|CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX
The Summa Theologica by Saint Thomas Aquinas
In the next place we must consider the aureoles. Under this head there are thirteen points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the aureoles differ from the essential reward?
(2) Whether they differ from the fruit?
(3) Whether a fruit is due to the virtue of continence only?
(4) Whether three fruits are fittingly assigned to the three parts of continence?
(5) Whether an aureole is due to virgins?
(6) Whether it is due to martyrs?
(7) Whether it is due to doctors?
(8) Whether it is due to Christ?
(9) Whether to the angels?
(10) Whether it is due to the human body?
(11) Whether three aureoles are fittingly assigned?
(12) Whether the virgin’s aureole is the greatest?
(13) Whether one has the same aureole in a higher degree than another?
Objection 1: It would seem that the aureole is not distinct from the essential reward which is called the “aurea.” For the essential reward is beatitude itself. Now according to Boethius (De Consol. iii), beatitude is “a state rendered perfect by the aggregate of all goods.” Therefore the essential reward includes every good possessed in heaven; so that the aureole is included in the “aurea.”
Objection 2: Further, “more” and “less” do not change a species. But those who keep the counsels and commandments receive a greater reward than those who keep the commandments only, nor seemingly does their reward differ, except in one reward being greater than another. Since then the aureole denotes the reward due to works of perfection it would seem that it does not signify something distinct from the “aurea.”
Objection 3: Further, reward corresponds to merit. Now charity is the root of all merit. Since then the “aurea” corresponds to charity, it would seem that there will be no reward in heaven other than the “aurea.”
Objection 4: Further, “All the blessed are taken into the angelic orders” as Gregory declares (Hom. xxxiv in Evang.). Now as regards the angels, “though some of them receive certain gifts in a higher degree, nothing is possessed by any of them exclusively, for all gifts are in all of them, though not equally, because some are endowed more highly than others with gifts which, however, they all possess,” as Gregory says (Hom. xxxiv in Evang.). Therefore as regards the blessed, there will be no reward other than that which is common to all. Therefore the aureole is not a distinct reward from the “aurea.”
Objection 5: Further, a higher reward is due to higher merit. If, then, the “aurea” is due to works which are of obligation, and the aureole to works of counsel, the aureole will be more perfect than the “aurea,” and consequently should not be expressed by a diminutive [*”Aureola,” i.e. a little “aurea”]. Therefore it would seem that the aureole is not a distinct reward from the “aurea.”
On the contrary, A gloss [*Ven. Bede, De Tabernaculis i, 6] on Ex. 25:24,25, “Thou shalt make . . . another little golden crown [coronam aureolam],” says: “This crown denotes the new hymn which the virgins alone sing in the presence of the Lamb.” Wherefore apparently the aureole is a crown awarded, not to all, but especially to some: whereas the aurea is awarded to all the blessed. Therefore the aureole is distinct from the “aurea.”
Further, a crown is due to the fight which is followed by victory: “He . . . is not crowned except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5). Hence where there is a special kind of conflict, there should be a special crown. Now in certain works there is a special kind of conflict. Therefore they deserve a special kind of crown, which we call an aureole.
Further, the Church militant comes down from the Church triumphant: “I saw the Holy City,” etc. (Apoc. 21:2). Now in the Church militant special rewards are given to those who perform special deeds, for instance a crown to the conqueror, a prize to the runner. Therefore the same should obtain in the Church triumphant.
I answer that, Man’s essential reward, which is his beatitude, consists in the perfect union of the soul with God, inasmuch as it enjoys God perfectly as seen and loved perfectly. Now this reward is called a “crown” or “aurea” metaphorically, both with reference to merit which is gained by a kind of conflict—since “the life of man upon earth is a warfare” (Job 7:1)—and with reference to the reward whereby in a way man is made a participator of the Godhead, and consequently endowed with regal power: “Thou hast made us to our God a kingdom,” etc. (Apoc. 5:10); for a crown is the proper sign of regal power.
In like manner the accidental reward which is added to the essential has the character of a crown. For a crown signifies some kind of perfection, on account of its circular shape, so that for this very reason it is becoming to the perfection of the blessed. Since, however, nothing can be added to the essential, but what is less than it, the additional reward is called an “aureole.” Now something may be added in two ways to this essential reward which we call the “aurea.” First, in consequence of a condition attaching to the nature of the one rewarded: thus the glory of the body is added to the beatitude of the soul, wherefore this same glory of the body is sometimes called an “aureole.” Thus a gloss of Bede on Ex. 25:25, “Thou . . . shalt make another little golden crown,” says that “finally the aureole is added, when it is stated in the Scriptures that a higher degree of glory is in store for us when our bodies are resumed.” But it is not in this sense that we speak of an aureole now. Secondly, in consequence of the nature of the meritorious act. Now this has the character of merit on two counts, whence also it has the character of good. First, to wit, from its root which is charity, since it is referred to the last end, and thus there is due to it the essential reward, namely the attainment of the end, and this is the “aurea.” Secondly, from the very genus of the act which derives a certain praiseworthiness from its due circumstances, from the habit eliciting it and from its proximate end, and thus is due to it a kind of accidental reward which we call an “aureole”: and it is in this sense that we regard the aureole now. Accordingly it must be said that an “aureole” denotes something added to the “aurea,” a kind of joy, to wit, in the works one has done, in that they have the character of a signal victory: for this joy is distinct from the joy in being united to God, which is called the “aurea.” Some, however, affirm that the common reward, which is the “aurea,” receives the name of “aureole,” according as it is given to virgins, martyrs, or doctors: even as money receives the name of debt through being due to some one, though the money and the debt are altogether the same. And that nevertheless this does not imply that the essential reward is any greater when it is called an “aureole”; but that it corresponds to a more excellent act, more excellent not in intensity of merit but in the manner of meriting; so that although two persons may have the Divine vision with equal clearness, it is called an “aureole” in one and not in the other in so far as it corresponds to higher merit as regards the way of meriting. But this would seem contrary to the meaning of the gloss quoted above. For if “aurea” and “aureole” were the same, the “aureole” would not be described as added to the “aurea.” Moreover, since reward corresponds to merit, a more excellent reward must needs correspond to this more excellent way of meriting: and it is this excellence that we call an “aureole.” Hence it follows that an “aureole” differs from the “aurea.”
Reply to Objection 1: Beatitude includes all the goods necessary for man’s perfect life consisting in his perfect operation. Yet some things can be added, not as being necessary for that perfect operation as though it were impossible without them, but as adding to the glory of beatitude. Hence they regard the well-being of beatitude and a certain fitness thereto. Even so civic happiness is embellished by nobility and bodily beauty and so forth, and yet it is possible without them as stated in Ethic. i, 8: and thus is the aureole in comparison with the happiness of heaven.
Reply to Objection 2: He who keeps the counsels and the commandments always merits more than he who keeps the commandments only, if we gather the notion of merit in works from the very genus of those works; but not always if we gauge the merit from its root, charity: since sometimes a man keeps the commandments alone out of greater charity than one who keeps both commandments and counsels. For the most part, however, the contrary happens, because the “proof of love is in the performance of deeds,” as Gregory says (Hom. xxx in Evang.). Wherefore it is not the more excellent essential reward that is called an aureole, but that which is added to the essential reward without reference to the essential reward of the possessor of an aureole being greater, or less than, or equal to the essential reward of one who has no aureole.
Reply to Objection 3: Charity is the first principle of merit: but our actions are the instruments, so to speak, whereby we merit. Now in order to obtain an effect there is requisite not only a due disposition in the first mover, but also a right disposition in the instrument. Hence something principal results in the effect with reference to the first mover, and something secondary with reference to the instrument. Wherefore in the reward also there is something on the part of charity, namely the “aurea,” and something on the part of the kind of work, namely the “aureole.”
