Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION LV.: OF THE PRUDENCE OF THE FLESH. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
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QUESTION LV.: OF THE PRUDENCE OF THE FLESH. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2) 
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).
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OF THE PRUDENCE OF THE FLESH.
Article I.—Is the prudence of the flesh a sin?
R. Prudence is conversant with those things that make for the end and aim of our whole life. And therefore that conduct is properly called prudence of the flesh, whereby one takes the goods of the flesh for the ultimate end of his life. Manifestly this is a sin: for hereby man is set in disorder with respect to his last end, which does not consist in the goods of the body.
§ 2. The flesh is for the soul, as the matter for the form, and the instrument for the principal agent. And therefore the flesh is lawfully loved, so that it be directed to the good of the soul as to its end. But if the last end is set up in the mere good of the flesh, the love will be inordinate and unlawful.
Article VI.—Is it lawful to entertain solicitude for temporal things?
R. Solicitude implies an earnestness of effort applied to the gaining of a purpose. Clearly a greater earnestness of effort is applied where there is fear of a failure: and where there is secure confidence of success, less solicitude comes in. Thus then solicitude for temporal things may be unlawful in three ways. In one way, on the part of the object of our solicitude, if we seek temporal things as our final goal. In another way, by an excessive amount of pains bestowed upon obtaining temporal goods, whereby a man is withdrawn from spiritual things, to which he ought by preference to devote himself. In a third way, by an excess of fear, when a man fears that by his doing what he ought to do the necessaries of life may come to fail him.
§ 1. Temporal goods are subject to man that he may use them for his necessity, not that he may set up his rest in them, or be idly solicitous about them.
Article VII.—Ought one to be solicitous about the future?
R. No work can be virtuous unless it be clothed in due circumstances, one of which is due time, according to the text: “There is a time and opportunity for every business;”1 which saying obtains, not only for outward works, but also for inward solicitude. For every time has it own befitting solicitude, as summer brings the solicitude of reaping, and autumn the solicitude of gathering in the fruit. Any one that in summer-time was already solicitous about gathering in the fruit, would be idly anticipating the solicitude of time to come. Hence our Lord forbids such solicitude as idle, saying: “Be not solicitous for to-morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself;”2 that is, will have its own proper solicitude, which will be sufficient to afflict the soul. And this is the meaning of the addition: “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof;” that is, the affliction of solicitude which it brings.
§ 1. The ant has a solicitude suitable to the season; and this is what is proposed to us for imitation.1
[1 ]Eccles. viii. 6.
[2 ]St. Matt. vii. 34.
[1 ]Prov. vi. 6—8.