowed on the Virgin Mother of God than on any saint. Now it seems to have been granted to some, to be sanctified before animation. For it is written (Jer. 1:5): "Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee": and the soul is not infused before the formation of the body. Likewise Ambrose says of John the Baptist (Comment. in Luc. i, 15): "As yet the spirit of life was not in him and already he possessed the Spirit of grace." Much more therefore could the Blessed Virgin be sanctified before animation.
Praeterea, conveniens fuit, sicut Anselmus dicit, in libro de conceptu virginali, ut illa virgo ea puritate niteret qua maior sub Deo nequit intelligi, unde et in Cant. IV dicitur, tota pulchra es, amica mea, et macula non est in te. Sed maior puritas fuisset beatae virginis si nunquam fuisset inquinata contagio originalis peccati. Ergo hoc ei praestitum fuit quod, antequam animaretur caro eius, sanctificaretur. Objection 2: Further, as Anselm says (De Concep. Virg. xviii), "it was fitting that this Virgin should shine with such a purity that under God none greater can be imagined": wherefore it is written (Canticles 4:7): "Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee." But the purity of the Blessed Virgin would have been greater, if she had never been stained by the contagion of original sin. Therefore it was granted to her to be sanctified before her flesh was animated.
Praeterea, sicut dictum est, non celebratur festum nisi de aliquo sancto. Sed quidam celebrant festum conceptionis beatae virginis. Ergo videtur quod in ipsa sua conceptione fuerit sancta. Et ita videtur quod ante animationem fuerit sanctificata. Objection 3: Further, as it has been stated above, no feast is celebrated except of some saint. But some keep the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Therefore it seems that in her very Conception she was holy; and hence that she was sanctified before animation.
Praeterea, apostolus dicit, Rom. XI, si radix sancta, et rami. Radix autem filiorum sunt parentes eorum. Potuit ergo beata virgo sanctificari etiam in suis parentibus, ante animationem. Objection 4: Further, the Apostle says (Rm. 11:16): "If the root be holy, so are the branches." Now the root of the children is their parents. Therefore the Blessed Virgin could be sanctified even in her parents, before animation.
Sed contra est quod ea quae fuerunt in veteri testamento, sunt figura novi, secundum illud I Cor. X, omnia in figura contingebant illis. Per sanctificationem autem tabernaculi, de qua dicitur in Psalmo, sanctificavit tabernaculum suum altissimus, videtur significari sanctificatio matris Dei, quae tabernaculum Dei dicitur, secundum illud Psalmi, in sole posuit tabernaculum suum. De tabernaculo autem dicitur, Exod. ult., postquam cuncta perfecta sunt, operuit nubes tabernaculum testimonii, et gloria domini implevit illud. Ergo et beata virgo non fuit sanctificata nisi postquam cuncta eius perfecta sunt, scilicet corpus et anima. On the contrary, The things of the Old Testament were figures of the New, according to 1 Cor. 10:11: "All things happened to them in figure." Now the sanctification of the tabernacle, of which it is written (Ps. 45:5): "The most High hath sanctified His own tabernacle," seems to signify the sanctification of the Mother of God, who is called "God's Tabernacle," according to Ps. 18:6: "He hath set His tabernacle in the sun." But of the tabernacle it is written (Ex. 40:31,32): "After all things were perfected, the cloud covered the tabernacle of the testimony, and the glory of the Lord filled it." Therefore also the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified until after all in her was perfected, viz. her body and soul.
Respondeo dicendum quod sanctificatio beatae virginis non potest intelligi ante eius animationem, duplici ratione. Primo quidem, quia sanctificatio de qua loquimur, non est nisi emundatio a peccato originali, sanctitas enim est perfecta munditia, ut Dionysius dicit, XII cap. de Div. Nom. Culpa autem non potest emundari nisi per gratiam, cuius subiectum est sola creatura rationalis. Et ideo ante infusionem animae rationalis beata virgo sanctificata non fuit. I answer that, The sanctification of the Blessed Virgin cannot be understood as having taken place before animation, for two reasons. First, because the sanctification of which we are speaking, is nothing but the cleansing from original sin: for sanctification is a "perfect cleansing," as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xii). Now sin cannot be taken away except by grace, the subject of which is the rational creature alone. Therefore before the infusion of the rational soul, the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified.
Secundo quia, cum sola creatura rationalis sit susceptiva culpae, ante infusionem animae rationalis proles concepta non est culpae obnoxia. Et sic, quocumque modo ante animationem beata virgo sanctificata fuisset, nunquam incurrisset maculam originalis culpae, et ita non indiguisset redemptione et salute quae est per Christum, de quo dicitur Matth. I, ipse salvum faciet populum suum a peccatis eorum. Hoc autem est inconveniens, quod Christus non sit salvator omnium hominum, ut dicitur I Tim. IV. Unde relinquitur quod sanctificatio beatae virginis fuerit post eius animationem. Secondly, because, since the rational creature alone can be the subject of sin; before the infusion of the rational soul, the offspring conceived is not liable to sin. And thus, in whatever manner the Blessed Virgin would have been sanctified before animation, she could never have incurred the stain of original sin: and thus she would not have needed redemption and salvation which is by Christ, of whom it is written (Mt. 1:21): "He shall save His people from their sins." But this is unfitting, through implying that Christ is not the "Saviour of all men," as He is called (1 Tim. 4:10). It remains, therefore, that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified after animation.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod dominus dicit ante formationem in utero Ieremiam novisse, notitia scilicet praedestinationis, sed sanctificasse se dicit eum, non ante formationem, sed antequam exiret de ventre, et cetera. Reply to Objection 1: The Lord says that He "knew" Jeremias before he was formed in the womb, by knowledge, that is to say, of predestination: but He says that He "sanctified" him, not before formation, but before he "came forth out of the womb," etc.