Reply to Objection 4: All the angels merited their beatitude by the same kind of act namely by turning to God: and consequently no particular reward is found in anyone which another has not in some way. But men merit beatitude by different kinds of acts: and so the comparison fails.
Nevertheless among men what one seems to have specially, all have in common in some way, in so far as each one, by charity, deems another’s good his own. Yet this joy whereby one shares another’s joy cannot be called an aureole, because it is not given him as a reward for his victory, but regards more the victory of another: whereas a crown is awarded the victors themselves and not to those who rejoice with them in the victory.
Reply to Objection 5: The merit arising from charity is more excellent than that which arises from the kind of action: just as the end to which charity directs us is more excellent than the things directed to that end, and with which our actions are concerned. Wherefore the reward corresponding to merit by reason of charity, however little it may be, is greater than any reward corresponding to an action by reason of its genus. Hence “aureole” is used as a diminutive in comparison with “aurea.”
Objection 1: It would seem that the aureole does not differ from the fruit. For different rewards are not due to the same merit. Now the aureole and the hundredfold fruit correspond to the same merit, according to a gloss on Mat. 13:8, “Some a hundredfold.” Therefore the aureole is the same as the fruit.
Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (De Virgin xlv) that the “hundredfold fruit is due to the martyrs, and also to virgins.” Therefore the fruit is a reward common to virgins and martyrs. But the aureole also is due to them. Therefore the aureole is the same as the fruit.
Objection 3: Further, there are only two rewards in beatitude, namely the essential, and the accidental which is added to the essential. Now that which is added to the essential reward is called an aureole, as evidenced by the statement (Ex. 25:25) that the little crown [aureola] is added to the crown. But the fruit is not the essential reward, for in that case it would be due to all the blessed. Therefore it is the same as the aureole.
On the contrary, Things which are not divided in the same way are not of the same nature. Now fruit and aureole are not divided in the same way, since aureole is divided into the aureole of virgins, of martyrs, and of doctors: whereas fruit is divided into the fruit of the married, of widows, and of virgins. Therefore fruit and aureole are not the same.
Further, if fruit and aureole were the same, the aureole would be due to whomsoever the fruit is due. But this is manifestly untrue, since a fruit is due to widowhood, while an aureole is not. Therefore, etc.
I answer that, Metaphorical expressions can be taken in various ways, according as we find resemblances to the various properties of the thing from which the comparison is taken. Now since fruit, properly speaking, is applied to material things born of the earth, we employ it variously in a spiritual sense, with reference to the various conditions that obtain in material fruits. For the material fruit has sweetness whereby it refreshes so far as it is used by man: again it is the last thing to which the operation of nature attains: moreover it is that to which husbandry looks forward as the result of sowing or any other process. Accordingly fruit is taken in a spiritual sense sometimes for that which refreshes as being the last end: and according to this signification we are said to enjoy [frui] God perfectly in heaven, and imperfectly on the way. From this signification we have fruition which is a dowry: but we are not speaking of fruit in this sense now. Sometimes fruit signifies spiritually that which refreshes only, though it is not the last end; and thus the virtues are called fruits, inasmuch as “they refresh the mind with genuine sweetness,” as Ambrose says [*De Parad. xiii]. In this sense fruit is taken (Gal. 6:22): “The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy,” etc. Nor again is this the sense in which we speak of fruit now; for we have treated of this already [*Cf. FS, Q, A, ad 2].
We may, however, take spiritual fruit in another sense, in likeness to material fruit, inasmuch as material fruit is a profit expected from the labor of husbandry: so that we call fruit that reward which man acquires from his labor in this life: and thus every reward which by our labors we shall acquire for the future life is called a “fruit.” In this sense fruit is taken (Rom. 6:22): “You have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting.” Yet neither in this sense do we speak of fruit now, but we are treating of fruit as being the product of seed: for it is in this sense that our Lord speaks of fruit (Mat. 13:23), where He divides fruit into thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and hundredfold. Now fruit is the product of seed in so far as the seed power is capable of transforming the humors of the soil into its own nature; and the more efficient this power, and the better prepared the soil, the more plentiful fruit will result. Now the spiritual seed which is sown in us is the Word of God: wherefore the more a person is transformed into a spiritual nature by withdrawing from carnal things, the greater is the fruit of the Word in him. Accordingly the fruit of the Word of God differs from the aurea and the aureole, in that the “aurea” consists in the joy one has in God, and the “aureole” in the joy one has in the perfection of one’s works, whereas the “fruit” consists in the joy that the worker has in his own disposition as to his degree of spirituality to which he has attained through the seed of God’s Word.
Some, however, distinguish between aureole and fruit, by saying that the aureole is due to the fighter, according to 2 Tim. 2:5, “He . . . shall not be crowned, except he strive lawfully”; whereas the fruit is due to the laborer, according to the saying of Wis. 3:15, “The fruit of good labors is glorious.” Others again say that the “aurea” regards conversion to God, while the “aureole” and the “fruit” regard things directed to the end; yet so that the fruit regards the will rather, and the aureole the body. Since, however, labor and strife are in the same subject and about the same matter, and since the body’s reward depends on the soul’s, these explanations of the difference between fruit, aurea and aureole would only imply a logical difference: and this cannot be, since fruit is assigned to some to whom no aureole is assigned.
Reply to Objection 1: There is nothing incongruous if various rewards correspond to the same merit according to the various things contained therein. Wherefore to virginity corresponds the aurea in so far as virginity is kept for God’s sake at the command of charity; the aureole, in so far as virginity is a work of perfection having the character of a signal victory; and the fruit, in so far as by virginity a person acquires a certain spirituality by withdrawing from carnal things.
Reply to Objection 2: Fruit, according to the proper acceptation as we are speaking of it now, does not denote the reward common to martyrdom and virginity, by that which corresponds to the three degrees of continency. This gloss which states that the hundredfold fruit corresponds to martyrs takes fruit in a broad sense, according as any reward is called a fruit, the hundredfold fruit thus denoting the reward due to any perfect works whatever.
Reply to Objection 3: Although the aureole is an accidental reward added to the essential reward, nevertheless not every accidental reward is an aureole, but only that which is assigned to works of perfection, whereby man is most conformed to Christ in the achievement of a perfect victory. Hence it is not unfitting that another accidental reward, which is called the fruit, be due sometimes to the withdrawal from a carnal life.
Objection 1: It would seem that a fruit is not due to the virtue of continence alone. For a gloss on 1 Cor. 15:41, “One is the glory of the sun,” says that “the worth of those who have the hundredfold fruit is compared to the glory of the sun; to the glory of the moon those who have the sixtyfold fruit; and to the stars those who have the thirtyfold fruit.” Now this difference of glory, in the meaning of the Apostle, regards any difference whatever of beatitude. Therefore the various fruits should correspond to none but the virtue of continence.
Objection 2: Further, fruits are so called from fruition. But fruition belongs to the essential reward which corresponds to all the virtues. Therefore, etc.
Objection 3: Further, fruit is due to labor: “The fruit of good labors is glorious” (Wis. 3:15). Now there is greater labor in fortitude than in temperance or continence. Therefore fruit does not correspond to continence alone.
Objection 4: Further, it is more difficult not to exceed the measure in food which is necessary for life, than in sexual matters without which life can be sustained: and thus the labor of frugality is greater than that of continence. Therefore fruit corresponds to frugality rather than to continence.
Objection 5: Further, fruit implies delight, and delight regards especially the end. Since then the theological virtues have the end for their object, namely God Himself, it would seem that to them especially the fruit should correspond.
