Thomas Aquinas's theory of habitual grace rests on a generically metaphysical account of the faculties of the soul and of the natural and supernatural habits that perfect them. Bernard Lonergan opened up fruitful avenues for rethinking nature, grace, and virtue in a developmental perspective. His intentionality analysis transposes the conception of human nature; the dynamic state of being in love transposes sanctifying grace; the development of skills provides an analogue for virtue; and the role of love in the development, orientation, and transformation of skills provides an analogy for grace as habitual.

Publication: Theological Studies
Author: Wilkins, Jeremy D
Date published: December 1, 2011
Language: English
PMID: 19626
ISSN: 00405639
Journal code: PTHS

GRACE PERFECTS AND ELEVATES NATURE. Of all the doctrines commonly associated with Thomas Aquinas, perhaps none is more generally celebrated than this one. Precisely how it is understood, of course, depends on how one conceives its terms. Thomas based his account partly on a theory of the soul, its faculties, and the habits that perfect them. The differentiation of natural and supernatural orders enabled Mm to specify the gratuity of grace with metaphysical exactitude. The Aristotelian concept of habit provided a ready analogy for the perfection of natural capacities. Aquinas applied this analogy in various ways to conceive sanctifying grace, the theological and cardinal virtues, and the gifts of the Spirit.

Thorough as it is, Aquinas's theory is not without its loose ends. Some complain, for instance, that the relationship between natural (acquired) and supernatural (infused) virtues is obscure. Aquinas asserted that the infused cardinal virtues are specifically different from the acquired virtues of the same name. Scotus objected that infused cardinal virtues would be superfluous; faith and charity suffice to direct and animate moral formation.1 Others wonder about psychological continuity: Does one habit simply replace another when a person falls into mortal sin?2

If some of these difficulties may be attributed to mistaken or incomplete apprehensions on the part of Aquinas's readers, other difficulties may be endemic to his Aristotelian terms of reference. Habit was a metaphysical concept embedded in a metaphysical analysis of the soul and its faculties. Once applied to the problem of grace, these categories generated further questions of their own. Such questions may not all be equally fruitful, and if in its day Aristotelianism represented the apogee of scientific achievement, more promising avenues have since been opened. In making use of Aristotle, Aquinas was himself transposing an earlier, Augustinian problematic of grace into a richer theoretical context. Today, the work of Bernard Lonergan presents a comparable opportunity to transpose the problematic of habitual grace.3

My purpose is neither exegetical nor controversial but systematic. I would understand grace perfecting and elevating nature within the context of a developmental account of human nature and existence. Lonergan's "intentionality analysis" provides the relevant meaning of human nature; I briefly present it in section one. As Lonergan suggested, being-in-love transposes the meaning of sanctifying grace; in section two, I reflect on how love transforms the principles of human development. In section three, I consider the meaning of virtue and the role of love in its development. In section four, I sketch the structure of development itself.


Lonergan called his strategy for understanding the conscious dimensions of human nature "intentionality analysis." "Intentionality" here refers to conscious operations that "intend" objects (looking, listening, wondering, thinking, etc.).4 Intentionality analysis discloses the human subject as a being-in-development and brings to light the structure of that development. Consciousness is structured by a normative set of recurrent and related operations. Though Insight was intended as a pedagogy of self-discovery to mediate an appropriation of this structure, Lonergan could not hope to repeat the experiment whenever he wished to invoke its results. Thus he found it expethent to boil the results down to the principal "levels" of experience (or presentations), understanding, judgment, and decision.5 Presentations on the level of sense or inner experience give rise to questions for understanding. Understanding may be incorrect and so gives rise to further questions for judgment regarding the sufficiency of the available evidence. Judgments of fact and value give rise to deliberation and decision regarding possible courses of action. Lonergan used the term "sublation" to refer to the relationship of successive to prior operations of conscious intentionality; in his sense the term means enrichment and expansion without negation. Successive operations presuppose, enrich, and expand the previous operations: understanding sublates presentations, judgment sublates understanding, decision sublates judgment.

As Lonergan pointed out in Method in Theology, intentionality analysis represents a paradigm shift for our understanding of human nature. The ancients and Scholastics deduced the faculties or powers of the soul from the observed relationships among objects and acts, which were then formulated into a set of metaphysical terms and relations (objects, acts, potencies, efficient causes, etc.)· But intentionality analysis discloses the relationships among the acts in terms of sublating and sublated operations correlative to successive "levels" or, perhaps better, enlargements of consciousness. Lonergan compares the two approaches this way:

Because its account of interiority was basically metaphysical, the older theology distinguished sensitive and intellectual, apprehensive and appetitive potencies. There followed complex questions on their mutual interactions. There were disputes about the priority of intellect over will. ... In contrast, we describe interiority in terms of intentional and conscious acts on the four levels of experiencing, understanding, judging, and deciding. The lower levels are presupposed and complemented by the higher. The higher sublate the lower. If one wishes to transpose this analysis into metaphysical terms, then the active potencies are the transcendental notions revealed in questions for intelligence, questions for reflection, questions for deliberation. The passive potencies are the lower levels as presupposed and complemented by the higher.6

In the context of intentionality analysis, moral self-transcendence is not the function of a distinct faculty, "will," but the further reach of the one, fundamental, self-transcending desire of the human spirit. The metaphysical distinction between "appetitive" and "apprehensive" faculties is replaced by a distinction between the successive enlargements of consciousness brought about by the unfolding desire ("rational appetite") for self-transcendence.

