QUESTION 4 OF THOSE THINGS THAT ARE REQUIRED FOR HAPPINESS
(In Eight Articles)
We have now to consider those things that are required for happiness: and concerning this there are eight points of inquiry:
(1) Whether delight is required for happiness?
(2) Which is of greater account in happiness, delight or vision?
(3) Whether comprehension is required?
(4) Whether rectitude of the will is required?
(5) Whether the body is necessary for man’s happiness?
(6) Whether any perfection of the body is necessary?
(7) Whether any external goods are necessary?
(8) Whether the fellowship of friends is necessary?
FIRST ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 4, Art. 1]
Whether Delight Is Required for Happiness?
Objection 1: It would seem that delight is not required for happiness. For Augustine says (De Trin. i, 8) that “vision is the entire reward of faith.” But the prize or reward of virtue is happiness, as the Philosopher clearly states (Ethic. i, 9). Therefore nothing besides vision is required for happiness.
Obj. 2: Further, happiness is “the most self-sufficient of all goods,” as the Philosopher declares (Ethic. i, 7). But that which needs something else is not self-sufficient. Since then the essence of happiness consists in seeing God, as stated above (Q. 3, A. 8); it seems that delight is not necessary for happiness.
Obj. 3: Further, the “operation of bliss or happiness should be unhindered” (Ethic. vii, 13). But delight hinders the operation of the intellect: since it destroys the estimate of prudence (Ethic. vi, 5). Therefore delight is not necessary for happiness.
On the contrary, Augustine says (Confess. x, 23) that happiness is “joy in truth.”
I answer that, One thing may be necessary for another in four ways. First, as a preamble and preparation to it: thus instruction is necessary for science. Secondly, as perfecting it: thus the soul is necessary for the life of the body. Thirdly, as helping it from without: thus friends are necessary for some undertaking. Fourthly, as something attendant on it: thus we might say that heat is necessary for fire. And in this way delight is necessary for happiness. For it is caused by the appetite being at rest in the good attained. Wherefore, since happiness is nothing else but the attainment of the Sovereign Good, it cannot be without concomitant delight.
Reply Obj. 1: From the very fact that a reward is given to anyone, the will of him who deserves it is at rest, and in this consists delight. Consequently, delight is included in the very notion of reward.
Reply Obj. 2: The very sight of God causes delight. Consequently, he who sees God cannot need delight.
Reply Obj. 3: Delight that is attendant upon the operation of the intellect does not hinder it, rather does it perfect it, as stated in Ethic. x, 4: since what we do with delight, we do with greater care and perseverance. On the other hand, delight which is extraneous to the operation is a hindrance thereto: sometimes by distracting the attention because, as already observed, we are more attentive to those things that delight us; and when we are very attentive to one thing, we must needs be less attentive to another: sometimes on account of opposition; thus a sensual delight that is contrary to reason, hinders the estimate of prudence more than it hinders the estimate of the speculative intellect.
SECOND ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 4, Art. 2]
Whether in Happiness Vision Ranks Before Delight?
Objection 1: It would seem that in happiness, delight ranks before vision. For “delight is the perfection of operation” (Ethic. x, 4). But perfection ranks before the thing perfected. Therefore delight ranks before the operation of the intellect, i.e. vision.
Obj. 2: Further, that by reason of which a thing is desirable, is yet more desirable. But operations are desired on account of the delight they afford: hence, too, nature has adjusted delight to those operations which are necessary for the preservation of the individual and of the species, lest animals should disregard such operations. Therefore, in happiness, delight ranks before the operation of the intellect, which is vision.
Obj. 3: Further, vision corresponds to faith; while delight or enjoyment corresponds to charity. But charity ranks before faith, as the Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:13). Therefore delight or enjoyment ranks before vision.
On the contrary, The cause is greater than its effect. But vision is the cause of delight. Therefore vision ranks before delight.