On the contrary, is the statement of the gloss on Mat. 13:23, “The one a hundredfold,” which assigns the fruits to virginity, widowhood, and conjugal continence, which are parts of continence.
I answer that, A fruit is a reward due to a person in that he passes from the carnal to the spiritual life. Consequently a fruit corresponds especially to that virtue which more than any other frees man from subjection to the flesh. Now this is the effect of continence, since it is by sexual pleasures that the soul is especially subject to the flesh; so much so that in the carnal act, according to Jerome (Ep. ad Ageruch.), “not even the spirit of prophecy touches the heart of the prophet,” nor “is it possible to understand anything in the midst of that pleasure,” as the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 11). Therefore fruit corresponds to continence rather than to another virtue.
Reply to Objection 1: This gloss takes fruit in a broad sense, according as any reward is called a fruit.
Reply to Objection 2: Fruition does not take its name from fruit by reason of any comparison with fruit in the sense in which we speak of it now, as evidenced by what has been said.
Reply to Objection 3: Fruit, as we speak of it now, corresponds to labor not as resulting in fatigue, but as resulting in the production of fruit. Hence a man calls his crops his labor, inasmuch as he labored for them, or produced them by his labor. Now the comparison to fruit, as produced from seed, is more adapted to continence than to fortitude, because man is not subjected to the flesh by the passions of fortitude, as he is by the passions with which continence is concerned.
Reply to Objection 4: Although the pleasures of the table are more necessary than the pleasures of sex, they are not so strong: wherefore the soul is not so much subjected to the flesh thereby.
Reply to Objection 5: Fruit is not taken here in the sense in which fruition applies to delight in the end; but in another sense as stated above (A ). Hence the argument proves nothing.
Objection 1: It would seem that three fruits are unfittingly assigned to the three parts of continence: because twelve fruits of the Spirit are assigned, “charity, joy, peace,” etc. (Gal. 5:22). Therefore seemingly we should reckon only three.
Objection 2: Further, fruit denotes a special reward. Now the reward assigned to virgins, widows, and married persons is not a special reward, because all who are to be saved are comprised under one of these three, since no one is saved who lacks continence, and continence is adequately divided by these three. Therefore three fruits are unfittingly assigned to the three aforesaid.
Objection 3: Further, just as widowhood surpasses conjugal continence, so does virginity surpass widowhood. But the excess of sixtyfold over thirtyfold is not as the excess of a hundredfold over sixtyfold; neither in arithmetical proportion, since sixty exceeds thirty by thirty, and a hundred exceeds sixty by forty; nor in geometrical proportion, since sixty is twice thirty and a hundred surpasses sixty as containing the whole and two-thirds thereof. Therefore the fruits are unfittingly adapted to the degrees of continence.
Objection 4: Further, the statements contained in Holy Writ stand for all time: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Lk. 21:33): whereas human institutions are liable to change every day. Therefore human institutions are not to be taken as a criterion of the statements of Holy Writ: and it would seem in consequence that the explanation of these fruits given by Bede is unfitting. For he says (Expos. in Luc. iii, 8) that “the thirtyfold fruit is assigned to married persons, because in the signs drawn on the ‘abacus’ the number 30 is denoted by the thumb and index finger touching one another at the tips as though kissing one another: so that the number 30 denotes the embraces of married persons. The number 60 is denoted by the contact of the index finger above the middle joint of the thumb, so that the index finger by lying over the thumb and weighing on it, signifies the burden which widows have to bear in this world. When, however, in the course of enumeration we come to the number 100 we pass from the left to the right hand, so that the number 100 denotes virginity, which has a share in the angelic excellence; for the angels are on the right hand, i.e. in glory, while we are on the left on account of the imperfection of the present life.”
I answer that, By continence, to which the fruit corresponds, man is brought to a kind of spiritual nature, by withdrawing from carnal things. Consequently various fruits are distinguished according to the various manners of the spirituality resulting from continence. Now there is a certain spirituality which is necessary, and one which is superabundant. The spirituality that is necessary consists in the rectitude of the spirit not being disturbed by the pleasures of the flesh: and this obtains when one makes use of carnal pleasures according to the order of right reason. This is the spirituality of married persons. Spirituality is superabundant when a man withdraws himself entirely from those carnal pleasures which stifle the spirit. This may be done in two ways: either in respect of all time past, present, and future, and this is the spirituality of virgins; or in respect of a particular time, and this is the spirituality of widows. Accordingly to those who keep conjugal continence, the thirtyfold fruit is awarded; to those who keep the continence of widows, the sixtyfold fruit; and to those who keep virginal continence, the hundredfold fruit: and this for the reason given by Bede quoted above, although another motive may be found in the very nature of the numbers. For 30 is the product of 3 multiplied by 10. Now 3 is the number of everything, as stated in De Coelo et Mundo i, and contains a certain perfection common to all, namely of beginning, middle, and end. Wherefore the number 30 is fittingly assigned to married persons, in whom no other perfection is added to the observance of the Decalogue, signified by the number 10, than the common perfection without which there is no salvation. The number six the multiplication of which by 10 amounts to 60 has perfection from its parts, being the aggregate of all its parts taken together; wherefore it corresponds fittingly to widowhood, wherein we find perfect withdrawal from carnal pleasures as to all its circumstances (which are the parts so to speak of a virtuous act), since widowhood uses no carnal pleasures in connection with any person, place, or any other circumstance; which was not the case with conjugal continence. The number 100 corresponds fittingly to virginity; because the number 10 of which 100 is a multiple is the limit of numbers: and in like manner virginity occupies the limit of spirituality, since no further spirituality can be added to it. The number 100 also being a square number has perfection from its figure: for a square figure is prefect through being equal on all sides, since all its sides are equal: wherefore it is adapted to virginity wherein incorruption is found equally as to all times.
Reply to Objection 1: Fruit is not taken there in the sense in which we are taking it now.
Reply to Objection 2: Nothing obliges us to hold that fruit is a reward that is not common to all who will be saved. For not only the essential reward is common to all, but also a certain accidental reward, such as joy in those works without which one cannot be saved. Yet it may be said that the fruits are not becoming to all who will be saved, as is evidently the case with those who repent in the end after leading an incontinent life, for to such no fruit is due but only the essential reward.
Reply to Objection 3: The distinction of the fruits is to be taken according to the species and figures of the numbers rather than according to their quantity. Nevertheless even if we regard the excess in point of quantity, we may find an explanation. For the married man abstains only from one that is not his, the widow from both hers and not hers, so that in the latter case we find the notion of double, just as 60 is the double of 30. Again 100 is 60 X 40, which latter number is the product of 4 X 10, and the number 4 is the first solid and square number. Thus the addition of this number is fitting to virginity, which adds perpetual incorruption to the perfection of widowhood.
Reply to Objection 4: Although these numerical signs are a human institution, they are founded somewhat on the nature of things, in so far as the numbers are denoted in gradation, according to the order of the aforesaid joints and contacts.
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is not due on account of virginity. For where there is greater difficulty in the work, a greater reward is due. Now widows have greater difficulty than virgins in abstaining from the works of the flesh. For Jerome says (Ep. ad Ageruch.) that the greater difficulty certain persons experience in abstaining from the allurements of pleasure, the greater their reward, and he is speaking in praise of widows. Moreover, the Philosopher says (De Anim. Hist. vii) that “young women who have been deflowered desire sexual intercourse the more for the recollection of the pleasure.” Therefore the aureole which is the greatest reward is due to widows more than to virgins.
Objection 2: Further, if an aureole were due to virginity, it would be especially found where there is the most perfect virginity. Now the most prefect virginity is in the Blessed Virgin, wherefore she is called the Virgin of virgins: and yet no aureole is due to her because she experienced no conflict in being continent, for she was not infected with the corruption of the fomes [*Cf. TP, Q, A]. Therefore an aureole is not due to virginity.