One way to bring the implications of this shift into focus is to construct an analogy of principles of operation. Aquinas conceived the essence of the soul as the remote principle of natural operations. It is really distinct from the faculties that flow from it as proximate principles of operation.7 In this context, "remote" and "proximate" are relative terms. The faculties are proximate in comparison to the essence of the soul, but remote in comparison to habits, which dispose the faculties to effective operation. Supernatural operations belong to a higher order and therefore presuppose higher principles of operation. Aquinas explained that sanctifying grace elevates the essence of the soul as a remote principle, and the infused virtues are in the faculties as proximate principles of supernatural operations.8 This account might be represented schematically:

The left-hand side represents the essence of the soul. From it flow the various faculties: intellect, will, and various lower powers (here, simply labeled passions). The faculties are each perfected by their corresponding virtues, which are proximate principles of acts received in the faculties. Sanctifying grace is in the essence of the soul. The infused virtues flow from sanctifying grace, as the faculties themselves naturally result from the soul's essence.

Shifting from this scheme into the context of intentionality analysis brings conscious and intentional operations into the foreground. The various levels of operation are quite distinct, and each has its own proximate operator manifested in the kinds of questions proper to that level. Behind them all stands a single remote operator that is an ineffable and unrestricted yearning to understand, to know, to be responsible, to be in love. This natural desire is self-transcending and self-displacing, constantly bearing us beyond ourselves in questions and decisions. It transposes into intentionality analysis what Aquinas named the light of agent intellect. The enlargements are linked to questions but pertain to the subject in her presence to self as present to the world.9 With each successive enlargement the questions recur within an expanded context. A subject deliberating about possible courses of action has to be paying attention, intelligently creative, adventurous, and far-sighted: responsibility, as opposed to mere drifting, includes all these as preconditions for authentic decision. When the subject is intending value (deliberating), questions for understanding recur about possibilities, and questions for judgment recur regarding value and the concretely achievable good.10 Each enlargement is a kind of displacement "upward" and "outward" in the sense that the subject is moving from the egocentricity of perception and satisfaction (objects and values as centered on the self) and into the realm of the intelligible, the true, the worthwhile that calls the subject beyond herself.

The questions that promote the successive enlargements of consciousness are functionally interdependent with the whole complicated mass of affective, psychological, and organic adaptations.11 Above all, consciousness is transformed and enriched by love, whether it be the love of family, friends, community, or the love of God, agape, that sublates and reshapes all other loves.12 Lonergan described love as unfolding "from above," a vector that he thought faculty psychology obscured. Being in love sublates, without replacing, wonder as the remote operator whence emerge the questions that, proximately, bring about the successive levels or enlargements of consciousness. This account might be represented schematically:

Here, wonder represents our natural desire for self-transcendence, with its relentless pressure "upward" through the successive enlargements of consciousness indicated in the right-hand column. Love sublates wonder as the remote operator of self-transcendence. Questions are the proximate operators of self-transcendence. The arrows between the successive enlargements move both ways to suggest how all the operations recur within the new and enriched context of each enlargement. The arrows between love and wonder move up and down to suggest how all attention, investigation, etc., already occur within some horizon of value that shapes what we are prepared to notice, ask, accept, and pursue.

We can complete the comparison to Aquinas by transposing back into metaphysical terms. A "nature" designates an immanent principle of movement and rest. In Insight, Lonergan shows how a single remote operator governs the compound development of a human being across three explanatory genera: organic, psychic (i.e., empirically conscious), and spiritual (i.e., intelligently, rationally, existentially conscious).13 This remote operator is "human nature," an immanent principle of movement (development) and rest (integration), grasped and verified in the ordered totality of proximate operators and integrators that govern the development of a human being organically, psychically, and spiritually. Intentionality analysis brings into focus human nature in its spiritual dimensions by specifying the remote and proximate principles of self-transcendence (movement) and integration (rest). The human being is a being "on the way," a being in the constant tension of self-transcendence. Because our wonder in itself is ineffable and unrestricted, it does not seem that we could ever comprehensively understand our own nature. Again, because our capacity for spiritual self-transcendence is open-ended, there are no predetermined limits on growth in this life or the next.14 This open-endedness transposes the Scholastic concept of obethential potency. The open-endedness of our native wonder is transformed, enlarged, sublated by a love that is otherworldly, a love in search of meaning beyond the confines of this world.


According to Aquinas, sanctifying grace stands to the virtues as the soul to its faculties. Grace is a quality in the essence of the soul, a principle of spiritual being (quoddam spirituale esse).15 It is being created anew, ex nihilo, in the sense that it is strictly unrelated to prior merit.16 It is an entitative habit, a habit of being, like health or beauty, in contradistinction to the virtues, which are operative habits, habits of doing.17 Indeed, properly speaking, it is not a habit, because it is not immediately ordered to act; it is a disposition to glory18 and a created participation in the divine nature.19 As such it is also a remote principle of operations. The light of grace stands to the infused virtues as the light of reason stands to the acquired,20 and grace brings forth meritorious works through the virtues just as the essence of the soul operates through its potencies.21