I answer that, The Philosopher discusses this question (Ethic. x, 4), and leaves it unsolved. But if one consider the matter carefully, the operation of the intellect which is vision, must needs rank before delight. For delight consists in a certain repose of the will. Now that the will finds rest in anything, can only be on account of the goodness of that thing in which it reposes. If therefore the will reposes in an operation, the will’s repose is caused by the goodness of the operation. Nor does the will seek good for the sake of repose; for thus the very act of the will would be the end, which has been disproved above (Q. 1, A. 1, ad 2;Q. 3, A. 4): but it seeks to be at rest in the operation, because that operation is its good. Consequently it is evident that the operation in which the will reposes ranks before the resting of the will therein.
Reply Obj. 1: As the Philosopher says (Ethic. x, 4) “delight perfects operation as vigor perfects youth,” because it is a result of youth. Consequently delight is a perfection attendant upon vision; but not a perfection whereby vision is made perfect in its own species.
Reply Obj. 2: The apprehension of the senses does not attain to the universal good, but to some particular good which is delightful. And consequently, according to the sensitive appetite which is in animals, operations are sought for the sake of delight. But the intellect apprehends the universal good, the attainment of which results in delight: wherefore its purpose is directed to good rather than to delight. Hence it is that the Divine intellect, which is the Author of nature, adjusted delights to operations on account of the operations. And we should form our estimate of things not simply according to the order of the sensitive appetite, but rather according to the order of the intellectual appetite.
Reply Obj. 3: Charity does not seek the beloved good for the sake of delight: it is for charity a consequence that it delights in the good gained which it loves. Thus delight does not answer to charity as its end, but vision does, whereby the end is first made present to charity.
THIRD ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 4, Art. 3]
Whether Comprehension Is Necessary for Happiness?
Objection 1: It would seem that comprehension is not necessary for happiness. For Augustine says (Ad Paulinam de Videndo Deum; [*Cf. Serm. xxxciii De Verb. Dom.]): “To reach God with the mind is happiness, to comprehend Him is impossible.” Therefore happiness is without comprehension.
Obj. 2: Further, happiness is the perfection of man as to his intellective part, wherein there are no other powers than the intellect and will, as stated in the First Part (QQ. 79 and following). But the intellect is sufficiently perfected by seeing God, and the will by enjoying Him. Therefore there is no need for comprehension as a third.
Obj. 3: Further, happiness consists in an operation. But operations are determined by their objects: and there are two universal objects, the true and the good: of which the true corresponds to vision, and good to delight. Therefore there is no need for comprehension as a third.
On the contrary, The Apostle says (1 Cor. 9:24): “So run that you may comprehend [Douay: ‘obtain’].” But happiness is the goal of the spiritual race: hence he says (2 Tim. 4:7, 8): “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; as to the rest there is laid up for me a crown of justice.” Therefore comprehension is necessary for Happiness.
I answer that, Since Happiness consists in gaining the last end, those things that are required for Happiness must be gathered from the way in which man is ordered to an end. Now man is ordered to an intelligible end partly through his intellect, and partly through his will: through his intellect, in so far as a certain imperfect knowledge of the end pre-exists in the intellect: through the will, first by love which is the will’s first movement towards anything; secondly, by a real relation of the lover to the thing beloved, which relation may be threefold. For sometimes the thing beloved is present to the lover: and then it is no longer sought for. Sometimes it is not present, and it is impossible to attain it: and then, too, it is not sought for. But sometimes it is possible to attain it, yet it is raised above the capability of the attainer, so that he cannot have it forthwith; and this is the relation of one that hopes, to that which he hopes for, and this relation alone causes a search for the end. To these three, there are a corresponding three in Happiness itself. For perfect knowledge of the end corresponds to imperfect knowledge; presence of the end corresponds to the relation of hope; but delight in the end now present results from love, as already stated (A. 2, ad 3). And therefore these three must concur with Happiness; to wit, vision, which is perfect knowledge of the intelligible end; comprehension, which implies presence of the end; and delight or enjoyment, which implies repose of the lover in the object beloved.