Quod autem dicit Ambrosius, quod Ioanni Baptistae nondum inerat spiritus vitae cum iam haberet spiritum gratiae, non est intelligendum secundum quod spiritus vitae dicitur anima vivificans, sed secundum quod spiritus dicitur aer exterius respiratus. Vel potest dici quod nondum inerat ei spiritus vitae, idest anima, quantum ad manifestas et completas operationes ipsius. As to what Ambrose says, viz. that in John the Baptist there was not the spirit of life when there was already the Spirit of grace, by spirit of life we are not to understand the life-giving soul, but the air which we breathe out [respiratus]. Or it may be said that in him as yet there was not the spirit of life, that is the soul, as to its manifest and complete operations.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, si nunquam anima beatae virginis fuisset contagio originalis peccati inquinata, hoc derogaret dignitati Christi, secundum quam est universalis omnium salvator. Et ideo sub Christo, qui salvari non indiguit, tanquam universalis salvator, maxima fuit beatae virginis puritas. Nam Christus nullo modo contraxit originale peccatum, sed in ipsa sui conceptione fuit sanctus, secundum illud Luc. I, quod ex te nascetur sanctum vocabitur filius Dei. Sed beata virgo contraxit quidem originale peccatum, sed ab eo fuit mundata antequam ex utero nasceretur. Et hoc significatur Iob III, ubi de nocte originalis peccati dicitur, exspectet lucem, idest Christum, et non videat (quia nihil inquinatum intravit in illam, ut dicitur Sap. VII), nec ortum surgentis aurorae, idest beatae virginis, quae in suo ortu a peccato originali fuit immunis. Reply to Objection 2: If the soul of the Blessed Virgin had never incurred the stain of original sin, this would be derogatory to the dignity of Christ, by reason of His being the universal Saviour of all. Consequently after Christ, who, as the universal Saviour of all, needed not to be saved, the purity of the Blessed Virgin holds the highest place. For Christ did not contract original sin in any way whatever, but was holy in His very Conception, according to Lk. 1:35: "The Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." But the Blessed Virgin did indeed contract original sin, but was cleansed therefrom before her birth from the womb. This is what is signified (Job 3:9) where it is written of the night of original sin: "Let it expect light," i.e. Christ, "and not see it"---(because "no defiled thing cometh into her," as is written Wis. 7:25), "nor the rising of the dawning of the day," that is of the Blessed Virgin, who in her birth was immune from original sin.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, licet Romana Ecclesia conceptionem beatae virginis non celebret, tolerat tamen consuetudinem aliquarum Ecclesiarum illud festum celebrantium. Unde talis celebritas non est totaliter reprobanda. Nec tamen per hoc festum conceptionis celebratum datur intelligi quod in sua conceptione fuerit sancta. Sed, quia quo tempore sanctificata fuerit ignoratur, celebratur festum sanctificationis eius, potius quam conceptionis, in die conceptionis ipsius. Reply to Objection 3: Although the Church of Rome does not celebrate the Conception of the Blessed Virgin, yet it tolerates the custom of certain churches that do keep that feast, wherefore this is not to be entirely reprobated. Nevertheless the celebration of this feast does not give us to understand that she was holy in her conception. But since it is not known when she was sanctified, the feast of her Sanctification, rather than the feast of her Conception, is kept on the day of her conception.
Ad quartum dicendum quod duplex est sanctificatio. Una quidem totius naturae, inquantum scilicet tota natura humana ab omni corruptione culpae et poenae liberatur. Et haec erit in resurrectione. Alia vero est sanctificatio personalis. Quae non transit in prolem carnaliter genitam, quia talis sanctificatio non respicit carnem, sed mentem. Et ideo, etsi parentes beatae virginis fuerunt mundati a peccato originali, nihilominus beata virgo contraxit peccatum originale, cum fuerit concepta secundum carnis concupiscentiam et ex commixtione maris et feminae, dicit enim Augustinus, in libro de nuptiis et concupiscentia, omnem quae de concubitu nascitur, carnem esse peccati. Reply to Objection 4: Sanctification is twofold. one is that of the whole nature: inasmuch as the whole human nature is freed from all corruption of sin and punishment. This will take place at the resurrection. The other is personal sanctification. This is not transmitted to the children begotten of the flesh: because it does not regard the flesh but the mind. Consequently, though the parents of the Blessed Virgin were cleansed from original sin, nevertheless she contracted original sin, since she was conceived by way of fleshly concupiscence and the intercourse of man and woman: for Augustine says (De Nup. et Concup. i): "All flesh born of carnal intercourse is sinful."

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Article: 3  [ << | >> ]

Whether the Blessed Virgin was cleansed from the infection of the fomes?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod beata virgo non fuerit emundata ab infectione fomitis. Sicut enim poena originalis peccati est fomes, qui consistit in inferiorum virium rebellione ad rationem, ita etiam poena originalis peccati est mors, et ceterae poenalitates corporales. Sed beata virgo fuit subiecta huiusmodi poenalitatibus. Ergo etiam fomes ab ea totaliter remotus non fuit. Objection 1: It would seem that the Blessed Virgin was not cleansed from the infection of the fomes. For just as the fomes, consisting in the rebellion of the lower powers against the reason, is a punishment of original sin; so also are death and other corporeal penalties. Therefore the fomes was not entirely removed from her.
Praeterea, II Cor. XII dicitur, virtus in infirmitate perficitur, et loquitur de infirmitate fomitis, secundum quam patiebatur stimulum carnis. Sed nihil quod pertinet ad perfectionem virtutis, fuit beatae virgini subtrahendum. Ergo non fuit beatae virgini totaliter subtrahendus fomes. Objection 2: Further, it is written (2 Cor. 12:9): "Power is made perfect in infirmity," which refers to the weakness of the fomes, by reason of which he (the Apostle) felt the "sting of the flesh." But it was not fitting that anything should be taken away from the Blessed Virgin, pertaining to the perfection of virtue. Therefore it was unfitting that the fomes should be entirely taken away from her.
Praeterea, Damascenus dicit quod in beata virgine supervenit spiritus sanctus purgans eam, ante conceptionem filii Dei. Quod non potest intelligi nisi de purgatione a fomite, nam peccatum non fecit, ut Augustinus dicit, in libro de natura et gratia. Ergo per sanctificationem in utero non fuit libere mundata a fomite. Objection 3: Further, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii) that "the Holy Ghost came upon" the Blessed Virgin, "purifying her," before she conceived the Son of God. But this can only be understood of purification from the fomes: for she committed no sin, as Augustine says (De Nat. et Grat. xxvi). Therefore by the sanctification in the womb she was not absolutely cleansed from the fomes.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Cant. IV, tota pulchra es, amica mea, et macula non est in te. Fomes autem ad maculam pertinet, saltem carnis. Ergo in beata virgine fomes non fuit. On the contrary, It is written (Canticles 4:7): "Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee!" But the fomes implies a blemish, at any rate in the flesh. Therefore the fomes was not in the Blessed Virgin.
