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 Post subject: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:33 pm 
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Can good works lead to goodness? Or are good works a result of goodness?


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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:46 pm 
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Good works build up a habit of goodness that makes it easier to do good well.

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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:32 pm 
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I'm not sure i believe that. Or maybe, I just don't think it's true for all persons. I'm inclined to believe that goodness must come first.


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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:18 pm 
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Nathan M. wrote:
I'm not sure i believe that. Or maybe, I just don't think it's true for all persons. I'm inclined to believe that goodness must come first.

Then you are mistaken.

Which comes first, swimming or knowing how to swim?

Is it not that we learn swimming by swimming? Virtue is a habit, a firmly rooted disposition toward doing what is in accordance with right reason. The virtuous person does not merely, e.g., eat moderately, he takes pleasure in that eating, ain in gluttony and his appetite desires what is right. How is that possible? Habituation.

We call a man good without qualification who has those perfections upon his nature that are fitting for that nature. So yeah a bad man can sometimes do a good thing. He is not a good man because he did one good thing. The vicious man's appetites are habituated to what is wrong, and he believes wrongly about what is good. The incontinent man knows better, but does what is wrong. The continent man knows what is right and does it, as going against his appetites. The virtuous man does what is good by second nature. It is this last that is called good simply.

The continent man is like the kid thrown in the pool, not yet a swimmer, but instructed in what he should do and, suppressing his instinct to panic, etc, does it...by doing it it becomes easier and natural. Or like learning to play the piano.

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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:35 pm 
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Ιασων wrote:
Nathan M. wrote:
I'm not sure i believe that. Or maybe, I just don't think it's true for all persons. I'm inclined to believe that goodness must come first.


Is it not that we learn swimming by swimming? Virtue is a habit, a firmly rooted disposition toward doing what is in accordance with right reason. The virtuous person does not merely, e.g., eat moderately, he takes pleasure in that eating, ain in gluttony and his appetite desires what is right. How is that possible? Habituation.


I thought it was possible by Grace.


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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:22 pm 
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Graces does not destroy nature. It perfects it.

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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:40 pm 
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Yea in reading the Catechism I think I found the crux of the issue (for me personally.)

I. THE HUMAN VIRTUES

1804 Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.

The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.

That's my problem, I don't think I can achieve temperance, prudence, justice, and fortitude on my own, by my own effort. I thought these things were given by God.


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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:54 pm 
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That's my problem, I don't think I can achieve temperance, prudence, justice, and fortitude on my own, by my own effort. I thought these things were given by God.
Certainly grace can make their achievement easier, but the crucial point is that you have to be making the effort.

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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:21 pm 
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So would someone saying these things come naturally as a result of Grace be wrong? Again, it seems like it would be different depending on the person.


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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:36 pm 
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A person can do morally good works without any assistance from grace, and doing those good works makes it easier when he does receive grace.

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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:40 pm 
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Nathan M. wrote:
So would someone saying these things come naturally as a result of Grace be wrong? Again, it seems like it would be different depending on the person.

There is a difference between acquired and infused virtues. Having grace makes it easier to acquire virtue, but you can be without acquired virtues and have grace, but you will have the infused virtues.

IOW, if you eat too much and are a glutton, just because you have been absolved of your sins and have sanctifying grace doesn't mean you appetite for food suddenly becomes ordered. One of the remnant of sins that must be fought against are bad habits, both vices and incontinence. The infused virtues make it possible for you to go beyond nature, to say fast for the glory of God. That would be Christian temperance. But that in turn is made easier by the natural virtue of temperance...a glutton who has been sanctified may have the grace to offer fasting up to God, but he will be fighting against not just the good of nature sacrificed, but against his gluttonous urges.

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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:53 pm 
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It makes sense. I'm in discussion with a good friend of mine who believes that the moment, or process, in which you believe you are so loved by a God that created you for the soul purpose of loving you, struggling against sin becomes much easier. Trying to do things to get you to a "place" of goodness isn't necessarily the best way to go about it. Rather than evil being a behavior problem, it's essentially a thinking/spiritual problem. If your thought process or personal spirit are in the wrong way, then it will be nearly impossible for you to be truly good. Is this contrary to Catholic teaching?


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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:38 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
A person can do morally good works without any assistance from grace, and doing those good works makes it easier when he does receive grace.


That depends on what you mean by grace, right?

Quote:
And thus in the state of perfect nature man needs a gratuitous strength superadded to natural strength for one reason, viz. in order to do and wish supernatural good; but for two reasons, in the state of corrupt nature, viz. in order to be healed, and furthermore in order to carry out works of supernatural virtue, which are meritorious. Beyond this, in both states man needs the Divine help, that he may be moved to act well.
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2109.htm#article2


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 Post subject: Re: Goodness and good works.
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:19 pm 
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I don't see how that depends on what you mean by grace. We aren't talking about doing the supernatural good

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