Reply Obj. 1: Comprehension is twofold. First, inclusion of the comprehended in the comprehensor; and thus whatever is comprehended by the finite, is itself finite. Wherefore God cannot be thus comprehended by a created intellect. Secondly, comprehension means nothing but the holding of something already present and possessed: thus one who runs after another is said to comprehend [*In English we should say ‘catch.’] him when he lays hold on him. And in this sense comprehension is necessary for Happiness.
Reply Obj. 2: Just as hope and love pertain to the will, because it is the same one that loves a thing, and that tends towards it while not possessed, so, too, comprehension and delight belong to the will, since it is the same that possesses a thing and reposes therein.
Reply Obj. 3: Comprehension is not a distinct operation from vision; but a certain relation to the end already gained. Wherefore even vision itself, or the thing seen, inasmuch as it is present, is the object of comprehension.
FOURTH ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 4, Art. 4]
Whether Rectitude of the Will Is Necessary for Happiness?
Objection 1: It would seem that rectitude of the will is not necessary for Happiness. For Happiness consists essentially in an operation of the intellect, as stated above (Q. 3, A. 4). But rectitude of the will, by reason of which men are said to be clean of heart, is not necessary for the perfect operation of the intellect: for Augustine says (Retract. i, 4) “I do not approve of what I said in a prayer: O God, Who didst will none but the clean of heart to know the truth. For it can be answered that many who are not clean of heart, know many truths.” Therefore rectitude of the will is not necessary for Happiness.
Obj. 2: Further, what precedes does not depend on what follows. But the operation of the intellect precedes the operation of the will. Therefore Happiness, which is the perfect operation of the intellect, does not depend on rectitude of the will.
Obj. 3: Further, that which is ordained to another as its end, is not necessary, when the end is already gained; as a ship, for instance, after arrival in port. But rectitude of will, which is by reason of virtue, is ordained to Happiness as to its end. Therefore, Happiness once obtained, rectitude of the will is no longer necessary.
On the contrary, It is written (Matt. 5:8): “Blessed are the clean of heart; for they shall see God”: and (Heb. 12:14): “Follow peace with all men, and holiness; without which no man shall see God.”
I answer that, Rectitude of will is necessary for Happiness both antecedently and concomitantly. Antecedently, because rectitude of the will consists in being duly ordered to the last end. Now the end in comparison to what is ordained to the end is as form compared to matter. Wherefore, just as matter cannot receive a form, unless it be duly disposed thereto, so nothing gains an end, except it be duly ordained thereto. And therefore none can obtain Happiness, without rectitude of the will. Concomitantly, because as stated above (Q. 3, A. 8), final Happiness consists in the vision of the Divine Essence, Which is the very essence of goodness. So that the will of him who sees the Essence of God, of necessity, loves, whatever he loves, in subordination to God; just as the will of him who sees not God’s Essence, of necessity, loves whatever he loves, under the common notion of good which he knows. And this is precisely what makes the will right. Wherefore it is evident that Happiness cannot be without a right will.
[Reply Obj. 1: Augustine is speaking of knowledge of truth that is not the essence of goodness itself.]
Reply Obj. 2: Every act of the will is preceded by an act of the intellect: but a certain act of the will precedes a certain act of the intellect. For the will tends to the final act of the intellect which is happiness. And consequently right inclination of the will is required antecedently for happiness, just as the arrow must take a right course in order to strike the target.
Reply Obj. 3: Not everything that is ordained to the end, ceases with the getting of the end: but only that which involves imperfection, such as movement. Hence the instruments of movement are no longer necessary when the end has been gained: but the due order to the end is necessary.
FIFTH ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 4, Art. 5]
Whether the Body Is Necessary for Man’s Happiness?