Lonergan asserted that the dynamic state of being in love with God "really is sanctifying grace but notionally differs from it."22 He characterized it this way: Because the dynamic state of being in love

is conscious without being known, it is an experience of mystery. Because it is being in love, mystery is not merely attractive but fascinating; to it one belongs; by it one is possessed. Because it is an unmeasured love, the mystery evokes awe. Of itself, then, inasmuch as it is conscious without being known, the gift of God's love is an experience of the holy, of Rudolf Otto's mysterium fascinons et tremendum. It is what Paul Tillich named being grasped by ultimate concern. It corresponds to St. Ignatius Loyola's consolation that has no cause, as expounded by Karl Rahner.23

Falling in love is the beginning of another world and another self. It dismantles one's previous horizon and establishes a new one, in an exercise of freedom Lonergan called "vertical liberty."24 In itself, love has the character of a "yes" constituting the horizon within which determinate choices and questions emerge and to which they bear witness. It is an ineffable, dynamic orientation in consciousness, massively oriented to the world of meaning and value, as a global attitude of generosity. It is global, in the sense that it is prior to all particular insights, judgments, and decisions, unprovoked by presentations and therefore yet to be related to them; but it is the very source of differentiation, the passionate providence of emergence underpinning every determinate operator.25 Just as every concrete question gives determinate form to the ineffable and global desire to understand, so every concrete act of self-transcendence gives determinate form to the ineffable generosity of love.

In the context of the functional relations that structure conscious intentionality, being in love is proper to the topmost reaches of consciousness, the reaches at which a personal horizon is established. Hence Lonergan famously asserted that the dynamic state of being in love is conscious on the "fourth level" of intentional consciousness, or again, that it pertained to a "fifth" level.26 However, in its effects, love is not restricted to the uppermost levels of consciousness. It reaches down to transform the whole of one's subjectivity.27 A person "that falls in love is engaged in loving not only while attending to the beloved but at all times."28 A person in love is different even when she is merely daydreaming; she is different in what she is likely to imagine, notice, suppose, or wonder about, in whom she is willing to trust, in what she is open to accepting. Love underpins, overarches, and gradually penetrates the whole of subjectivity, transforming patterns of spontaneous attending, inquiry, presumption, valuation, and decision.

Being in love is not an event but a state. If "human nature" is known by discovering the functional correlations among the proximate operators and integrators of human development, a "state" is known by linking the occurrence of classes of events to corresponding sets of probabilities.29 The state is understood, not in any individual events of whatever kind, but rather by grasping the regularities in events over time. To affirm, for instance, that a mother is in love with her children, is to affirm the statistically regular occurrence of certain kinds of feeling, deliberation and choice, judgment and insight, inquiry and attention, carried into effect not only in words but also in deeds that betoken a concretely operative scale of values. The data on being in love, then, are both data of consciousness consisting in internally related sets of operations and feelings - love, joy, peace, and the like - and data of sense consisting in external performance - patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol, turning the other cheek, taking up one's cross, bringing good out of evil.30

This point is methodologically significant for a theology that would ground its account of grace on the experience of being in love. Love may be a feeling, but its proof is in its love-motivated action, and it is by attending to the data over time that one finds a criterion for discerning between fine sentiments and genuine being in love. No particular physiological event, of whatever elation or anguish, can serve as the criterion and touchstone of authentic love. That criterion is rather ongoing self-displacement into another, and, when it is a question of religious love, it is ongoing selfdisplacement into God and others for God's sake. In the concrete order of this fallen world, agape adheres to the Law of the Cross - the transformation of evil to good through self-giving love - not only as its precept but also as its statistical rule.31 The Dalai Lama's steadfast commitment to meeting evil with good is more relevant data on conversion than reports of the physiological states or "experiences" he may undergo while meditating. Mother Teresa's perseverance in loving service despite the stark aridity, and the hard consolation that marked so much of her later interior life bears more eloquent witness to her sanctity than any spiritual "favors" she might once have received, and belies her own judgment on the state of her faith.32

Being in love is a dynamic state. It is dynamically conscious, in that there is an ongoing flow of consciously linked operations and feelings. Love knits together the flow of operations and feelings into a stable, functional whole whose unity is given in consciousness though it is not totally coherent, both because of its inherent incompleteness and, more radically, because of sui. But being in love is also dynamic in the further sense that the functional whole itself is developing. Love is not content merely to consolidate and maintain present achievement; it is relentlessly on the move toward more coherent and consistent self-transcendence.33 Hence, to be in love is to be involved in an ongoing process of personal growth.34 Agape does not replace but does take us beyond our "mere" humanity,35 not only healing but also sublating (or, as the Scholastics put it, "elevating") the whole flow of our conscious operations toward a new and impossible finality, friendship with God and all things in God.

Being in love is not only a dynamic but also an interpersonal state.36 Love relates us to others in a new way, thereby making them, in some sense, the operators of our ongoing growth. When that love is an otherworldly love, it relates us to the divine persons and, in principle, to everyone and everything in a new way. Love is controlled self-abandonment, and agape is self-abandonment without conditions or qualifications. To be in love is to allow others to exert demands upon oneself, and meeting those demands consistently is a matter of developing new capacities for selftranscendence. Affection for a friend is one thing, but to be a good friend, to render genuine service to another in pursuit of "the noble," takes both skill and emotional balance. Again, if one is to be an effective parent, fine sentiments are not enough. One also has to develop the skills required to support, befriend, discipline, socialize, acculturate, and educate one's children.37 Being in love constitutes an exigency for development, becoming the ongoing source and the integrator of new capacities for performance. Otherworldly love subíales native wonder as the remote operator and integrator of personal growth, of self-displacement into the divine life.


