Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XXXIX.: OF THE GOOD AND EVIL OF SORROW OR PAIN. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
Return to Title Page for Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
QUESTION XXXIX.: OF THE GOOD AND EVIL OF SORROW OR PAIN. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
OF THE GOOD AND EVIL OF SORROW OR PAIN.
Article I.—Is all sorrow evil?
R. A thing may be good or evil in two ways: in one way absolutely and by itself, and so all sorrow is a certain evil: for the mere fact of the appetite being uneasy at the presence of evil has a character of evil, since it is a hindrance to the repose of the appetite in good. In another way a thing is said to be good or evil on the supposition of something else: as shame is termed good on the supposition of a shameful deed done. So then, supposing something apt to sadden or give pain, it is a point of goodness that one should be in sorrow or pain about the evil that is present: for the absence of sorrow or pain then could only arise either from insensibility or from not reckoning the thing to be aught against oneself; and both of these conditions are manifestly evil.
Article II.—Can sorrow be a virtuous good?
R. From the point of view in which sorrow is good, it may be a virtuous good. Sorrow is good in point of its being a recognition of and shrinking from evil. These two elements in bodily pain attest the goodness of nature, from whence it comes that sense feels and nature shuns the hurtful agent which causes pain. Again, in interior sorrow the recognition of evil is sometimes the act of a right judgment of reason, and the shrinking from evil is the act of a will well disposed and detesting evil. But all virtuous good proceeds from these two sources, rectitude of reason and of will. Hence it is manifest that sorrow may have the character of virtuous good.
§ 3. Some things happen which do not come about by God’s will, but by God’s permission, as sins; hence a will going against sin, as existent in self or in another, is not out of agreement with the will of God. But penal evils come to be in the present, even by the will of God. Yet it is not requisite to the rectitude of man’s will that he should will those things in themselves, but only that he should not gainsay the order of divine justice.
Article IV.—Is bodily pain the extreme of evils?
R. It cannot be that any sorrow or pain is the extreme evil of man. For every sorrow or pain is either at some real evil, or at some apparent evil which is really good. Now, no pain or sorrow at real evil can possibly be the extreme of evils: for there is something worse than that, namely, either not to take that for evil which is really evil, or not to reject it. Again, sorrow or pain at what is apparently evil, but is really good, cannot be the extreme of evils, because it would be worse to be altogether estranged from real good. Hence it is impossible for any sorrow or pain to be the extreme evil of man.