Respondeo dicendum quod circa hoc sunt diversae opiniones. Quidam enim dixerunt quod in ipsa sanctificatione beatae virginis, qua fuit sanctificata in utero, totaliter fuit ei fomes subtractus. Quidam vero dicunt quod remansit fomes quantum ad hoc quod facit difficultatem ad bonum, sublatus tamen fuit quantum ad hoc quod facit pronitatem ad malum. Alii vero dicunt quod sublatus fuit fomes inquantum pertinet ad corruptionem personae, prout impellit ad malum et difficultatem facit ad bonum, remansit tamen inquantum pertinet ad corruptionem naturae, prout scilicet est causa traducendi originale peccatum in prolem. Alii vero dicunt quod in prima sanctificatione remansit fomes secundum essentiam, sed ligatus fuit, in ipsa autem conceptione filii Dei fuit totaliter sublatus. Ad horum autem intellectum, oportet considerare quod fomes nihil aliud est quam inordinata concupiscentia sensibilis appetitus, habitualis tamen, quia actualis concupiscentia est motus peccati. Dicitur autem concupiscentia sensualitatis esse inordinata, inquantum repugnat rationi, quod quidem fit inquantum inclinat ad malum, vel difficultatem facit ad bonum. Et ideo ad ipsam rationem fomitis pertinet quod inclinet ad malum, vel difficultatem facit in bono. Unde ponere quod remanserit fomes in beata virgine non inclinans ad malum, est ponere duo opposita. I answer that, on this point there are various opinions. For some have held that the fomes was entirely taken away in that sanctification whereby the Blessed Virgin was sanctified in the womb. Others say that it remained as far as it causes a difficulty in doing good, but was taken away as far as it causes a proneness to evil. Others again, that it was taken away as to the personal corruption, by which it makes us quick to do evil and slow to do good: but that it remained as to the corruption of nature, inasmuch as it is the cause of transmitting original sin to the offspring. Lastly, others say that, in her first sanctification, the fomes remained essentially, but was fettered; and that, when she conceived the Son of God, it was entirely taken away. In order to understand the question at issue, it must be observed that the fomes is nothing but a certain inordinate, but habitual, concupiscence of the sensitive appetite. for actual concupiscence is a sinful motion. Now sensual concupiscence is said to be inordinate, in so far as it rebels against reason; and this it does by inclining to evil, or hindering from good. Consequently it is essential to the fomes to incline to evil, or hinder from good. Wherefore to say that the fomes was in the Blessed Virgin without an inclination to evil, is to combine two contradictory statements.
Similiter etiam videtur oppositionem implicare quod remanserit fomes inquantum pertinet ad corruptionem naturae, non autem inquantum pertinet ad corruptionem personae. Nam secundum Augustinum, in libro de nuptiis et concupiscentia, libido est quae peccatum originale transmittit in prolem. Libido autem importat inordinatam concupiscentiam, quae non totaliter subditur rationi. Et ideo, si totaliter fomes subtraheretur inquantum pertinet ad corruptionem personae, non posset remanere inquantum pertinet ad corruptionem naturae. In like manner it seems to imply a contradiction to say that the fomes remained as to the corruption of nature, but not as to the personal corruption. For, according to Augustine (De Nup. et Concup. i.), it is lust that transmits original sin to the offspring. Now lust implies inordinate concupiscence, not entirely subject to reason: and therefore, if the fomes were entirely taken away as to personal corruption, it could not remain as to the corruption of nature.
Restat igitur ut dicamus quod vel totaliter fomes fuerit ab ea sublatus per primam sanctificationem, vel quod fuerit ligatus. Posset tamen intelligi quod totaliter fuit sublatus fomes hoc modo, quod praestitum fuerit beatae virgini, ex abundantia gratiae descendentis in ipsam, ut talis esset dispositio virium animae in ipsa quod inferiores vires nunquam moverentur sine arbitrio rationis, sicut dictum est, fuisse in Christo, quem constat peccati fomitem non habuisse; et sicut fuit in Adam ante peccatum per originalem iustitiam; ita quod, quantum ad hoc, gratia sanctificationis in virgine habuit vim originalis iustitiae. Et quamvis haec positio ad dignitatem virginis matris pertinere videatur, derogat tamen in aliquo dignitati Christi, absque cuius virtute nullus a prima damnatione liberatus est. Et quamvis per fidem Christi aliqui ante Christi incarnationem sint secundum spiritum ab illa damnatione liberati, tamen quod secundum carnem aliquis ab illa damnatione liberetur, non videtur fieri debuisse nisi post incarnationem eius in qua primo debuit immunitas damnationis apparere. Et ideo, sicut ante immortalitatem carnis Christi resurgentis nullus adeptus fuit carnis immortalitatem, ita inconveniens etiam videtur dicere quod ante carnem Christi, in qua nullum fuit peccatum, caro virginis matris eius, vel cuiuscumque alterius, fuerit absque fomite, qui dicitur lex carnis, sive membrorum. It remains, therefore, for us to say, either that the fomes was entirely taken away from her by her first sanctification or that it was fettered. Now that the fomes was entirely taken away, might be understood in this way, that, by the abundance of grace bestowed on the Blessed Virgin, such a disposition of the soul's powers was granted to her, that the lower powers were never moved without the command of her reason: just as we have stated to have been the case with Christ (Question [15], Article [2]), who certainly did not have the fomes of sin; as also was the case with Adam, before he sinned, by reason of original justice: so that, in this respect, the grace of sanctification in the Virgin had the force of original justice. And although this appears to be part of the dignity of the Virgin Mother, yet it is somewhat derogatory to the dignity of Christ, without whose power no one had been freed from the first sentence of condemnation. And though, through faith in Christ, some were freed from that condemnation, according to the spirit, before Christ's Incarnation, yet it does not seem fitting that any one should be freed from that condemnation, according to the flesh, except after His Incarnation, for it was then that immunity from condemnation was first to appear. Consequently, just as before the immortality of the flesh of Christ rising again, none obtained immortality of the flesh, so it seems unfitting to say that before Christ appeared in sinless flesh, His Virgin Mother's or anyone else's flesh should be without the fomes, which is called "the law of the flesh" or "of the members" (Rm. 7:23,25).