Objection 3: Further, a special reward is not due to that which has not been at all times praiseworthy. Now it would not have been praiseworthy to observe virginity in the state of innocence, since then was it commanded: “Increase and multiply and fill the earth” (Gn. 1:28): nor again during the time of the Law, since the barren were accursed. Therefore an aureole is not due to virginity.
Objection 4: Further, the same reward is not due to virginity observed, and virginity lost. Yet an aureole is sometimes due to lost virginity; for instance if a maiden be violated unwillingly at the order of a tyrant for confessing Christ. Therefore an aureole is not due to virginity.
Objection 5: Further, a special reward is not due to that which is in us by nature. But virginity is inborn in every man both good and wicked. Therefore an aureole is not due to virginity.
Objection 6: Further, as widowhood is to the sixtyfold fruit, so is virginity to the hundredfold fruit, and to the aureole. Now the sixtyfold fruit is not due to every widow, but only, as some say, to one who vows to remain a widow. Therefore it would seem that neither is the aureole due to any kind of virginity, but only to that which is observed by vow.
Objection 7: Further, reward is not given to that which is done of necessity, since all merit depends on the will. But some are virgins of necessity, such as those who are naturally cold-blooded, and eunuchs. Therefore an aureole is not always due to virginity.
On the contrary, A gloss on Ex. 25:25: “Thou shalt also make a little golden crown [coronam aureolam]” says: “This crown denotes the new hymn which the virgins sing in the presence of the Lamb, those, to wit, who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” Therefore the reward due to virginity is called an aureole.
Further, It is written (Is. 56:4): “Thus saith the Lord to the eunuchs”: and the text continues (Is. 56: 5): “I will give to them . . . a name better than sons and daughters”: and a gloss [*St. Augustine, De Virginit. xxv] says: “This refers to their peculiar and transcendent glory.” Now the eunuchs “who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 19:12) denote virgins. Therefore it would seem that some special reward is due to virginity, and this is called the aureole.
I answer that, Where there is a notable kind of victory, a special crown is due. Wherefore since by virginity a person wins a signal victory over the flesh, against which a continuous battle is waged: “The flesh lusteth against the spirit,” etc. (Gal. 5:17), a special crown called the aureole is due to virginity. This indeed is the common opinion of all; but all are not agreed as to the kind of virginity to which it is due. For some say that the aureole is due to the act. So that she who actually remains a virgin will have the aureole provided she be of the number of the saved. But this would seem unreasonable, because in this case those who have the will to marry and nevertheless die before marrying would have the aureole. Hence others hold that the aureole is due to the state and not to the act: so that those virgins alone merit the aureole who by vow have placed themselves in the state of observing perpetual virginity. But this also seems unreasonable, because it is possible to have the same intention of observing virginity without a vow as with a vow. Hence it may be said otherwise that merit is due to every virtuous act commanded by charity. Now virginity comes under the genus of virtue in so far as perpetual incorruption of mind and body is an object of choice, as appears from what has been said above (Sent. iv, D, 33, Q, AA,2) [*Cf. TP, Q, AA,3]. Consequently the aureole is due to those virgins alone, who had the purpose of observing perpetual virginity, whether or no they have confirmed this purpose by vow—and this I say with reference to the aureole in its proper signification of a reward due to merit—although this purpose may at some time have been interrupted, integrity of the flesh remaining withal, provided it be found at the end of life, because virginity of the mind may be restored, although virginity of the flesh cannot. If, however, we take the aureole in its broad sense for any joy added to the essential joy of heaven, the aureole will be applicable even to those who are incorrupt in flesh, although they had not the purpose of observing perpetual virginity. For without doubt they will rejoice in the incorruption of their body, even as the innocent will rejoice in having been free from sin, although they had no opportunity of sinning, as in the case of baptized children. But this is not the proper meaning of an aureole, although it is very commonly taken in this sense.
Reply to Objection 1: In some respects virgins experience a greater conflict in remaining continent; and in other respects, widows, other things being equal. For virgins are inflamed by concupiscence, and by the desire of experience, which arises from a certain curiosity as it were, which makes man more willing to see what he has never seen. Sometimes, moreover, this concupiscence is increased by their esteeming the pleasure to be greater than it is in reality, and by their failing to consider the grievances attaching to this pleasure. In these respects widows experience the lesser conflict, yet theirs is the greater conflict by reason of their recollection of the pleasure. Moreover, in different subjects one motive is stronger than another, according to the various conditions and dispositions of the subject, because some are more susceptible to one, and others to another. However, whatever we may say of the degree of conflict, this is certain—that the virgin’s victory is more perfect than the widow’s, for the most perfect and most brilliant kind of victory is never to have yielded to the foe: and the crown is due, not to the battle but to the victory gained by the battle.
Reply to Objection 2: There are two opinions about this. For some say that the Blessed Virgin has not an aureole in reward of her virginity, if we take aureole in the proper sense as referring to a conflict, but that she has something more than an aureole, on account of her most perfect purpose of observing virginity. Others say that she has an aureole even in its proper signification, and that a most transcendent one: for though she experienced no conflict, she had a certain conflict of the flesh, but owing to the exceeding strength of her virtue, her flesh was so subdued that she did not feel this conflict. This, however, would seem to be said without reason, for since we believe the Blessed Virgin to have been altogether immune from the inclination of the fomes on account of the perfection of her sanctification, it is wicked to suppose that there was in her any conflict with the flesh, since such like conflict is only from the inclination of the fomes, nor can temptation from the flesh be without sin, as declared by a gloss [*St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei xix, 4] on 2 Cor. 12:7, “There was given me a sting of my flesh.” Hence we must say that she has an aureole properly speaking, so as to be conformed in this to those other members of the Church in whom virginity is found: and although she had no conflict by reason of the temptation which is of the flesh, she had the temptation which is of the enemy, who feared not even Christ (Mat. 4).
Reply to Objection 3: The aureole is not due to virginity except as adding some excellence to the other degrees of continence. If Adam had not sinned, virginity would have had no perfection over conjugal continence, since in that case marriage would have been honorable, and the marriage-bed unsullied, for it would not have been dishonored by lust: hence virginity would not then have been observed, nor would an aureole have been due to it. But the condition of human nature being changed, virginity has a special beauty of its own, and consequently a special reward is assigned to it.
During the time of the Mosaic law, when the worship of God was to be continued by means of the carnal act, it was not altogether praiseworthy to abstain from carnal intercourse: wherefore no special reward would be given for such a purpose unless it came from a Divine inspiration, as is believed to have been the case with Jeremias and Elias, of whose marriage we do not read.
Reply to Objection 4: If a virgin is violated, she does not forfeit the aureole, provided she retain unfailingly the purpose of observing perpetual virginity, and nowise consent to the act. Nor does she forfeit virginity thereby; and be this said, whether she be violated for the faith, or for any other cause whatever. But if she suffer this for the faith, this will count to her for merit, and will be a kind of martyrdom: wherefore Lucy said: “If thou causest me to be violated against my will, my chastity will receive a double crown” [*Office of S. Lucy; lect. vi of Dominican Breviary, December 13th]; not that she has two aureoles of virginity, but that she will receive a double reward, one for observing virginity, the other for the outrage she has suffered. Even supposing that one thus violated should conceive, she would not for that reason forfeit her virginity: nor would she be equal to Christ’s mother, in whom there was integrity of the flesh together with integrity of the mind [*Cf. SS, Q, A, ad 3; SS, Q, A, ad 2; SS, Q, A].
Reply to Objection 5: Virginity is inborn in us as to that which is material in virginity: but the purpose of observing perpetual incorruption, whence virginity derives its merit, is not inborn, but comes from the gift of grace.