Beyond the specific skills required for the performance of tasks and the fulfillment of roles, there are the foundational capacities for effective moral and religious self-transcendence known as the cardinal and theological virtues. Scholastic theology conceived the virtues as habits. But "habit" was a metaphysical term in that context, whereas for most English speakers today its resonance is mainly psychological. This led Servais Pinckaers to complain that what is now commonly understood by habit is, in some ways, inimical to understanding virtue, because it suggests a contraction to routine rather than an expansion of effective freedom.38 Others have shared his dissatisfaction in relation to the difficulties of finding a suitable equivalent in a modern idiom.39

According to Aquinas, the virtues are "operative" habits. They are open, flexible, creative, and self-transcending: in this sense, the very opposite of routine. So "art" is numbered among the intellectual virtues, and prudence is in the moral realm what art is in the realm of artifice or craft.40 Both incorporate many different kinds of operations: attending, inquiring, judging, and deliberating to order and implement means to concretely achievable ends. In a contemporary idiom, what Aquinas means by the intellectual virtue of art might be called a "skill." An artisan who can grasp and order means to ends is "skillful": skillful in the selection of materials and tools, skillful in the ordering of operations to arrive at good results. Similarly, as a first approximation we might think of prudence as a kind of moral "skill."

But if virtue is not reducible to habit in the sense of routine or "automatic" responses, neither is it reducible to technical skill (technê), as Aristotle pointed out. Virtue has to do with action or conduct (praxis) rather than production (poiesis),41 and its results cannot be evaluated in the same way that an artisan's products might be.42 Moreover, one may have a skill but be disinclined to practice it, as Bobby Fischer tired of chess, whereas the inclination to act belongs to the very essence of the virtue.43 The integration of appropriate feelings and attitudes is central to virtue, which cannot be reduced to skillful moral reasoning. Yet, as Aquinas's comparison of prudence and artifice suggests, there are important ways in which virtue is comparable to cognitive and practical skill, in the kind of reasoning it requires, its flexibility and range, its ordination to action, and the way it develops.44

These similarities suggest that a psychological investigation of skill development might yield useful models or heuristic structures for thinking about virtue. A heuristic structure is a set of anticipations that can guide an investigation. The metaphysical conception of faculties and habits functioned as a heuristic structure to guide the Scholastic investigation of the virtues. In what follows I would like to sketch an alternative.

A skill is an instance of what Lonergan calls a flexible circle of schemes of recurrence.45 The basic notion of a scheme of recurrence is a conditioned sequence of interdependent events: If A, then B, if B, then C, ... then A. Imagine, for instance, a spinning top. Under ideal conditions - perfect balance, zero friction - it spins on forever. But the top is imperfectly balanced, it falls off its axis; its tip touches the ground, and it gradually loses speed. The scheme of recurrence is gradually undone. Suppose, though, as the top wobbles, a child should whip it. Momentum is restored, the top nudged upright. Now there is a circle of recurrence schemes, for the top's recurrent spinning is interdependent with the child's recurrent lashing. The circle is flexible, for the child lashes at different intervals, with varying force, as the top threatens to fall or stop.

Recurrence schemes form a flexible circle, then, whenever different schemes in the circle are initiated in relation to different conditions. The cardiovascular system is a flexible circle vastly more complex than the whipping top; consider the different kinds of conditions under which it functions: at rest, while running, at high altitudes, congested, etc. A manual or cognitional skill, too, is a flexible circle of recurrence schemes. The operator of an excavator moves its arm like an extension of his own. The greater his skill, the more varied the conditions under which he can successfully operate (mobility), and the wider the range of objects to which he can apply his machine (differentiation).

Mobility and differentiation are terms borrowed from Jean Piaget's investigation of the development of cognitive skills. Mobility denotes independence from a limited range of starting points, conditions, or determinate reference frames. It is achieved through self-displacement or decentering. Perception and routinized manual skills like writing are immobile and egocentric, "centered on an object in accordance with the subject's own perspective,"46 "always oriented in one direction towards the same result."47 By contrast to perception, constructing a spatial field involves decentering the subject within an imagined space, thus anticipating the mobility of higher order cognitional operations. Cognitional operations are potentially mobile because they psychologically imply their reverse: addition implies subtraction, multiplication implies division, etc.48 To denote full operational mobility, Piaget invoked the notion of the operational "group," achieved when each operation is matched to its reverse. The "true nature of grouping" is found in the "mobile equilibrium" that results from a systematic cognitive decentering so that all the operations are "actually the expression of one and the same total act, namely, an act of complete decentralization or complete conversion of thought. . . . The distinguishing characteristic of the mobile equilibrium peculiar to the grouping is that the decentralization . . , suddenly becomes systematic on reaching its limit."49 The operating subject is radically displaced into a decentered and unimaginably complex field of being, thus shifting the criteria for successful performance away from practical success to the norms of intelligent inquiry.50

Differentiation is achieved by adaptation and successive grouping. Adaptation is a matter of assimilating new objects to hitherto successful schemes, and adjusting the schemes to account for the new variables. Successive grouping combines operations in increasingly complex paths. It entails the hierarchical integration or sublation of lower level capacities into higher order flexible circles of recurrence schemes.51 Differentiation increasingly involves the subject in a world mediated by meaning, because cognitional operations are mediated through symbolic representations. Whereas imagination is restricted to the spatial and temporal, insight grasps intelligible relationships (causal dependencies, etc.) that are simultaneous.