Et ideo melius videtur dicendum quod per sanctificationem in utero non fuit sublatus virgini fomes secundum essentiam, sed remansit ligatus, non quidem per actum rationis suae, sicut in viris sanctis, quia non statim habuit usum liberi arbitrii adhuc in ventre matris existens, hoc enim speciale privilegium Christi fuit; sed per gratiam abundantem quam in sanctificatione recepit, et etiam perfectius per divinam providentiam sensualitatem eius ab omni inordinato motu prohibentem. Postmodum vero, in ipsa conceptione carnis Christi, in qua primo debuit refulgere peccati immunitas, credendum est quod ex prole redundaverit in matrem totaliter a fomite subtractio. Et hoc significatur Ezech. XLIII, ubi dicitur, ecce, gloria Dei Israel ingrediebatur per viam Orientalem, idest per beatam virginem, et terra, idest caro ipsius, splendebat a maiestate eius, scilicet Christi. Therefore it seems better to say that by the sanctification in the womb, the Virgin was not freed from the fomes in its essence, but that it remained fettered: not indeed by an act of her reason, as in holy men, since she had not the use of reason from the very first moment of her existence in her mother's womb, for this was the singular privilege of Christ: but by reason of the abundant grace bestowed on her in her sanctification, and still more perfectly by Divine Providence preserving her sensitive soul, in a singular manner, from any inordinate movement. Afterwards, however, at the conception of Christ's flesh, in which for the first time immunity from sin was to be conspicuous, it is to be believed that entire freedom from the fomes redounded from the Child to the Mother. This indeed is signified (Ezech. 43:2): "Behold the glory of the God of Israel came in by the way of the east," i.e. by the Blessed Virgin, "and the earth," i.e. her flesh, "shone with His," i.e. Christ's, "majesty."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod mors et huiusmodi poenalitates de se non inclinant ad peccatum. Unde etiam Christus, licet assumpserit huiusmodi poenalitates, fomitem tamen non assumpsit. Unde etiam in beata virgine, ut filio conformaretur, de cuius plenitudine gratiam accipiebat, primo quidem fuit ligatus fomes, et postea sublatus, non autem fuit liberata a morte et aliis huiusmodi poenalitatibus. Reply to Objection 1: Death and such like penalties do not of themselves incline us to sin. Wherefore though Christ assumed them, He did not assume the fomes. Consequently in order that the Blessed Virgin might be conformed to her Son, from "whose fulness" her grace was derived, the fomes was at first fettered and afterwards taken away: while she was not freed from death and other such penalties.
Ad secundum dicendum quod infirmitas carnis ad fomitem pertinens est quidem in sanctis viris perfectae virtutis occasio, non tamen causa sine qua perfectio haberi non possit. Sufficit autem in beata virgine ponere perfectam virtutem et abundantiam gratiae, nec in ea oportet ponere omnem occasionem perfectionis. Reply to Objection 2: The "infirmity" of the flesh, that pertains to the fomes, is indeed to holy men an occasional cause of perfect virtue: but not the "sine qua non" of perfection: and it is quite enough to ascribe to the Blessed Virgin perfect virtue and abundant grace: nor is there any need to attribute to her every occasional cause of perfection.
Ad tertium dicendum quod spiritus sanctus in beata virgine duplicem purgationem fecit. Unam quidem quasi praeparatoriam ad Christi conceptionem, quae non fuit ab aliqua impuritate culpae vel fomitis, sed mentem eius magis in unum colligens et a multitudine sustollens. Nam et Angeli purgari dicuntur, in quibus nulla impuritas invenitur, ut Dionysius dicit, VI cap. Eccles. Hier. Aliam vero purgationem operatus est in ea spiritus sanctus mediante conceptione Christi, quae fuit opus spiritus sancti. Et secundum hoc potest dici quod purgavit eam totaliter a fomite. Reply to Objection 3: The Holy Ghost effected a twofold purification in the Blessed Virgin. The first was, as it were, preparatory to Christ's conception: which did not cleanse her from the stain of sin or fomes, but rather gave her mind a unity of purpose and disengaged it from a multiplicity of things (Cf. Dionysius, Div. Nom. iv), since even the angels are said to be purified, in whom there is no stain, as Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. vi). The second purification effected in her by the Holy Ghost was by means of the conception of Christ which was the operation of the Holy Ghost. And in respect of this, it may be said that He purified her entirely from the fomes.

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Article: 4  [ << | >> ]

Whether by being sanctified in the womb the Blessed Virgin was preserved from all actual sin?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod per sanctificationem in utero non fuerit beata virgo praeservata ab omni peccato actuali. Quia, ut dictum est, post primam sanctificationem fomes peccati remansit in virgine. Motus autem fomitis, etiam si rationem praeveniat, est peccatum veniale, licet levissimum, ut Augustinus dicit, in libro de Trin. Ergo in beata virgine fuit aliquod peccatum veniale. Objection 1: It would seem that by being sanctified in the womb the Blessed Virgin was not preserved from all actual sin. For, as we have already stated (Article [3]), after her first sanctification the fomes remained in the Virgin. Now the motion of the fomes, even if it precede the act of the reason, is a venial sin, albeit extremely slight, as Augustine says in his work De Trinitate [*Cf. Sent. ii, D, 24]. Therefore there was some venial sin in the Blessed Virgin.
Praeterea, super illud Luc. II, tuam ipsius animam pertransibit gladius, dicit Augustinus, in libro de quaest. novi et veteris Test., quod beata virgo in morte domini stupore quodam dubitavit. Sed dubitare de fide est peccatum. Ergo beata virgo non fuit praeservata immunis ab omni peccato. Objection 2: Further, Augustine (Qq. Nov. et Vet. Test. lxxiii on Lk. 2:35: "Thy own soul a sword shall pierce") says that the Blessed Virgin "was troubled with wondering doubt at the death of our Lord." But doubt in matters of faith is a sin. Therefore the Blessed Virgin was not preserved from all actual sin.