Reply to Objection 6: The sixtyfold fruit is due, not to every widow, but only to those who retain the purpose of remaining widows, even though they do not make it the matter of a vow, even as we have said in regard to virginity.
Reply to Objection 7: If cold-blooded persons and eunuchs have the will to observe perpetual incorruption even though they were capable of sexual intercourse, they must be called virgins and merit the aureole: for they make a virtue of necessity. If, on the other hand, they have the will to marry if they could, they do not merit the aureole. Hence Augustine says (De Sancta Virgin. xxiv): “For those like eunuchs whose bodies are so formed that they are unable to beget, it suffices when they become Christians and keep the commandments of God, that they have a mind to have a wife if they could, in order to rank with the faithful who are married.”
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is not due to martyrs. For an aureole is a reward given for works of supererogation, wherefore Bede commenting on Ex. 25:25, “Thou shalt also make another . . . crown,” says: “This may be rightly referred to the reward of those who by freely choosing a more perfect life go beyond the general commandments.” But to die for confessing the faith is sometimes an obligation, and not a work of supererogation as appears from the words of Rom. 10:10, “With the heart, we believe unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Therefore an aureole is not always due to martyrdom.
Objection 2: Further, according to Gregory (Moral. ix [*Cf. St. Augustine, De Adult. Conjug. i, 14]) “the freer the service, the more acceptable it is.” Now martyrdom has a minimum of freedom, since it is a punishment inflicted by another person with force. Therefore an aureole is not due to martyrdom, since it is accorded to surpassing merit.
Objection 3: Further, martyrdom consists not only in suffering death externally, but also in the interior act of the will: wherefore Bernard in a sermon on the Holy Innocents distinguishes three kinds of martyr—in will and not in death, as John; in both will and death, as Stephen; in death and not in will, as the Innocents. Accordingly if an aureole were due to martyrdom, it would be due to voluntary rather than external martyrdom, since merit proceeds from will. Yet such is not the case. Therefore an aureole is not due to martyrdom.
Objection 4: Further, bodily suffering is less than mental, which consists of internal sorrow and affliction of soul. But internal suffering is also a kind of martyrdom: wherefore Jerome says in a sermon on the Assumption [*Ep. ad Paul. et Eustoch.]: “I should say rightly that the Mother of God was both virgin and martyr, although she ended her days in peace, wherefore: Thine own soul a sword hath pierced—namely for her Son’s death.” Since then no aureole corresponds to interior sorrow, neither should one correspond to outward suffering.
Objection 5: Further, penance itself is a kind of martyrdom, wherefore Gregory says (Hom. iii in Evang.): “Although persecution has ceased to offer the opportunity, yet the peace we enjoy is not without its martyrdom; since even if we no longer yield the life of the body to the sword, yet do we slay fleshly desires in the soul with the sword of the spirit.” But no aureole is due to penance which consists in external works. Neither therefore is an aureole due to every external martyrdom.
Objection 6: Further, an aureole is not due to an unlawful work. Now it is unlawful to lay hands on oneself, as Augustine declares (De Civ. Dei i), and yet the Church celebrates the martyrdom of some who laid hands upon themselves in order to escape the fury of tyrants, as in the case of certain women at Antioch (Eusebius, Eccles. Hist. viii, 24). Therefore an aureole is not always due to martyrdom.
Objection 7: Further, it happens at times that a person is wounded for the faith, and survives for some time. Now it is clear that such a one is a martyr, and yet seemingly an aureole is not due to him, since his conflict did not last until death. Therefore an aureole is not always due to martyrdom.
Objection 8: Further, some suffer more from the loss of temporal goods than from the affliction even of their own body and this is shown by their bearing many afflictions for the sake of gain. Therefore if they be despoiled of their temporal goods for Christ’s sake they would seem to be martyrs, and yet an aureole is not apparently due to them. Therefore the same conclusion follows as before.
Objection 9: Further, a martyr would seem to be no other than one who dies for the faith, wherefore Isidore says (Etym. vii): “They are called martyrs in Greek, witnesses in Latin: because they suffered in order to bear witness to Christ, and strove unto death for the truth.” Now there are virtues more excellent than faith, such as justice, charity, and so forth, since these cannot be without grace, and yet no aureole is due to them. Therefore seemingly neither is an aureole due to martyrdom.
Objection 10: Further, even as the truth of faith is from God, so is all other truth, as Ambrose [*Spurious work on 1 Cor. 12:3: “No man can say,” etc.] declares, since “every truth by whomsoever uttered is from the Holy Ghost.” Therefore if an aureole is due to one who suffers death for the truth of faith, in like manner it is also due to those who suffer death for any other virtue: and yet apparently this is not the case.
Objection 11: Further, the common good is greater than the good of the individual. Now if a man die in a just war in order to save his country, an aureole is not due to him. Therefore even though he be put to death in order to keep the faith that is in himself, no aureole is due to him: and consequently the same conclusion follows as above.
Objection 12: Further, all merit proceeds from the free will. Yet the Church celebrates the martyrdom of some who had not the use of the free will. Therefore they did not merit an aureole: and consequently an aureole is not due to all martyrs.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Sancta Virgin. xlvi): “No one, methinks, would dare prefer virginity to martyrdom.” Now an aureole is due to virginity, and consequently also to martyrdom.
Further, the crown is due to one who has striven. But in martyrdom the strife presents a special difficulty. Therefore a special aureole is due thereto.
I answer that, Just as in the spirit there is a conflict with the internal concupiscences, so is there in man a conflict with the passion that is inflicted from without. Wherefore, just as a special crown, which we call an aureole, is due to the most perfect victory whereby we triumph over the concupiscences of the flesh, in a word to virginity, so too an aureole is due to the most perfect victory that is won against external assaults. Now the most perfect victory over passion caused from without is considered from two points of view. First from the greatness of the passion. Now among all passions inflicted from without, death holds the first place, just as sexual concupiscences are chief among internal passions. Consequently, when a man conquers death and things directed to death, his is a most perfect victory. Secondly, the perfection of victory is considered from the point of view of the motive of conflict, when, to wit, a man strives for the most honorable cause; which is Christ Himself. Both these things are to be found in martyrdom, which is death suffered for Christ’s sake: for “it is not the pain but the cause that makes the martyr,” as Augustine says (Contra Crescon. iii). Consequently an aureole is due to martyrdom as well as to virginity.
Reply to Objection 1: To suffer death for Christ’s sake, is absolutely speaking, a work of supererogation; since every one is not bound to confess his faith in the face of a persecutor: yet in certain cases it is necessary for salvation, when, to wit, a person is seized by a persecutor and interrogated as to his faith which he is then bound to confess. Nor does it follow that he does not merit an aureole. For an aureole is due to a work of supererogation, not as such, but as having a certain perfection. Wherefore so long as this perfection remains, even though the supererogation cease, one merits the aureole.
Reply to Objection 2: A reward is due to martyrdom, not in respect of the exterior infliction, but because it is suffered voluntarily: since we merit only through that which is in us. And the more that which one suffers voluntarily is difficult and naturally repugnant to the will the more is the will that suffers it for Christ’s sake shown to be firmly established in Christ, and consequently a higher reward is due to him.