Like the cognitional skills analyzed by Piaget, virtues - conceived as effective capacities for consistent moral and religious self-transcendence - are interrelated, flexible circles of recurrence schemes characterized by mobility and differentiation. Moral and religious virtues are characterized by mobility, for decentering is at least as fundamental to moral and religious as it is to cognitive self-transcendence. The relevant decentering, however, is not only operational but also affective.52 Again, these virtues are characterized by differentiation, for moral and religious self-transcendence involves us with many different values and prospective choices. Finally, these virtues are flexible circles integrating many different kinds of recurrence schemes - of feeling, memory, perception, inquiry, reflection, deliberation, choice, etc. But the circles are wider than those relevant for merely cognitive self-transcendence, for they are ordered to moral and religious performance.

As I noted in the first section, operations and feelings are functionally interdependent. Although operational development is distinct from affective development, pure intellect or pure will is a fiction.53 Cognitional self-transcendence is always linked to feelings, if only because it presupposes the dominance (however transitory) of the desire to understand over other desires. Feelings may help or hinder - for instance, in understanding an author - and anyone who has been teaching for a while can summon up instances when affective reactions seemed to impede insight and cloud judgment, one's own or that of one's students. Feelings come into play still more directly in moral and religious self-transcendence, because its operations regard value directly, and feelings are intentional responses to value. Consistent self-transcendence at any level presupposes not only the appropriate operational mobility and differentiation, but also a corresponding and commensurate affective mobility and differentiation.

As operational mobility is achieved by transcending the egocentricity of perception, affective mobility is achieved by transcending the egocentricity of feelings as self-regarding. Mobile feelings are displaced from the interests and satisfaction of the subject (self-regarding subjectivity) into the objective field of value (self-transcending subjectivity). As Piaget found operational mobility to be anticipated by "symbolic," "intuitive," and "concrete" schemata, so we might expect affective mobility to be anticipated by spontaneous feelings such as empathy, sympathy, and compassion. Again, as operational differentiation expands the range of possible objects, so affective differentiation consists in the refinement of feelings to an apprehension of values at once wider in scope and more vividly distinguished. As operational differentiation involves the subject in a world mediated by meaning, affective differentiation involves the subject in a world constituted by value. If the subject is developing intellectually, her horizon of meaning is expanding, and if she is developing morally, the same is true of her horizon of value. Piaget acknowledged an analogue to the operational group in the construction of a spatial field at the level of imagination. Perhaps a further analogous grouping might be acknowledged in the affective mobility and differentiation I have been describing.

Any effective capacity for moral or religious self-transcendence will incorporate both operational and affective components in a flexible circle. Operational mobility overcomes the egocentricity of judgments (of value or fact) as biased. Affective mobility marshals the spontaneity of feeling to the intention of value rather than satisfaction. A completed virtue might thus be conceived, analogically, as a group of groups, a higher integration of operational and affective groups. Questions and feelings regarding value transcend the constraints of what merely happens to affect me or my group, or the general bias toward practical immediacy. The "virtue group" would achieve mobile equilibrium through a complete system of selfdisplacements, both operational and affective, within a settled horizon of value. Increasing differentiation would mean an expanding horizon of value and therefore an ongoing process of equilibration. The conscious embrace of such a process corresponds to the detachment or apatheia of the ascetical tradition, to Ignatius's indifferentia sancta,54 to Lonergan's self-appropriation of "pure and disinterested desire."55

Cognitional development shifts the criteria of successful performance from the self-referential context of immediate practical effectiveness to the norms of intelligence and rationality. In a similar way, moral and religious development shifts the criteria of choice and commitment from satisfaction to the immanent norms of responsibility and loving self -surrender. These shifts imply a fourfold conversion. Intellectual conversion shifts the criterion of the "real" from imagination to rational affirmation and is implicit in cognitional development. Moral conversion shifts the operational criterion of decision from satisfactions to values. Affective or psychic conversion transforms feelings from self-regarding to value-directed energy. Religious conversion moves toward the limit of self-displacement: loving even oneself in God and for the sake of God.

The metaphysical concept of habit seemed to suggest that a virtue was a kind of module, and the suggestion was duly followed with questions about which faculties were perfected by the various modules. Prudence and faith were assigned to the intellect; justice, charity, and (usually) hope to the will; and temperance and fortitude to the concupiscible and irascible passions. The approach ventured here, though no more than an undeveloped set of anticipations, suggests a different set of questions. Concretely, moral selftranscendence occurs insofar as the subject is morally conscious, and moral consciousness consists in a distinct flow of consciously linked operations and feelings intending value. Consistent self-transcendence is not achieved by feelings or by skills but by the functionally interdependent mobility and differentiation of both. A virtue, as an effective capacity for consistent selftranscendence, is a flexible circle of recurrence schemes linking relevant operations (e.g., observations, questions, insights, judgments) to appropriate attitudes (e.g., antecedent willingness, readiness) and feelings (including responses rooted in bodily sensitivity, such as pleasure and ease, as well as intentional responses to value), and sublating lower level integrations (perceptual capacities, memories, etc.).56 Rather than linking the virtues to particular faculties of the soul, one might go on to explore the particular components that together form an effective circle of schemes for responding to adversity (fortitude), regulating desires (temperance), relating to others (justice), and practical moral reasoning (prudence). Again, one might explore how these schemes are sublated into the still higher circles of efficacious befriending of God and all things in God (charity), persevering in the law of the cross in the face of the objective absurdity that is the cumulative effect of sin (hope), and discerning the finger of God at work in the world (faith).