Praeterea, Chrysostomus, super Matth., exponens illud, ecce mater tua et fratres tui foris stant quaerentes te, dicit, manifestum est quoniam solum ex vana gloria hoc faciebant. Et Ioan. II, super illud, vinum non habent, dicit idem Chrysostomus quod volebat illis ponere gratiam, et seipsam clariorem facere per filium; et fortassis quid humanum patiebatur, quemadmodum et fratres eius dicentes. Manifesta teipsum mundo. Et post pauca subdit, nondum enim quam oportebat de eo opinionem habebat. Quod totum constat esse peccatum. Ergo beata virgo non fuit praeservata immunis ab omni peccato. Objection 3: Further, Chrysostom (Hom. xlv in Matth.) expounding the text: "Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee," says: "It is clear that they did this from mere vain glory." Again, on Jn. 2:3: "They have no wine," the same Chrysostom says that "she wished to do them a favor, and raise herself in their esteem, by means of her Son: and perchance she succumbed to human frailty, just as did His brethren when they said: 'Manifest Thyself to the world.'" And a little further on he says: "For as yet she did not believe in Him as she ought." Now it is quite clear that all this was sinful. Therefore the Blessed Virgin was not preserved from all sin.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in libro de natura et gratia, de sancta virgine Maria, propter honorem Christi, nullam prorsus, cum de peccatis agitur, habere volo quaestionem. Inde enim scimus quod ei plus gratiae collatum fuerit ad vincendum ex omni parte peccatum, quod concipere et parere meruit eum quem constat nullum habuisse peccatum. On the contrary, Augustine says (De Nat. et Grat. xxxvi): "In the matter of sin, it is my wish to exclude absolutely all questions concerning the holy Virgin Mary, on account of the honor due to Christ. For since she conceived and brought forth Him who most certainly was guilty of no sin, we know that an abundance of grace was given her that she might be in every way the conqueror of sin."
Respondeo dicendum quod illos quos Deus ad aliquid eligit, ita praeparat et disponit ut ad id ad quod eliguntur inveniantur idonei, secundum illud II Cor. III, idoneos nos fecit ministros novi testamenti. Beata autem virgo fuit electa divinitus ut esset mater Dei. Et ideo non est dubitandum quod Deus per suam gratiam eam ad hoc idoneam reddidit, secundum quod Angelus ad eam dicit, invenisti gratiam apud Deum, ecce, concipies, et cetera. Non autem fuisset idonea mater Dei, si peccasset aliquando. Tum quia honor parentum redundat in prolem, secundum illud Prov. XVII, gloria filiorum patres eorum. Unde et, per oppositum, ignominia matris ad filium redundasset. Tum etiam quia singularem affinitatem habuit ad Christum, qui ab ea carnem accepit. Dicitur autem II Cor. VI, quae conventio Christi ad Belial? Tum etiam quia singulari modo Dei filius, qui est Dei sapientia, in ipsa habitavit, non solum in anima, sed in utero. Dicitur autem Sap. I, in malevolam animam non intrabit sapientia, nec habitabit in corpore subdito peccatis. I answer that, God so prepares and endows those, whom He chooses for some particular office, that they are rendered capable of fulfilling it, according to 2 Cor. 3:6: "(Who) hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament." Now the Blessed Virgin was chosen by God to be His Mother. Therefore there can be no doubt that God, by His grace, made her worthy of that office, according to the words spoken to her by the angel (Lk. 1:30,31): "Thou hast found grace with God: behold thou shalt conceive," etc. But she would not have been worthy to be the Mother of God, if she had ever sinned. First, because the honor of the parents reflects on the child, according to Prov. 17:6: "The glory of children are their fathers": and consequently, on the other hand, the Mother's shame would have reflected on her Son. Secondly, because of the singular affinity between her and Christ, who took flesh from her: and it is written (2 Cor. 6:15): "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" Thirdly, because of the singular manner in which the Son of God, who is the "Divine Wisdom" (1 Cor. 1:24) dwelt in her, not only in her soul but in her womb. And it is written (Wis. 1:4): "Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins."
Et ideo simpliciter fatendum est quod beata virgo nullum actuale peccatum commisit, nec mortale nec veniale, ut sic impleatur quod dicitur Cant. IV, tota pulchra es, amica mea, et macula non est in te, et cetera. We must therefore confess simply that the Blessed Virgin committed no actual sin, neither mortal nor venial; so that what is written (Cant 4:7) is fulfilled: "Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee," etc.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in beata virgine, post sanctificationem in utero, remansit quidem fomes, sed ligatus, ne scilicet prorumperet in aliquem motum inordinatum, qui rationem praeveniret. Et licet ad hoc operaretur gratia sanctificationis, non tamen ad hoc sufficiebat, alioquin, virtute illius gratiae hoc ei fuisset praestitum ut nullus motus posset esse in sensualitate eius non ratione praeventus, et sic fomitem non habuisset, quod est contra supra dicta. Unde oportet dicere quod complementum illius ligationis fuit ex divina providentia, quae non permittebat aliquem motum inordinatum ex fomite provenire. Reply to Objection 1: After her sanctification the fomes remained in the Blessed Virgin, but fettered; lest she should be surprised by some sudden inordinate act, antecedent to the act of reason. And although the grace of her sanctification contributed to this effect, yet it did not suffice; for otherwise the result of her sanctification would have been to render impossible in her any sensual movement not preceded by an act of reason, and thus she would. not have had the fomes, which is contrary to what we have said above (Article [3]). We must therefore say that the above mentioned fettering (of the fomes) was perfected by divine providence not permitting any inordinate motion to result from the fomes.
Ad secundum dicendum quod illud verbum Simeonis Origenes, et quidam alii doctores, exponunt de dolore quem passa est in Christi passione. Ambrosius autem per gladium dicit significari prudentiam Mariae, non ignaram mysterii caelestis. Vivum enim est verbum Dei et validum, acutius omni gladio ancipiti. Reply to Objection 2: Origen (Hom. xvii in Luc.) and certain other doctors expound these words of Simeon as referring to the sorrow which she suffered at the time of our Lord's Passion. Ambrose (in Luc. 2:35) says that the sword signifies "Mary's prudence which took note of the heavenly mystery. For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword" (Heb. 4:12).
Quidam vero gladium dubitationem intelligunt. Quae tamen non est intelligenda dubitatio infidelitatis, sed admirationis et discussionis. Dicit enim Basilius, in epistola ad optimum, quod beata virgo, assistens cruci et aspiciens singula, post testimonium Gabrielis, post ineffabilem divinae conceptionis notitiam, post ingentem miraculorum ostensionem, animo fluctuabat, ex una scilicet parte videns eum pati abiecta, et ex alia parte considerans eius mirifica. Others again take the sword to signify doubt. But this is to be understood of the doubt, not of unbelief, but of wonder and discussion. Thus Basil says (Ep. ad Optim.) that "the Blessed Virgin while standing by the cross, and observing every detail, after the message of Gabriel, and the ineffable knowledge of the Divine Conception, after that wondrous manifestation of miracles, was troubled in mind": that is to say, on the one side seeing Him suffer such humiliation, and on the other considering His marvelous works.