Objection 1: It would seem that the body is necessary for Happiness. For the perfection of virtue and grace presupposes the perfection of nature. But Happiness is the perfection of virtue and grace. Now the soul, without the body, has not the perfection of nature; since it is naturally a part of human nature, and every part is imperfect while separated from its whole. Therefore the soul cannot be happy without the body.
Obj. 2: Further, Happiness is a perfect operation, as stated above (Q. 3, AA. 2, 5). But perfect operation follows perfect being: since nothing operates except in so far as it is an actual being. Since, therefore, the soul has not perfect being, while it is separated from the body, just as neither has a part, while separate from its whole; it seems that the soul cannot be happy without the body.
Obj. 3: Further, Happiness is the perfection of man. But the soul, without the body, is not man. Therefore Happiness cannot be in the soul separated from the body.
Obj. 4: Further, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vii, 13) “the operation of bliss,” in which operation happiness consists, is “not hindered.” But the operation of the separate soul is hindered; because, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 35), the soul “has a natural desire to rule the body, the result of which is that it is held back, so to speak, from tending with all its might to the heavenward journey,” i.e. to the vision of the Divine Essence. Therefore the soul cannot be happy without the body.
Obj. 5: Further, Happiness is the sufficient good and lulls desire.
But this cannot be said of the separated soul; for it yet desires to
be united to the body, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 35).
Therefore the soul is not happy while separated from the body.
Obj. 6: Further, in Happiness man is equal to the angels. But the soul without the body is not equal to the angels, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 35). Therefore it is not happy.
On the contrary, It is written (Apoc. 14:13): “Happy [Douay: ‘blessed’] are the dead who die in the Lord.”
I answer that, Happiness is twofold; the one is imperfect and is had in this life; the other is perfect, consisting in the vision of God. Now it is evident that the body is necessary for the happiness of this life. For the happiness of this life consists in an operation of the intellect, either speculative or practical. And the operation of the intellect in this life cannot be without a phantasm, which is only in a bodily organ, as was shown in the First Part (Q. 84, AA. 6, 7). Consequently that happiness which can be had in this life, depends, in a way, on the body. But as to perfect Happiness, which consists in the vision of God, some have maintained that it is not possible to the soul separated from the body; and have said that the souls of saints, when separated from their bodies, do not attain to that Happiness until the Day of Judgment, when they will receive their bodies back again. And this is shown to be false, both by authority and by reason. By authority, since the Apostle says (2 Cor. 5:6): “While we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord”; and he points out the reason of this absence, saying: “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” Now from this it is clear that so long as we walk by faith and not by sight, bereft of the vision of the Divine Essence, we are not present to the Lord. But the souls of the saints, separated from their bodies, are in God’s presence; wherefore the text continues: “But we are confident and have a good will to be absent . . . from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Whence it is evident that the souls of the saints, separated from their bodies, “walk by sight,” seeing the Essence of God, wherein is true Happiness.
Again this is made clear by reason. For the intellect needs not the body, for its operation, save on account of the phantasms, wherein it looks on the intelligible truth, as stated in the First Part (Q. 84, A. 7). Now it is evident that the Divine Essence cannot be seen by means of phantasms, as stated in the First Part (Q. 12, A. 3). Wherefore, since man’s perfect Happiness consists in the vision of the Divine Essence, it does not depend on the body. Consequently, without the body the soul can be happy.
We must, however, notice that something may belong to a thing’s perfection in two ways. First, as constituting the essence thereof; thus the soul is necessary for man’s perfection. Secondly, as necessary for its well-being: thus, beauty of body and keenness of perfection belong to man’s perfection. Wherefore though the body does not belong in the first way to the perfection of human Happiness, yet it does in the second way. For since operation depends on a thing’s nature, the more perfect is the soul in its nature, the more perfectly it has its proper operation, wherein its happiness consists. Hence, Augustine, after inquiring (Gen. ad lit. xii, 35) “whether that perfect Happiness can be ascribed to the souls of the dead separated from their bodies,” answers “that they cannot see the Unchangeable Substance, as the blessed angels see It; either for some other more hidden reason, or because they have a natural desire to rule the body.”