Scholastic theology distinguished virtues that can be acquired by human effort from virtues that can only be infused by grace. Aquinas maintained that in addition to the infused theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity), there are also infused cardinal virtues. He reasoned that the infused virtue is specifically different from the acquired virtue of the same name because it is ordered to a higher end and therefore governed by a different mean.57 As I noted in the introduction, this position has been criticized for artificially separating grace from nature in a way that does not seem to do justice to the psychological continuity of habituation. Without taking a position on the criticism one way or the other, I would like to indicate how this problematic might be approached through the heuristic structure I have been sketching.

Ever since Aristotle the virtues have been defined in relation to a mean. The mean is a function of the scale of values to which the virtue responds. A scale of values is settled within a horizon. The introduction of otherworldly love establishes a new and expanding horizon and therefore in principle reorients the scale of values governing every pattern of selftranscendence. To the extent that functioning circles of recurrence schemes are already in place, falling in love directs them to a new end, issues a revised scale of values, and promotes growth with new urgency. Where preexisting patterns are destructive, they are dismantled; where they are nonexistent or inadequate, love initiates their rapid or gradual emergence.58 There may be an initial coexistence of the new love with resistant schemes of recurrence, but unless it is matched by an appropriate development of skills and feelings, love atrophies.59 Conversely, one may repudiate the gift of love itself, and then the patterns of discernment, valuation, etc. that love brought about begin to gradually wither, "guilt / like poison given to work a great time after."60

In short, by sublating our most fundamental thrust of self-transcendence, otherworldly love works its effects on our every pattern of feeling, friendship, commitment and choice, discernment of value and of fact, antecedent plausibility structures, and readiness to notice and attend. One still eats and drinks, mows the lawn, goes to work, raises children; but now it is unto the glory of the Lord, so that the whole of this life is sanctified and every fitting spiritual act meritorious of heavenly beatitude.

Let me offer a humdrum example: the skill of reading. Reading obviously involves many different components (motor and sensory integrations, attentiveness, questions for understanding and reflection, etc., all conditioned by feelings that can help or hinder). Now consider how intelligent reading may be not merely sympathetic but "redemptive" in the sense of making the very best of an author's work. Reading of this kind would entail subtly altered patterns of attention, questioning, feeling, etc. But this alteration is the sublation of existing capacities into new circles of recurrence schemes. This way of reading may or may not be explicitly conceived as a participation in the redemptive work of Christ, but either way it exemplifies how the introduction of an otherworldly love sublates operations we regard as quite straightforward.61


Although in the previous sections I found it impossible to avoid referring to development, it seemed expethent to defer an explicit discussion of its structure until now. As I framed my project in relation to Aquinas, let me begin by noting that he affirmed the fact of development and sought to understand it. He recognized that imperfect virtue could nonetheless be genuine, and worked out the different stages of virtue from incompletion to completion.62 He specified the causes of development and degradation in the distinct cases of acquired and infused virtue.63 Perhaps his most brilliant achievement in this connection was to relate the development of habitual grace to an ongoing context of divine movements.64 But he could not formulate a satisfactory conception of the structure of development. Repetition forms a habit, he suggested, as many raindrops hollow out a stone.65

What is wanted is not a description but an explanatory heuristic structure of development. Lonergan formulated such a heuristic structure in Insight. He defined development as "a flexible, linked sequence of dynamic and increasingly differentiated higher integrations that meet the tension of successively transformed underlying manifolds through successive applications of the principles of correspondence and emergence."66 Although this definition seems forbidding, in fact I have already illustrated its elements.

The notion of a dynamic higher integration we met first in the sublating and sublated operations of intentional consciousness, then in my description of being in love as a dynamic state, and most recently in formulating a heuristic approach to virtue in terms of increasingly mobile and differentiated circles of recurrence schemes. The transformation of underlying manifolds is exemplified by the way the schemes of perception, imagination, memory, and sensitivity enter into higher order operational and affective integrations. It is a "two-way street." Developments on lower levels anticipate and, in a sense, invite higher integrations: this is the "principle of emergence." So one learns to read, and a new world is opened up. Conversely, the higher integrations are limited by conditions on lower levels, while at the same time relentlessly transforming those conditions insofar as they limit successful fulfillment of the higher order demands: this is the "principle of correspondence." So, for instance, new commitments may exert a tremendous metamorphic pressure on settled patterns at lower levels: think how commitments to one's children or one's students may require adjustments in the way emotional needs are met. Since development is an ongoing process, Lonergan speaks of a linked sequence of increasingly differentiated higher integrations.67