Ad tertium dicendum quod in verbis illis Chrysostomus excessit. Possunt tamen exponi ut intelligatur in ea dominum cohibuisse, non inordinatum inanis gloriae motum quantum ad ipsam, sed id quod ab aliis posset existimari. Reply to Objection 3: In those words Chrysostom goes too far. They may, however, be explained as meaning that our Lord corrected in her, not the inordinate motion of vain glory in regard to herself, but that which might be in the thoughts of others.

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Article: 5  [ << | >> ]

Whether, by her sanctification in the womb, the Blessed Virgin received the fulness of grace?

Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod beata virgo per sanctificationem in utero non obtinuerit gratiae plenitudinem, sive perfectionem. Hoc enim videtur pertinere ad privilegium Christi, secundum illud Ioan. I, vidimus eum, quasi unigenitum a patre, plenum gratiae et veritatis. Sed ea quae sunt propria Christi, non sunt alteri attribuenda. Ergo beata virgo plenitudinem gratiarum non accepit in sanctificatione. Objection 1: It would seem that, by her sanctification in the womb, the Blessed Virgin did not receive the fulness or perfection of grace. For this seems to be Christ's privilege, according to Jn. 1:14: "We saw Him [Vulg.: 'His glory'] as the Only-Begotten [Vulg.: 'as it were of the Only-Begotten'] full of grace and truth." But what is proper to Christ ought not to be ascribed to some one else. Therefore the Blessed Virgin did not receive the fulness of grace at the time of her sanctification.
Praeterea, ei quod est plenum et perfectum, non restat aliquid addendum, quia perfectum est cui nihil deest, ut dicitur in III Physic. Sed beata virgo postmodum additionem gratiae suscepit, quando Christum concepit, dictum est enim ei, Luc. I, spiritus sanctus superveniet in te. Et iterum, quando in gloriam est assumpta. Ergo videtur quod non habuerit in sua prima sanctificatione plenitudinem gratiarum. Objection 2: Further, nothing remains to be added to that which is full and perfect: for "the perfect is that which lacks nothing," as is said Phys. iii. But the Blessed Virgin received additional grace afterwards when she conceived Christ; for to her was it said (Lk. 1:35): "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee: and again, when she was assumed into glory." Therefore it seems that she did not receive the fulness of grace at the time of her first sanctification.
Praeterea, Deus non facit aliquid frustra, ut dicitur in I de coelo et mundo. Frustra autem habuisset quasdam gratias, cum earum usum nunquam exercuerit, non enim legitur eam docuisse, quod est actus sapientiae; aut miracula fecisse, quod est actus gratiae gratis datae. Non ergo habuit plenitudinem gratiarum. Objection 3: Further, "God does nothing useless," as is said De Coelo et Mundo i. But it would have been useless for her to have certain graces, for she would never have put them to use: since we do not read that she taught which is the act of wisdom; or that she worked miracles, which is the act of one of the gratuitous graces. Therefore she had not the fulness of grace.
Sed contra est quod Angelus ad eam dixit, ave, gratia plena. Quod exponens Hieronymus, in sermone de assumptione, dicit, bene, gratia plena, quia ceteris per partes praestatur; Mariae vero se totam simul infudit gratiae plenitudo. On the contrary, The angel said to her: "Hail, full of grace" (Lk. 1:28); which words Jerome expounds as follows, in a sermon on the Assumption (cf. Ep. ad Paul. et Eustoch.): "Full indeed of grace: for to others it is given in portions; whereas on Mary the fulness of grace was showered all at once."
Respondeo dicendum quod, quanto aliquid magis appropinquat principio in quolibet genere, tanto magis participat effectum illius principii, unde dicit Dionysius, IV cap. Cael. Hier., quod Angeli, qui sunt Deo propinquiores, magis participant de bonitatibus divinis quam homines. Christus autem est principium gratiae, secundum divinitatem quidem auctoritative, secundum humanitatem vero instrumentaliter, unde et Ioan. I dicitur, gratia et veritas per Iesum Christum facta est. Beata autem virgo Maria propinquissima Christo fuit secundum humanitatem, quia ex ea accepit humanam naturam. Et ideo prae ceteris maiorem debuit a Christo plenitudinem gratiae obtinere. I answer that, In every genus, the nearer a thing is to the principle, the greater the part which it has in the effect of that principle, whence Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. iv) that angels, being nearer to God, have a greater share than men, in the effects of the Divine goodness. Now Christ is the principle of grace, authoritatively as to His Godhead, instrumentally as to His humanity: whence (Jn. 1:17) it is written: "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." But the Blessed Virgin Mary was nearest to Christ in His humanity: because He received His human nature from her. Therefore it was due to her to receive a greater fulness of grace than others.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod unicuique a Deo datur gratia secundum hoc ad quod eligitur. Et quia Christus, inquantum est homo, ad hoc fuit praedestinatus et electus ut esset praedestinatus filius Dei in virtute sanctificationis, hoc fuit proprium sibi, ut haberet talem plenitudinem gratiae quod redundaret in omnes, secundum quod dicitur Ioan. I, de plenitudine eius nos omnes accepimus. Sed beata virgo Maria tantam gratiae obtinuit plenitudinem ut esset propinquissima auctori gratiae, ita quod eum qui est plenus omni gratia, in se reciperet; et, eum pariendo, quodammodo gratiam ad omnes derivaret. Reply to Objection 1: God gives to each one according to the purpose for which He has chosen him. And since Christ as man was predestinated and chosen to be "predestinated the Son of God in power... of sanctification" (Rm. 1:4), it was proper to Him to have such a fulness of grace that it overflowed from Him into all, according to Jn. 1:16: "Of His fulness we have all received." Whereas the Blessed Virgin Mary received such a fulness of grace that she was nearest of all to the Author of grace; so that she received within her Him Who is full of all grace; and by bringing Him forth, she, in a manner, dispensed grace to all.
Ad secundum dicendum quod in rebus naturalibus primo quidem est perfectio dispositionis, puta cum materia est perfecte ad formam disposita. Secundo autem est perfectio formae, quae est potior, nam et ipse calor est perfectior qui provenit ex forma ignis, quam ille qui ad formam ignis disponebat. Tertio autem est perfectio finis, sicut cum ignis habet perfectissime suas qualitates, cum ad locum suum pervenerit. Reply to Objection 2: In natural things at first there is perfection of disposition, for instance when matter is perfectly disposed for the form. Secondly, there is the perfection of the form; and this is the more excellent, for the heat that proceeds from the form of fire is more perfect than that which disposed to the form of fire. Thirdly, there is the perfection of the end: for instance when fire has its qualities in the most perfect degree, having mounted to its own place.