Reply Obj. 1: Happiness is the perfection of the soul on the part of the intellect, in respect of which the soul transcends the organs of the body; but not according as the soul is the natural form of the body. Wherefore the soul retains that natural perfection in respect of which happiness is due to it, though it does not retain that natural perfection in respect of which it is the form of the body.
Reply Obj. 2: The relation of the soul to being is not the same as that of other parts: for the being of the whole is not that of any individual part: wherefore, either the part ceases altogether to be, when the whole is destroyed, just as the parts of an animal, when the animal is destroyed; or, if they remain, they have another actual being, just as a part of a line has another being from that of the whole line. But the human soul retains the being of the composite after the destruction of the body: and this because the being of the form is the same as that of its matter, and this is the being of the composite. Now the soul subsists in its own being, as stated in the First Part (Q. 75, A. 2). It follows, therefore, that after being separated from the body it has perfect being and that consequently it can have a perfect operation; although it has not the perfect specific nature.
Reply Obj. 3: Happiness belongs to man in respect of his intellect: and, therefore, since the intellect remains, it can have Happiness. Thus the teeth of an Ethiopian, in respect of which he is said to be white, can retain their whiteness, even after extraction.
Reply Obj. 4: One thing is hindered by another in two ways. First, by way of opposition; thus cold hinders the action of heat: and such a hindrance to operation is repugnant to Happiness. Secondly, by way of some kind of defect, because, to wit, that which is hindered has not all that is necessary to make it perfect in every way: and such a hindrance to operation is not incompatible with Happiness, but prevents it from being perfect in every way. And thus it is that separation from the body is said to hold the soul back from tending with all its might to the vision of the Divine Essence. For the soul desires to enjoy God in such a way that the enjoyment also may overflow into the body, as far as possible. And therefore, as long as it enjoys God, without the fellowship of the body, its appetite is at rest in that which it has, in such a way, that it would still wish the body to attain to its share.
Reply Obj. 5: The desire of the separated soul is entirely at rest, as regards the thing desired; since, to wit, it has that which suffices its appetite. But it is not wholly at rest, as regards the desirer, since it does not possess that good in every way that it would wish to possess it. Consequently, after the body has been resumed, Happiness increases not in intensity, but in extent.
Reply Obj. 6: The statement made (Gen. ad lit. xii, 35) to the effect that “the souls of the departed see not God as the angels do,” is not to be understood as referring to inequality of quantity; because even now some souls of the Blessed are raised to the higher orders of the angels, thus seeing God more clearly than the lower angels. But it refers to inequality of proportion: because the angels, even the lowest, have every perfection of Happiness that they ever will have, whereas the separated souls of the saints have not.
SIXTH ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 4, Art. 6]
Whether Perfection of the Body Is Necessary for Happiness?
Objection 1: It would seem that perfection of the body is not necessary for man’s perfect Happiness. For perfection of the body is a bodily good. But it has been shown above (Q. 2) that Happiness does not consist in bodily goods. Therefore no perfect disposition of the body is necessary for man’s Happiness.
Obj. 2: Further, man’s Happiness consists in the vision of the Divine Essence, as shown above (Q. 3, A. 8). But the body has no part in this operation, as shown above (A. 5). Therefore no disposition of the body is necessary for Happiness.
Obj. 3: Further, the more the intellect is abstracted from the body, the more perfectly it understands. But Happiness consists in the most perfect operation of the intellect. Therefore the soul should be abstracted from the body in every way. Therefore, in no way is a disposition of the body necessary for Happiness.
On the contrary, Happiness is the reward of virtue; wherefore it is written (John 13:17): “You shall be blessed, if you do them.” But the reward promised to the saints is not only that they shall see and enjoy God, but also that their bodies shall be well-disposed; for it is written (Isa. 66:14): “You shall see and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like a herb.” Therefore good disposition of the body is necessary for Happiness.
