Happiness in the Next Life (Part 3)

Continuing from my previous post, the “twofold happiness” expressed by St. Aquinas is a very creative and constructive means to help us better understand what ingredients are needed in this life (philosophical elements) versus those required for the next life (theological elements) to reach happiness.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, attaining happiness in this life requires assistance from the four cardinal (philosophical) virtues: wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice. These natural virtues are held in common by Aristotle, The Stoics, and St. Aquinas (and to some extent by Epicurus) as essential to human happiness in this life.  These same virtues are expressed artistically in the works seen in the galleries of the exposition in my book.

St. Aquinas teaches that attaining happiness in the next life (beatitudo), however, requires assistance from three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.  These three virtues cannot be acquired by human effort.  These virtues are gifts from God.  However, they are not foreign to this life: they are an extension of the virtues required in this life and a further perfection of happiness, only available in the next life.

As such, “twofold happiness” requires the cardinal virtues for happiness in this life and the theological virtues for happiness in the next life.  It is this “twofold” happiness that is the ultimate goal of Western believers.

More to come!

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