Today we talked about Thomas' "Disputed Questions on Virtue." Thomas' conception of virtue is that its purpose it to perfect the powers of the human being. That is, the virtues serve to perfect those things which are natural to us as humans. Virtue should help to direct us to our proper end: union with God realized in the beatific vision.
- Br. Brent
Union with God is the blessed happiness shared with the saints in glory. Imperfect happiness can be attained in this life, but true happiness is union with God.
We spent some time on Sermon 19 in which Aquinas speaks about the nature of happiness on the Feast of All Saints Day. A side note is that in On the Attainment of Happiness (I-II, q. 5) Aquinas explains what perfect happiness is. Happiness that is perfect and sufficiently good meets all desires and is devoid of all evil, the moment one is in union with God. May we look to the looks whom are!
Aquinas' Sermon brought up three types of happiness. One was wordly, the second was political, and the third was contemplative.
-Br. David, Br. Luke, and Br. Ambrose
An interesting topic for research would be St. Thomas' understanding of the difference between the "magisterium of pastors" (read: bishops) and the "magisterium of theologians." Many have the thought that perhaps this was setting up an equality of teaching authority in the Church between those who were ordained to the episcopal office and those who teach in theological institutes. How might we come to understand Aquinas' teaching more clearly today?