I answer that, If we speak of that happiness which man can acquire in this life, it is evident that a well-disposed body is of necessity required for it. For this happiness consists, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. i, 13) in “an operation according to perfect virtue”; and it is clear that man can be hindered, by indisposition of the body, from every operation of virtue.
But speaking of perfect Happiness, some have maintained that no disposition of body is necessary for Happiness; indeed, that it is necessary for the soul to be entirely separated from the body. Hence Augustine (De Civ. Dei xxii, 26) quotes the words of Porphyry who said that “for the soul to be happy, it must be severed from everything corporeal.” But this is unreasonable. For since it is natural to the soul to be united to the body; it is not possible for the perfection of the soul to exclude its natural perfection.
Consequently, we must say that perfect disposition of the body is necessary, both antecedently and consequently, for that Happiness which is in all ways perfect. Antecedently, because, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 35), “if the body be such, that the governance thereof is difficult and burdensome, like unto flesh which is corruptible and weighs upon the soul, the mind is turned away from that vision of the highest heaven.” Whence he concludes that, “when this body will no longer be ‘natural,’ but ‘spiritual,’ then will it be equalled to the angels, and that will be its glory, which erstwhile was its burden.” Consequently, because from the Happiness of the soul there will be an overflow on to the body, so that this too will obtain its perfection. Hence Augustine says (Ep. ad Dioscor.) that “God gave the soul such a powerful nature that from its exceeding fulness of happiness the vigor of incorruption overflows into the lower nature.”
Reply Obj. 1: Happiness does not consist in bodily good as its object: but bodily good can add a certain charm and perfection to Happiness.
Reply Obj. 2: Although the body has no part in that operation of the intellect whereby the Essence of God is seen, yet it might prove a hindrance thereto. Consequently, perfection of the body is necessary, lest it hinder the mind from being lifted up.
Reply Obj. 3: The perfect operation of the intellect requires indeed that the intellect be abstracted from this corruptible body which weighs upon the soul; but not from the spiritual body, which will be wholly subject to the spirit. On this point we shall treat in the Third Part of this work (Suppl., Q. 82, seqq.).
SEVENTH ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 4, Art. 7]
Whether Any External Goods Are Necessary for Happiness?
Objection 1: It would seem that external goods also are necessary for Happiness. For that which is promised the saints for reward, belongs to Happiness. But external goods are promised the saints; for instance, food and drink, wealth and a kingdom: for it is said (Luke 22:30): “That you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom”: and (Matt. 6:20): “Lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven”: and (Matt. 25:34): “Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom.” Therefore external goods are necessary for Happiness.
Obj. 2: Further, according to Boethius (De Consol. iii): happiness is “a state made perfect by the aggregate of all good things.” But some of man’s goods are external, although they be of least account, as Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. ii, 19). Therefore they too are necessary for Happiness.
Obj. 3: Further, Our Lord said (Matt. 5:12): “Your reward is very great in heaven.” But to be in heaven implies being in a place. Therefore at least external place is necessary for Happiness.
On the contrary, It is written (Ps. 72:25): “For what have I in heaven? and besides Thee what do I desire upon earth?” As though to say: “I desire nothing but this, “—”It is good for me to adhere to my God.” Therefore nothing further external is necessary for Happiness.
I answer that, For imperfect happiness, such as can be had in this life, external goods are necessary, not as belonging to the essence of happiness, but by serving as instruments to happiness, which consists in an operation of virtue, as stated in Ethic. i, 13. For man needs in this life, the necessaries of the body, both for the operation of contemplative virtue, and for the operation of active virtue, for which latter he needs also many other things by means of which to perform its operations.