Reply to Objection 3: There are certain acts which, in their very selves, contain intense pleasure or difficulty: and in such the act always adds to the character of merit or demerit, for as much as in the performance of the act the will, on account of the aforesaid intensity, must needs undergo an alteration from the state in which it was before. Consequently, other things being equal, one who performs an act of lust sins more than one who merely consents in the act, because in the very act the will is increased. In like manner since in the act of suffering martyrdom there is a very great difficulty, the will to suffer martyrdom does not reach the degree of merit due to actual martyrdom by reason of its difficulty: although, indeed it may possibly attain to a higher reward, if we consider the root of merit since the will of one man to suffer martyrdom may possibly proceed from a greater charity than another man’s act of martyrdom. Hence one who is willing to be a martyr may by his will merit an essential reward equal to or greater than that which is due to an actual martyr. But the aureole is due to the difficulty inherent to the conflict itself of martyrdom: wherefore it is not due to those who are martyrs only in will.
Reply to Objection 4: Just as pleasures of touch, which are the matter of temperance, hold the chief place among all pleasures both internal and external, so pains of touch surpass all other pains. Consequently an aureole is due to the difficulty of suffering pains of touch, for instance, from blows and so forth, rather than to the difficulty of bearing internal sufferings, by reason of which, however, one is not properly called a martyr, except by a kind of comparison. It is in this sense that Jerome speaks.
Reply to Objection 5: The sufferings of penance are not a martyrdom properly speaking, because they do not consist in things directed to the causing of death, since they are directed merely to the taming of the flesh: and if any one go beyond this measure, such afflictions will be deserving of blame. However such afflictions are spoken of as a martyrdom by a kind of comparison. and they surpass the sufferings of martyrdom in duration but not in intensity.
Reply to Objection 6: According to Augustine (De Civ. Dei i) it is lawful to no one to lay hands on himself for any reason whatever; unless perchance it be done by Divine instinct as an example of fortitude that others may despise death. Those to whom the objection refers are believed to have brought death on themselves by Divine instinct, and for this reason the Church celebrates their martyrdom [*Cf. SS, Q, A].
Reply to Objection 7: If any one receive a mortal wound for the faith and survive, without doubt he merits the aureole: as instanced in blessed Cecilia who survived for three days, and many martyrs who died in prison. But, even if the wound he receives be not mortal, yet be the occasion of his dying, he is believed to merit the aureole: although some say that he does not merit the aureole if he happen to die through his own carelessness or neglect. For this neglect would not have occasioned his death, except on the supposition of the wound which he received for the faith: and consequently this wound previously received for the faith is the original occasion of his death, so that he would not seem to lose. the aureole for that reason, unless his neglect were such as to involve a mortal sin, which would deprive him of both aurea and aureole. If, however, by some chance or other he were not to die of the mortal wound received, or again if the wounds received were not mortal, and he were to die while in prison, he would still merit the aureole. Hence the martyrdom of some saints is celebrated in the Church for that they died in prison, having been wounded long before, as in the case of Pope Marcellus. Accordingly in whatever way suffering for Christ’s sake be continued unto death, whether death ensue or not, a man becomes a martyr and merits the aureole. If, however, it be not continued unto death, this is not a reason for calling a person a martyr, as in the case of the blessed Sylvester, whose feast the Church does not solemnize as a martyr’s, since he ended his days in peace, although previously he had undergone certain sufferings.
Reply to Objection 8: Even as temperance is not about pleasures of money, honors, and the like, but only about pleasures of touch as being the principal of all, so fortitude is about dangers of death as being the greatest of all (Ethic. iii, 6). Consequently the aureole is due to such injuries only as are inflicted on a person’s own body and are of a nature to cause death. Accordingly whether a person lose his temporalities, or his good name, or anything else of the kind, for Christ’s sake, he does not for that reason become a martyr, nor merit the aureole. Nor is it possible to love ordinately external things more than one’s body; and inordinate love does not help one to merit an aureole: nor again can sorrow for the loss of corporeal things be equal to the sorrow for the slaying of the body and other like things [*Cf. SS, Q, A].
Reply to Objection 9: The sufficient motive for martyrdom is not only confession of the faith, but any other virtue, not civic but infused, that has Christ for its end. For one becomes a witness of Christ by any virtuous act, inasmuch as the works which Christ perfects in us bear witness to His goodness. Hence some virgins were slain for virginity which they desired to keep, for instance blessed Agnes and others whose martyrdom is celebrated by the Church.
Reply to Objection 10: The truth of faith has Christ for end and object; and therefore the confession thereof, if suffering be added thereto, merits an aureole, not only on the part of the end but also on the part of the matter. But the confession of any other truth is not a sufficient motive for martyrdom by reason of its matter, but only on the part of the end; for instance if a person were willing to be slain for Christ’s sake rather than sin against Him by telling any lie whatever.
Reply to Objection 11: The uncreated good surpasses all created good. Hence any created end, whether it be the common or a private good, cannot confer so great a goodness on an act as can the uncreated end, when, to wit, an act is done for God’s sake. Hence when a person dies for the common good without referring it to Christ, he will not merit the aureole; but if he refer it to Christ he will merit the aureole and he will be a martyr; for instance, if he defend his country from the attack of an enemy who designs to corrupt the faith of Christ, and suffer death in that defense.
Reply to Objection 12: Some say that the use of reason was by the Divine power accelerated in the Innocents slain for Christ’s sake, even as in John the Baptist while yet in his mother’s womb: and in that case they were truly martyrs in both act and will, and have the aureole. others say, however, that they were martyrs in act only and not in will: and this seems to be the opinion of Bernard, who distinguishes three kinds of martyrs, as stated above (OBJ 3). In this case the Innocents, even as they do not fulfill all the conditions of martyrdom, and yet are martyrs in a sense, in that they died for Christ, so too they have the aureole, not in all its perfection, but by a kind of participation, in so far as they rejoice in having. been slain in Christ’s service; thus it was stated above (A) in reference to baptized children, that they will have a certain joy in their innocence and carnal integrity [*Cf. SS, Q, A, ad 1, where St. Thomas declares that the Holy Innocents were truly martyrs.]
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is not due to doctors. For every reward to be had in the life to come will correspond to some act of virtue. But preaching or teaching is not the act of a virtue. Therefore an aureole is not due to teaching or preaching.
Objection 2: Further, teaching and preaching are the result of studying and being taught. Now the things that are rewarded in the future life are not acquired by a man’s study, since we merit not by our natural and acquired gifts. Therefore no aureole will be merited in the future life for teaching and preaching.
Objection 3: Further, exaltation in the life to come corresponds to humiliation in the present life, because “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Mat. 23:12). But there is no humiliation in teaching and preaching, in fact they are occasions of pride; for a gloss on Mat. 4:5, “Then the devil took Him up,” says that “the devil deceives many who are puffed up with the honor of the master’s chair.” Therefore it would seem that an aureole is not due to preaching and teaching.
On the contrary, A gloss on Eph. 1:18,19, “That you may know . . . what is the exceeding greatness,” etc. says: “The holy doctors will have an increase of glory above that which all have in common.” Therefore, etc.
Further, a gloss on Canticle of Canticles 8:12, “My vineyard is before me,” says: “He describes the peculiar reward which He has prepared for His doctors.” Therefore doctors will have a peculiar reward: and we call this an aureole.
I answer that, Just as by virginity and martyrdom a person wins a most perfect victory over the flesh and the world, so is a most perfect victory gained over the devil, when a person not only refuses to yield to the devil’s assaults, but also drives him out, not from himself alone, but from others also. Now this is done by preaching and teaching: wherefore an aureole is due to preaching and teaching, even as to virginity and martyrdom. Nor can we admit, as some affirm, that it is due to prelates only, who are competent to preach and teach by virtue of their office. but it is due to all whosoever exercise this act lawfully. Nor is it due to prelates, although they have the office of preaching, unless they actually preach, since a crown is due not to the habit, but to the actual strife, according to 2 Tim. 2:5, “He . . . shall not be [Vulg.: ‘is not’] crowned, except he strive lawfully.”