The process of development in human beings is structurally complex, first, because human beings are compound beings ("rational animals" or "incarnate spirits"); second, because their development is largely conscious; and third, because their consciousness is disturbed by sin. First, then, human beings develop across three distinct but functionally interrelated genera: biological, psychological, and intellectual-moral. The development of a human being as an organism is distinct but functionally connected to the development of the psyche, and psychic development bears a similar relationship to the development of human beings as intelligent, rational, moral agents. Lonergan thought of divine grace as introducing a fourth genus of development that sublates our intellectual, rational, moral agency as that agency itself sublates the psyche and the psyche sublates the organism.68 Interdependent development in these three-plus-one genera means that, for human beings, the problem of correspondence or integration is compounded and permanent. Even in the case of development within a single genus - say, a developing organism - there is a constant tension between the present integration and the emergence of the next stage. But in human beings, developments or truncations in one genus may alter the conditions under which another has to develop. For example, the loss of eyesight (an organic truncation) may have complex psychological ramifications as well as, obviously, affecting the way one has to learn. Second, still further complications arise from the fact that the most important dimensions of human development occur within consciousness. The norms governing consciousness oblige human beings to take responsibility for their own integration, genuineness, authenticity. And third, conscious development is severely aggravated by the experience of sin, both as personal failure and as cumulatively distorting the human (and natural) ecology.

The heuristic structure Lonergan formulated in Insight anticipated that human development might be initiated by internal or external factors within any of its three-plus-one genera.69 Internal biological impulses and necessities, the psychic and emotional pressures of getting along with others, personal discoveries and decisions, changes in the material and cultural environment brought about by others, their feelings, perceptions, discoveries, and choices: all of these call for adjustments. What came less clearly into focus, in Insight, was the priority of love in motivating and directing one's entry into the world constituted by meaning and value. In his later work, Lonergan began speaking of development "from above" to get at the priority of love and tradition in the process of human development.70

Lonergan's struggle for a clear articulation of development "from above" is related to his break with faculty psychology. Most often when Lonergan mentions development from above he brings up the Scholastic dictum that nothing is loved unless it is first known. On this basis Aquinas had argued that faith must precede charity, because charity orients the will to a supernatural end (friendship with God), but no end can be willed unless it is first known, and a supernatural end can be affirmed only by supernatural faith. Hence, though the first operation of grace is in the will, it is an actual grace prior to the infusion of charity (a habitual grace).71 After his shift to intentionality analysis, Lonergan began to insist that love comes first.

The world in which human development occurs is a world constituted by meaning and value. That world makes individuals, far more than they make it.72 Tradition is in the default position and, in its reception, good will generally precedes deliberation.73 Effective teachers know that without the trust of their students, they can teach them little. We learn from our parents, our teachers, our friends and acquaintances because, in some sense, we already love them. Love comes first, and it can work its effects so thoroughly that our spontaneous gestures, turns of speech, modes of behavior come to betray whom we admire. Acculturation, socialization, and education presuppose a horizon of value. Their dominant thrust is "from above downward."

However, development "from above" is a heuristic expression not without its obscurity, and Lonergan never worked it out to the level of detail one finds in Insight. In a precise and explanatory sense, development is "from above" whenever developments on higher levels initiate corresponding developments on the lower. In this sense, "from above" and "from below" point to the functional interdependence of the different genera, and different levels within each genus, in the process of human development and integration. In what follows I revisit Lonergan's heuristic structure of development with this question in mind in order to formulate a more detailed conception of development "from above" as well as "from below."

First, the proximate operator of development "from below" is any question or development on lower levels exerting demand functions upon higher levels. The proximate operator of development "from above" is any development on a higher level exerting demand functions upon lower levels. Development "from above" will consist in a sequence of dynamic, increasingly mobile and differentiated integrations evoked in biological and psychic spontaneity, and on the lower levels of conscious intentionality, in response to demand functions exerted from above. Developments on higher levels create demands for performance. Intelligence transforms perception; responsibility transforms intelligence; love sweeps all before it. So a father's love transforms his sense of responsibility, eliciting new patterns of evaluation and discernment, inquiry and perception, intersubjective spontaneity. An affective orientation functions as an upper operator of successively transformed circles of recurrence schemes on the lower levels of operation and feeling.

Second, development is governed by the principles of correspondence and emergence.74 These principles imply two vectors of development, "from above" and "from below." The principle of correspondence points to the more or less specific demands for growth exerted upon higher levels from below or, conversely, exerted upon lower levels from above. At the same time, it points to the limits to successful functioning on higher levels unless commensurate skills and feelings are developed on lower levels. The principle of emergence points to concrete possibilities and limitations. The flexible circles that are already operative on lower levels open up but also limit concrete possibilities for further development. Conversely, the specific demand functions emerging on higher levels likewise determine the future course of development to a certain flexible range of possibilities. Proximately, these demands may be for the kinds of skills one needs to be an effective parent, for example. But they may reach further, if, for instance, one embarks upon a new occupation to provide for a young family. Thus in myriad ways the introduction of a new love, new responsibilities, new patterns of evaluation, new discoveries and perceptions may specifically interrupt old and familiar routines and call forth new ones. Less specifically but perhaps no less insistently, they may demand the conformity of intentional responses, psychic integration, subtle and gradual changes in spontaneous bodily affect in, e.g., the way one interacts with children.