Et similiter in beata virgine fuit triplex perfectio gratiae. Prima quidem quasi dispositiva, per quam reddebatur idonea ad hoc quod esset mater Christi, et haec fuit perfectio sanctificationis. Secunda autem perfectio gratiae fuit in beata virgine ex praesentia filii Dei in eius utero incarnati. Tertia autem perfectio est finis, quam habet in gloria. In like manner there was a threefold perfection of grace in the Blessed Virgin. The first was a kind of disposition, by which she was made worthy to be the mother of Christ: and this was the perfection of her sanctification. The second perfection of grace in the Blessed Virgin was through the presence of the Son of God Incarnate in her womb. The third perfection of the end is that which she has in glory.
Quod autem secunda perfectio sit potior quam prima, et tertia quam secunda, patet quidem, uno modo, per liberationem a malo. Nam primo, in sua sanctificatione fuit liberata a culpa originali; secundo, in conceptione filii Dei fuit totaliter mundata a fomite; tertio vero, in sui glorificatione fuit liberata etiam ab omni miseria. Alio modo, per ordinem ad bonum. Nam primo, in sua sanctificatione adepta est gratiam inclinantem eam ad bonum; in conceptione autem filii Dei consummata est ei gratia confirmans eam in bono; in sui vero glorificatione consummata est eius gratia perficiens eam in fruitione omnis boni. That the second perfection excels the first, and the third the second, appears (1) from the point of view of deliverance from evil. For at first in her sanctification she was delivered from original sin: afterwards, in the conception of the Son of God, she was entirely cleansed from the fomes: lastly, in her glorification she was also delivered from all affliction whatever. It appears (2) from the point of view of ordering to good. For at first in her sanctification she received grace inclining her to good: in the conception of the Son of God she received consummate grace confirming her in good; and in her glorification her grace was further consummated so as to perfect her in the enjoyment of all good.
Ad tertium dicendum quod non est dubitandum quin beata virgo acceperit excellenter et donum sapientiae, et gratiam virtutum, et etiam gratiam prophetiae, sicut habuit Christus. Non tamen accepit ut haberet omnes usus harum et similium gratiarum, sicut habuit Christus, sed secundum quod conveniebat conditioni ipsius. Habuit enim usum sapientiae in contemplando, secundum illud Luc. II, Maria autem conservabat omnia verba haec, conferens in corde suo. Non autem habuit usum sapientiae quantum ad docendum, eo quod hoc non conveniebat sexui muliebri, secundum illud I Tim. II, docere autem mulieri non permitto. Miraculorum autem usus sibi non competebat dum viveret, quia tunc temporis confirmanda erat doctrina Christi miraculis; et ideo soli Christo et eius discipulis, qui erant baiuli doctrinae Christi, conveniebat miracula facere. Propter quod etiam de Ioanne Baptista dicitur, Ioan. X, quod signum fecit nullum, ut scilicet omnes in Christo intenderent. Usum autem prophetiae habuit, ut patet in cantico quod fecit, magnificat anima mea dominum. Reply to Objection 3: There is no doubt that the Blessed Virgin received in a high degree both the gift of wisdom and the grace of miracles and even of prophecy, just as Christ had them. But she did not so receive them, as to put them and such like graces to every use, as did Christ: but accordingly as it befitted her condition of life. For she had the use of wisdom in contemplation, according to Lk. 2:19: "But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart." But she had not the use of wisdom as to teaching: since this befitted not the female sex, according to 1 Tim. 2:12: "But I suffer not a woman to teach." The use of miracles did not become her while she lived: because at that time the Teaching of Christ was to be confirmed by miracles, and therefore it was befitting that Christ alone, and His disciples who were the bearers of His doctrine, should work miracles. Hence of John the Baptist it is written (Jn. 10:41) that he "did no sign"; that is, in order that all might fix their attention on Christ. As to the use of prophecy, it is clear that she had it, from the canticle spoken by her: "My soul doth magnify the Lord" (Lk. 1:46, etc.).

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Whether after Christ, it was proper to the Blessed Virgin to be sanctified in the womb?

Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod sanctificari in utero, post Christum, proprium fuerit beatae virginis. Dictum est enim quod propter hoc beata virgo in utero fuit sanctificata, ut redderetur idonea ad hoc ut esset mater Dei. Sed hoc est proprium sibi. Ergo ipsa sola fuit sanctificata in utero. Objection 1: It would seem that it was proper for the Blessed Virgin, after Christ, to be sanctified in the womb. For it has been said (Article [4]) that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified in the womb, in order that she might be worthy to be the mother of God. But this is proper to her. Therefore she alone was sanctified in the womb.
Praeterea, aliqui videntur propinquius accessisse ad Christum quam Ieremias et Ioannes Baptista, qui dicuntur sanctificati in utero. Nam Christus specialiter dicitur filius David et Abraham, propter promissionem eis specialiter factam de Christo. Isaias etiam expressissime de Christo prophetavit. Apostoli etiam cum ipso Christo conversati sunt. Nec tamen leguntur sanctificati in utero. Ergo etiam neque Ieremiae et Ioanni Baptistae convenit sanctificari in utero. Objection 2: Further, some men seem to have been more closely connected with Christ than Jeremias and John the Baptist, who are said to have been sanctified in the womb. For Christ is specially called the Son of David and of Abraham, by reason of the promise specially made to them concerning Christ. Isaias also prophesied of Christ in the most express terms. And the apostles were in converse with Christ Himself. And yet these are not mentioned as having been sanctified in the womb. Therefore it was not befitting that either Jeremias or John the Baptist should be sanctified in the womb.
Praeterea, Iob de seipso dicit, Iob XXXI, ab infantia crevit mecum miseratio, et de utero egressa est mecum. Et tamen propter hoc non dicimus eum sanctificatum in utero. Ergo etiam neque Ioannem Baptistam et Ieremiam cogimur dicere sanctificatos in utero. Objection 3: Further, Job says of himself (Job 31:18): "From my infancy mercy grew up with me; and it came out with me from [my mother's] womb." Nevertheless we do not for this reason say that he was sanctified in the womb. Neither therefore are we bound to say that Jeremias and John the Baptist were sanctified in the womb.
