Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION CVI.: OF GRATITUDE. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
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QUESTION CVI.: OF GRATITUDE. - 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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Article II.—Is the innocent more bound to render thanks to God than the penitent?
R. Where the favour is greater, there greater gratitude is requisite. But a favour is a favour because it is bestowed gratuitously. Hence there are two ways in which a favour may be greater: in one way from the amount of the thing given; and in this way the innocent is bound to greater return of thanks, because, absolutely speaking, other things being equal, there is given him a greater gift from God, and a more continuous gift. In another way a favour may be said to be greater because it is bestowed more gratuitously; and in this way the penitent is more bound to return thanks than the innocent, because, being as he was worthy of punishment, there is given him grace and favour. And thus, though the gift that is given to the innocent is, absolutely considered, the greater, still the gift that is given to the penitent is greater in reference to him, as a small gift given to a poor man is greater than a great gift to a rich one.
§ 4. “To whom less is forgiven, he loveth less.”1
Article IV.—Ought a benefit received to be requited on the spot?
R. As in the conferring of a benefit there are two things to consider, the affection and the gift, so the same two things are to be considered in returning a benefit. As for the affection, the return should be made immediately: hence Seneca says, “Do you wish to return a benefit? accept it graciously.” But as for the gift, a time should be waited for in which the return may be opportune for the benefactor; but if at an inconvenient time one wishes at once to render service for service, that has not the air of a virtuous, but of an unwilling return. For as Seneca says: “If he seeks to pay too quickly, he owes unwillingly; and he who owes unwillingly, is ungrateful.”
§ 4. “He who is in a hurry to return a kindness, has not the mind of a grateful man, but of a debtor.”1
Article VI.—Ought the return of kindness to exceed the kindness received?
R. The return of kindness has regard to the benefit, as the benefit was in the will of the benefactor. Now in the benefactor this is reckoned specially commendable, that he has gratuitously conferred a benefit to which he was not obliged. And therefore the recipient of the benefit is bound by a debt of moral decency to some similar gratuitous payment. But the payment does not seem to be gratuitous, unless it exceeds the quantity of the benefit received: because so long as the requital is less or equal, it has not the look of a thing gratuitously done, but of a return of something received. And therefore the return of kindness always strives to the best of the person’s ability to give back something greater than has been received.
§ 2. The debt of gratitude is derived from charity; and charity, the more it is paid, the more it is due, according to the text: “Owe no man anything but to love one another.”1 And therefore no harm if the obligation of gratitude is interminable.
[1 ]St. Luke vii. 47.
[1 ]Romans xiii. 8.