On the other hand, such goods as these are nowise necessary for perfect Happiness, which consists in seeing God. The reason of this is that all suchlike external goods are requisite either for the support of the animal body; or for certain operations which belong to human life, which we perform by means of the animal body: whereas that perfect Happiness which consists in seeing God, will be either in the soul separated from the body, or in the soul united to the body then no longer animal but spiritual. Consequently these external goods are nowise necessary for that Happiness, since they are ordained to the animal life. And since, in this life, the felicity of contemplation, as being more Godlike, approaches nearer than that of action to the likeness of that perfect Happiness, therefore it stands in less need of these goods of the body as stated in Ethic. x, 8.
Reply Obj. 1: All those material promises contained in Holy Scripture, are to be understood metaphorically, inasmuch as Scripture is wont to express spiritual things under the form of things corporeal, in order “that from things we know, we may rise to the desire of things unknown,” as Gregory says (Hom. xi in Evang.). Thus food and drink signify the delight of Happiness; wealth, the sufficiency of God for man; the kingdom, the lifting up of man to union of God.
Reply Obj. 2: These goods that serve for the animal life, are incompatible with that spiritual life wherein perfect Happiness consists. Nevertheless in that Happiness there will be the aggregate of all good things, because whatever good there be in these things, we shall possess it all in the Supreme Fount of goodness.
Reply Obj. 3: According to Augustine (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 5), it is not material heaven that is described as the reward of the saints, but a heaven raised on the height of spiritual goods. Nevertheless a bodily place, viz. the empyrean heaven, will be appointed to the Blessed, not as a need of Happiness, but by reason of a certain fitness and adornment.
EIGHTH ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 4, Art. 8]
Whether the Fellowship of Friends Is Necessary for Happiness?
Objection 1: It would seem that friends are necessary for Happiness. For future Happiness is frequently designated by Scripture under the name of “glory.” But glory consists in man’s good being brought to the notice of many. Therefore the fellowship of friends is necessary for Happiness.
Obj. 2: Further, Boethius [*Seneca, Ep. 6] says that “there is no delight in possessing any good whatever, without someone to share it with us.” But delight is necessary for Happiness. Therefore fellowship of friends is also necessary.
Obj. 3: Further, charity is perfected in Happiness. But charity includes the love of God and of our neighbor. Therefore it seems that fellowship of friends is necessary for Happiness.
On the contrary, It is written (Wis. 7:11): “All good things came to me together with her,” i.e. with divine wisdom, which consists in contemplating God. Consequently nothing else is necessary for Happiness.
I answer that, If we speak of the happiness of this life, the happy man needs friends, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 9), not, indeed, to make use of them, since he suffices himself; nor to delight in them, since he possesses perfect delight in the operation of virtue; but for the purpose of a good operation, viz. that he may do good to them; that he may delight in seeing them do good; and again that he may be helped by them in his good work. For in order that man may do well, whether in the works of the active life, or in those of the contemplative life, he needs the fellowship of friends.
But if we speak of perfect Happiness which will be in our heavenly Fatherland, the fellowship of friends is not essential to Happiness; since man has the entire fulness of his perfection in God. But the fellowship of friends conduces to the well-being of Happiness. Hence Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. viii, 25) that “the spiritual creatures receive no other interior aid to happiness than the eternity, truth, and charity of the Creator. But if they can be said to be helped from without, perhaps it is only by this that they see one another and rejoice in God, at their fellowship.”
Reply Obj. 1: That glory which is essential to Happiness, is that which man has, not with man but with God.
Reply Obj. 2: This saying is to be understood of the possession of good that does not fully satisfy. This does not apply to the question under consideration; because man possesses in God a sufficiency of every good.
Reply Obj. 3: Perfection of charity is essential to Happiness, as to the love of God, but not as to the love of our neighbor. Wherefore if there were but one soul enjoying God, it would be happy, though having no neighbor to love. But supposing one neighbor to be there, love of him results from perfect love of God. Consequently, friendship is, as it were, concomitant with perfect Happiness.