Sed contra est quod de Ieremia dicitur, Ierem. I, antequam exires de ventre, sanctificavi te. Et de Ioanne Baptista dicitur, Luc. I, spiritu sancto replebitur adhuc ex utero matris suae. On the contrary, It is written of Jeremias (Jer. 1:5): "Before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee." And of John the Baptist it is written (Lk. 1:15): "He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb."
Respondeo dicendum quod Augustinus, in epistola ad Dardanum, dubie videtur loqui de horum sanctificatione in utero. Potuit enim exsultatio Ioannis in utero, ut ipse dicit, esse significatio rei tantae, scilicet quod mulier esset mater Dei, a maioribus cognoscendae, non a parvulo cognitae. Unde in Evangelio non dicitur, credidit infans in utero eius, sed, exsultavit, videmus autem exsultationem non solum parvulorum, sed etiam pecorum esse. Sed haec inusitata extitit, quia in utero. Et ideo, sicut solent miracula fieri, facta est divinitus in infante, non humanitus ab infante. Quamquam, etiam si usque adeo est in illo puero acceleratus usus rationis et voluntatis ut intra viscera materna iam posset agnoscere, credere et consentire, ad quod in aliis parvulis aetas expectatur ut possint, et hoc in miraculis habendum puto divinae potentiae. I answer that, Augustine (Ep. ad Dardan.) seems to speak dubiously of their (Jeremias' and John the Baptist's) sanctification in the womb. For the leaping of John in the womb "might," as he says, "signify the great truth," viz. that the woman was the mother of God, "which was to be made known to his elders, though as yet unknown to the infant. Hence in the Gospel it is written, not that the infant in her womb believed, but that it 'leaped': and our eyes are witness that not only infants leap but also cattle. But this was unwonted because it was in the womb. And therefore, just as other miracles are wont to be done, this was done divinely, in the infant; not humanly by the infant. Perhaps also in this child the use of reason and will was so far accelerated that while yet in his mother's womb he was able to acknowledge, believe, and consent, whereas in other children we have to wait for these things till they grow older: this again I count as a miraculous result of the divine power."
Sed quia expresse in Evangelio dicitur quod spiritu sancto replebitur adhuc ex utero matris suae; et de Ieremia expresse dicitur, antequam exires de vulva, sanctificavi te; asserendum videtur eos sanctificatos in utero, quamvis in utero usum liberi arbitrii non habuerunt (de quo Augustinus quaestionem movet); sicut etiam pueri qui sanctificantur per Baptismum, non statim habent usum liberi arbitrii. But since it is expressly said (of John) in the Gospel that "he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb"; and of Jeremias, "Before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee"; it seems that we must needs assert that they were sanctified in the womb, although, while in the womb, they had not the use of reason (which is the point discussed by Augustine); just as neither do children enjoy the use of free will as soon as they are sanctified by baptism.
Nec est credendum aliquos alios sanctificatos esse in utero, de quibus Scriptura mentionem non facit. Quia huiusmodi privilegia gratiae, quae dantur aliquibus praeter legem communem, ordinantur ad utilitatem aliorum, secundum illud I Cor. XII, unicuique datur manifestatio spiritus ad utilitatem, quae nulla proveniret ex sanctificatione aliquorum in utero, nisi Ecclesiae innotesceret. Nor are we to believe that any others, not mentioned by Scripture, were sanctified in the womb. For such privileges of grace, which are bestowed on some, outside the common law, are ordered for the salvation of others, according to 1 Cor. 12:7: "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit," which would not result from the sanctification of anyone unless it were made known to the Church.
Et quamvis iudiciorum Dei non possit ratio assignari, quare scilicet huic et non alii hoc munus gratiae conferat, conveniens tamen videtur fuisse utrumque istorum sanctificari in utero, ad praefigurandam sanctificationem per Christum fiendam. Primo quidem, per eius passionem, secundum illud Heb. ult., Iesus, ut sanctificaret per suum sanguinem populum, extra portam passus est. Quam quidem passionem Ieremias verbis et mysteriis apertissime praenuntiavit, et suis passionibus expressissime praefiguravit. Secundo, per Baptismum, I Cor. VI, sed abluti estis, sed sanctificati estis. Ad quem quidem Baptismum Ioannes suo Baptismo homines praeparavit. And although it is not possible to assign a reason for God's judgments, for instance, why He bestows such a grace on one and not on another, yet there seems to be a certain fittingness in both of these being sanctified in the womb, by their foreshadowing the sanctification which was to be effected through Christ. First, as to His Passion, according to Heb. 13:12: "Jesus, that He might sanctify the people by His own blood, suffered without the gate": which Passion Jeremias foretold openly by words and by symbols, and most clearly foreshadowed by his own sufferings. Secondly, as to His Baptism (1 Cor. 6:11): "But you are washed, but you are sanctified"; to which Baptism John prepared men by his baptism.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod beata virgo, quae fuit a Deo electa in matrem, ampliorem sanctificationis gratiam obtinuit quam Ioannes Baptista et Ieremias, qui sunt electi ut speciales praefiguratores sanctificationis Christi. Cuius signum est quod beatae virgini praestitum est ut de cetero non peccaret mortaliter nec venialiter, aliis autem sanctificatis creditur praestitum esse ut de cetero non peccarent mortaliter, divina eos gratia protegente. Reply to Objection 1: The blessed Virgin, who was chosen by God to be His Mother, received a fuller grace of sanctification than John the Baptist and Jeremias, who were chosen to foreshadow in a special way the sanctification effected by Christ. A sign of this is that it was granted to the Blessed Virgin thence-forward never to sin either mortally or venially: whereas to the others who were thus sanctified it was granted thenceforward not to sin mortally, through the protection of God's grace.
Ad secundum dicendum quod quantum ad alia potuerunt sancti esse Christo coniunctiores quam Ieremias et Ioannes Baptista. Qui tamen fuerunt ei coniunctissimi quantum ad expressam figuram sanctificationis ipsius, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 2: In other respects these saints might be more closely united to Christ than Jeremias and John the Baptist. But the latter were most closely united to Him by clearly foreshadowing His sanctification, as explained above.
Ad tertium dicendum quod miseratio de qua Iob loquitur, non significat virtutem infusam, sed quandam inclinationem naturalem ad actum huius virtutis. Reply to Objection 3: The mercy of which Job speaks is not the infused virtue; but a certain natural inclination to the act of that virtue.

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