Reply to Objection 1: Preaching and teaching are acts of a virtue, namely mercy, wherefore they are reckoned among the spiritual alms deeds [*Cf. SS, Q, A].
Reply to Objection 2: Although ability to preach and teach is sometimes the outcome of study, the practice of teaching comes from the will, which is informed with charity infused by God: and thus its act can be meritorious.
Reply to Objection 3: Exaltation in this life does not lessen the reward of the other life, except for him who seeks his own glory from that exaltation: whereas he who turns that exaltation to the profit of others acquires thereby a reward for himself. Still, when it is stated that an aureole is due to teaching, this is to be understood of the teaching of things pertaining to salvation, by which teaching the devil is expelled from men’s hearts, as by a kind of spiritual weapon, of which it is said (2 Cor. 10:4): “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual” [Vulg.: ‘but mighty to God’].
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is due to Christ. For an aureole is due to virginity, martyrdom, and teaching. Now these three were pre-eminently in Christ. Therefore an aureole is especially due to Him.
Objection 2: Further, whatever is most perfect in human things must ne especially ascribed to Christ. Now an aureole is due as the reward of most excellent merits. Therefore it is also due to Christ.
Objection 3: Further, Cyprian says (De Habit. Virg.) that “virginity bears a likeness to God.” Therefore the exemplar of virginity is in God. Therefore it would seem that an aureole is due to Christ even as God.
On the contrary, An aureole is described as “joy in being conformed to Christ.” Now no one is conformed or likened to himself, as the Philosopher says (Metaph., lib. ix, 3). Therefore an aureole is not due to Christ.
Further, Christ’s reward was never increased. Now Christ had no aureole from the moment of His conception, since then He had never fought. Therefore He never had an aureole afterwards.
I answer that, There are two opinions on this point. For some say that Christ has an aureole in its strict sense, seeing that in Him there is both conflict and victory, and consequently a crown in its proper acceptation. But if we consider the question carefully, although the notion of aurea or crown is becoming to Christ, the notion of aureole is not. For from the very fact that aureole is a diminutive term it follows that it denotes something possessed by participation and not in its fulness. Wherefore an aureole is becoming to those who participate in the perfect victory by imitating Him in Whom the fulness of perfect victory is realized. And therefore, since in Christ the notion of victory is found chiefly and fully, for by His victory others are made victors—as shown by the words of Jn. 16:33, “Have confidence, I have overcome the world,” and Apoc. 5:5, “Behold the lion of the tribe of Juda . . . hath prevailed”—it is not becoming for Christ to have an aureole, but to have something from which all aureoles are derived. Hence it is written (Apoc. 3:21): “To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with Me in My throne, as I also have overcome, and am set down in My Father’s throne [Vulg.: ‘With My Father in His throne’].” Therefore we must say with others that although there is nothing of the nature of an aureole in Christ, there is nevertheless something more excellent than any aureole.
Reply to Objection 1: Christ was most truly virgin, martyr, and doctor; yet the corresponding accidental reward in Christ is a negligible quantity in comparison with the greatness of His essential reward. Hence He has not an aureole in its proper sense.
Reply to Objection 2: Although the aureole is due to a most perfect work, yet with regard to us, so far as it is a diminutive term, it denotes the participation of a perfection derived from one in whom that perfection is found in its fulness. Accordingly it implies a certain inferiority, and thus it is not found in Christ in Whom is the fulness of every perfection.
Reply to Objection 3: Although in some way virginity has its exemplar in God, that exemplar is not homogeneous. For the incorruption of God, which virginity imitates is not in God in the same way as in a virgin.
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is due to the angels. For Jerome (Serm. de Assump. [*Ep. ad Paul. et Eustoch. ix]) speaking of virginity says: “To live without the flesh while living in the flesh is to live as an angel rather than as a man”: and a gloss on 1 Cor. 7:26, “For the present necessity,” says that “virginity is the portion of the angels.” Since then an aureole corresponds to virginity, it would seem due to the angels.
Objection 2: Further, incorruption of the spirit is more excellent than incorruption of the flesh. Now there is incorruption of spirit in the angels, since they never sinned. Therefore an aureole is due to them rather than to men incorrupt in the flesh and who have sinned at some time.
Objection 3: Further, an aureole is due to teaching. Now angels teach us by cleansing, enlightening, and perfecting [*Cf. FP, Q, A] us, as Dionysius says (Hier. Eccles. vi). Therefore at least the aureole of doctors is due to them.
On the contrary, It is written (2 Tim. 2:5): “He . . . shall not be [Vulg.: ‘is not’] crowned, except he strive lawfully.” But there is no conflict in the angels. Therefore an aureole is not due to them.
Further, an aureole is not due to an act that is not performed through the body: wherefore it is not due to lovers of virginity, martyrdom or teaching, if they do not practice them outwardly. But angels are incorporeal spirits. Therefore they have no aureole.
I answer that, An aureole is not due to the angels. The reason of this is that an aureole, properly speaking, corresponds to some perfection of surpassing merit. Now those things which make for perfect merit in man are connatural to angels, or belong to their state in general, or to their essential reward. Wherefore the angels have not an aureole in the same sense as an aureole is due to men.
Reply to Objection 1: Virginity is said to be an angelic life, in so far as virgins imitate by grace what angels have by nature. For it is not owing to a virtue that angels abstain altogether from pleasures of the flesh, since they are incapable of such pleasures.
Reply to Objection 2: Perpetual incorruption of the spirit in the angels merits their essential reward: because it is necessary for their salvation, since in them recovery is impossible after they have fallen [*Cf. FP, Q, A].
Reply to Objection 3: The acts whereby the angels teach us belong to their glory and their common state: wherefore they do not merit an aureole thereby.
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is also due to the body. For the essential reward is greater than the accidental. But the dowries which belong to the essential reward are not only in the soul but also in the body. Therefore there is also an aureole which pertains to the accidental reward.
Objection 2: Further, punishment in soul and body corresponds to sin committed through the body. Therefore a reward both in soul and in body is due to merit gained through the body. But the aureole is merited through works of the body. Therefore an aureole is also due to the body.
Objection 3: Further, a certain fulness of virtue will shine forth in the bodies of martyrs, and will be seen in their bodily scars: wherefore Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xxii): “We feel an undescribable love for the blessed martyrs so as to desire to see in that kingdom the scars of the wounds in their bodies, which they bore for Christ’s name. Perchance indeed we shall see them, for this will not make them less comely, but more glorious. A certain beauty will shine in them, a beauty, though in the body, yet not of the body but of virtue.” Therefore it would seem that the martyr’s aureole is also in his body; and in like manner the aureoles of others.
On the contrary, The souls now in heaven have aureoles; and yet they have no body. Therefore the proper subject of an aureole is the soul and not the body.
Further, all merit is from the soul. Therefore the whole reward should be in the soul.
I answer that, Properly speaking the aureole is in the mind: since it is joy in the works to which an aureole is due. But even as from the joy in the essential reward, which is the aurea, there results a certain comeliness in the body, which is the glory of the body, so from the joy in the aureole there results a certain bodily comeliness: so that the aureole is chiefly in the mind, but by a kind of overflow it shines forth in the body.
This suffices for the Replies to the Objections. It must be observed, however, that the beauty of the scars which will appear in the bodies of the martyrs cannot be called an aureole, since some of the martyrs will have an aureole in which such scars will not appear, for instance those who were put to death by drowning, starvation, or the squalor of prison.
Objection 1: It would seem that the three aureoles of virgins, martyrs, and doctors are unfittingly assigned. For the aureole of martyrs corresponds to their virtue of fortitude, the aureole of virgins to the virtue of temperance, and the aureole of doctors to the virtue of prudence. Therefore it seems that there should be a fourth aureole corresponding to the virtue of justice.
Objection 2: Further, a gloss on Ex. 25:25: “A polished crown, etc. says that a golden [aurea] crown is added, when the Gospel promises eternal life to those who keep the commandments: ‘If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments’ (Mat. 19:17). To this is added the little golden crown [aureola] when it is said: ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor’” (Mat. 19:21). Therefore an aureole is due to poverty.
Objection 3: Further, a man subjects himself wholly to God by the vow of obedience: wherefore the greatest perfection consists in the vow of obedience. Therefore it would seem that an aureole is due thereto.
Objection 4: Further, there are also many other works of supererogation in which one will rejoice in the life to come. Therefore there are many aureoles besides the aforesaid three.
Objection 5: Further, just as a man spreads the faith by preaching and teaching, so does he by publishing written works. Therefore a fourth aureole is due to those who do this.
I answer that, An aureole is an exceptional reward corresponding to an exceptional victory: wherefore the three aureoles are assigned in accordance with the exceptional victories in the three conflicts which beset every man. For in the conflict with the flesh, he above all wins the victory who abstains altogether from sexual pleasures which are the chief of this kind; and such is a virgin. Wherefore an aureole is due to virginity. In the conflict with the world, the chief victory is to suffer the world’s persecution even until death: wherefore the second aureole is due to martyrs who win the victory in this battle. In the conflict with the devil, the chief victory is to expel the enemy not only from oneself but also from the hearts of others: this is done by teaching and preaching, and consequently the third aureole is due to doctors and preachers.
Some, however, distinguish the three aureoles in accordance with the three powers of the soul, by saying that the three aureoles correspond to the three chief acts of the soul’s three highest powers. For the act of the rational power is to publish the truth of faith even to others, and to this act the aureole of doctors is due: the highest act of the irascible power is to overcome even death for Christ’s sake, and to this act the aureole of martyrs is due: and the highest act of the concupiscible power is to abstain altogether from the greatest carnal pleasures, and to this act the aureole of virgins is due.
Others again, distinguish the three aureoles in accordance with those things whereby we are most signally conformed to Christ. For He was the mediator between the Father and the world. Hence He was a doctor, by manifesting to the world the truth which He had received from the Father; He was a martyr, by suffering the persecution of the world; and He was a virgin, by His personal purity. Wherefore doctors, martyrs and virgins are most perfectly conformed to Him: and for this reason an aureole is due to them.
Reply to Objection 1: There is no conflict to be observed in the act of justice as in the acts of the other virtues. Nor is it true that to teach is an act of prudence: in fact rather is it an act of charity or mercy—inasmuch as it is by such like habits that we are inclined to the practice of such an act—or again of wisdom, as directing it.
We may also reply, with others, that justice embraces all the virtues, wherefore a special aureole is not due to it.
Reply to Objection 2: Although poverty is a work of perfection, it does not take the highest place in a spiritual conflict, because the love of temporalities assails a man less than carnal concupiscence or persecution whereby his own body is broken. Hence an aureole is not due to poverty; but judicial power by reason of the humiliation consequent upon poverty. The gloss quoted takes aureole in the broad sense for any reward given for excellent merit.
We reply in the same way to the Third and Fourth Objections.
Reply to Objection 5: An aureole is due to those who commit the sacred doctrine to writing: but it is not distinct from the aureole of doctors, since the compiling of writing is a way of teaching.
Objection 1: It would seem that the virgin’s aureole is the greatest of all. For it is said of virgins (Apoc. 14:4) that they “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth,” and (Apoc. 14:3) that “no” other “man could say the canticle” which the virgins sang. Therefore virgins have the most excellent aureole.
Objection 2: Further, Cyprian (De Habit. Virg.) says of virgins that they are “the more illustrious portion of Christ’s flock.” Therefore the greater aureole is due to them.
Objection 3: Again, it would seem that the martyr’s aureole is the greatest. For Aymo, commenting on Apoc. 14:3, “No man could say the hymn,” says that “virgins do not all take precedence of married folk; but only those who in addition to the observance of virginity are by the tortures of their passion on a par with married persons who have suffered martyrdom.” Therefore martyrdom gives virginity its precedence over other states: and consequently a greater aureole is due to virginity.
Objection 4: Again, it would seem that the greatest aureole is due to doctors. Because the Church militant is modelled after the Church triumphant. Now in the Church militant the greatest honor is due to doctors (1 Tim. 5:17): “Let the priests that rule well be esteemed worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” Therefore a greater aureole is due to them in the Church triumphant.
I answer that, Precedence of one aureole over another may be considered from two standpoints. First, from the point of view of the conflicts, that aureole being considered greater which is due to the more strenuous battle. Looking at it thus the martyr’s aureole takes precedence of the others in one way, and the virgin’s in another. For the martyr’s battle is more strenuous in itself, and more intensely painful; while the conflict with the flesh is fraught with greater danger, inasmuch as it is more lasting and threatens us at closer quarters. Secondly, from the point of view of the things about which the battle is fought: and thus the doctor’s aureole takes precedence of all others, since this conflict is about intelligible goods. while the other conflicts are about sensible passions. Nevertheless, the precedence that is considered in view of the conflict is more essential to the aureole; since the aureole, according to its proper character, regards the victory and the battle, and the difficulty of fighting which is viewed from the standpoint of the battle is of greater importance than that which is considered from our standpoint through the conflict being at closer quarters. Therefore the martyr’s aureole is simply the greatest of all: for which reason a gloss on Mat. 5:10, says that “all the other beatitudes are perfected in the eighth, which refers to the martyrs,” namely, “Blessed are they that suffer persecution.” For this reason, too, the Church in enumerating the saints together places the martyrs before the doctors and virgins. Yet nothing hinders the other aureoles from being more excellent in some particular way. And this suffices for the Replies to the Objections.
Objection 1: It would seem that one person has not the aureole either of virginity, or of martyrdom, or of doctrine more perfectly than another person. For things which have reached their term are not subject to intension or remission. Now the aureole is due to works which have reached their term of perfection. Therefore an aureole is not subject to intension or remission.
Objection 2: Further, virginity is not subject to being more or less, since it denotes a kind of privation; and privations are not subject to intension or remission. Therefore neither does the reward of virginity, the virgin’s aureole to wit, receive intension or remission.
On the contrary, The aureole is added to the aurea. But the aurea is more intense in one than in another. Therefore the aureole is also.
I answer that, Since merit is somewhat the cause of reward, rewards must needs be diversified, according as merits are diversified: for the intension or remission of a thing follows from the intension or remission of its cause. Now the merit of the aureole may be greater or lesser: wherefore the aureole may also be greater or lesser.
We must observe, however, that the merit of an aureole may be intensified in two ways: first, on the part of its cause, secondly on the part of the work. For there may happen to be two persons, one of whom, out of lesser charity, suffers greater torments of martyrdom, or is more constant in preaching, or again withdraws himself more from carnal pleasures. Accordingly, intension not of the aureole but of the aurea corresponds to the intension of merit derived from its root; while intension of the aureole corresponds to intension of merit derived from the kind of act. Consequently it is possible for one who merits less in martyrdom as to his essential reward, to receive a greater aureole for his martyrdom.
Reply to Objection 1: The merits to which an aureole is due do not reach the term of their perfection simply, but according to their species: even as fire is specifically the most subtle of bodies. Hence nothing hinders one aureole being more excellent than another, even as one fire is more subtle than another.
Reply to Objection 2: The virginity of one may be greater than the virginity of another, by reason of a greater withdrawal from that which is contrary to virginity: so that virginity is stated to be greater in one who avoids more the occasions of corruption. For in this way privations may increase, as when a man is said to be more blind, if he be removed further from the possession of sight.
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