The actual sequence of integrations will be worked out gradually between the conscious demands for growth and the settled patterns of hitherto successful functioning; the spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak. Correspondence or integration will require a series of compromises as previously operative circles of recurrence schemes are gradually modified or supplanted. At the outset, new circles of schemes of recurrence on the higher levels may be limited in scope and success; these limits will severely hamper achievement, and the felt dissonance between lofty aspiration and mediocre achievement may initially favor a kind of forgetfulness, deliberate or not, and a return to old and settled routines, to "the futile ways inherited" (1 Pt 1:18). But as the lower levels are gradually penetrated and transformed, as new skills are added and new affective patterns take root, the probabilities of perseverance increase dramatically.

Third, development will move from initial generic to more specific determinations, from a global orientation to the formation of increasingly mobile and differentiated skill sets connected to increasingly mobile and refined feelings.75 Human development from the generic to the specific will be flexible, because there are different routes to the same goal and, more radically, because goals are apprehended within a horizon and one's horizon may change. It will also be dialectical, marked by the tension between self-transcending and self-regarding desires.76 The end is but dimly apprehended; one may recognize little more than that to remain as one now is has become impossible. What one is to become is still largely incomprehensible, and the road to be traveled is unknown, dark, and quite possibly dreadful; there is a conscious tension between one's present reality and who one must become.77 In fact, though not in principle, moral and religious development never follows the straight highway adjured by John the Baptist, but rather a route of byways and inexplicable detours.78 It is marked by the absurdities of sin no less than by the exigencies of wonder, responsibility, and otherworldly love. In this life disintegrated elements always remain. "For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members" (Rom 7:22-23 RSV).

Fourth, all development takes place through interaction with the environment. But the environment of human living is overwhelmingly a world constituted by meaning and value, and entry into that world takes place through education, socialization, and acculturation, through various forms of collaboration with others by imitation, belief, and coordinated action, and all manner of adjustments to what others are doing for good and for ill.79 Moreover, not only the subject but also her world is constantly developing.80 Development both enlarges and intensifies one's horizon of value. By !hiking us to others, love opens us to new and changing demands for growth. Thus the relevant demand functions for development are not only internal but also intersubjective.

God's love flooding our hearts is the utter limit case; it is not merely our entry into a new horizon but our involvement in a network of personal relationships that entirely surpasses the native limits of our affectivity, valuation, and prospects for discovery. Agape situates us within a new, unexpected, and unearned interpersonal situation, with corresponding demands and commensurate possibilities for growth. Human development is not only self-mediation but mutual self-mediation, displacement into another: children into their parents, spouses into each another, Christians into Christ.81 Thus as Augustine spoke of two loves building two cities, Lonergan spoke of two solidarities:

Just as there is a human solidarity in sin with a dialectical descent deforming knowledge and perverting will, so also there is a divine solidarity in grace which is the mystical body of Christ; as evil performance confirms us in evil, so good edifies us in our building unto eternal life; and as private rationalization finds support in fact, in common teaching, in public approval, so also the ascent of the soul towards God is not a merely private affair but rather a personal function of an objective common movement in that body of Christ which takes over, transforms, and elevates every aspect of human life.82


To claim that grace perfects and elevates nature is to affirm a doctrine. To begin to give an account of the doctrine in more than minimal terms is to engage in the task of systematic theology. The goal of systematic theology is not to prove but to understand, as fruitfully as possible and without pretense to direct or comprehensive insight, the mysteries of faith. The Scholastic problematic of habitual grace emerged from a sustained and collaborative effort to give an account of the present mystery. In the hands of a master like Aquinas, it resulted in a remarkably coherent theory of the soul, its faculties, and the natural and supernatural habits that perfect them. These pieces are hardly the whole of Aquinas's theory of grace, but together they constitute an important part of it.

Lonergan proposed a theological paradigm shift. He sought not to overthrow the cumulative achievements of the theological tradition but to reassess and reformulate them on a new and stronger basis. Lonergan's project invites a thorough reconsideration of the basic nest of terms in the Scholastic problematic of habitual grace. I find that his intentionality analysis illuminates, more clearly than faculty psychology, the dynamics of the spirit. In this new light, reflection on being in love yields more control over the meaning of sanctifying grace than a procedure that begins with a metaphysical analysis. I find the relation of grace and virtue more tractable when virtue is conceived in terms of developing feelings and skills rather than as a set of modules to be related to different faculties of the soul. Finally, I suggest that a heuristic structure of development can guide further investigation of how the gift of divine love concretely perfects and elevates nature.

1 See Michael Sherwin, "Infused Virtue and the Effects of Acquired Vice: A Test-Case for the Thomistic Theory of Infused Cardinal Virtues" Thomist 73 (2009) 29-52 at 30-35. For a general introduction and bibliography, see Bonnie Kent, "Habits and Virtues" in Ethics of Aquinas, ed. Stephen J. Pope (Washington: Georgetown University, 2002) 116-30. Lonergan expounds the development of \quinas's theory of habitual grace in Grace and Freedom: Operative Grace in the Thought of St Thomas Aquinas, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (hereafter CWBL) 1, ed. Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto, 2000) 44-65. Habitual grace was only one piece, and not the most important, in Thomas's account of grace.

2 See Sherwin, "Infused Virtue" 49-51. Jean Porter objects that Thomas "does not offer a satisfactory account of the relation of the infused to the acquired virtues in the history and character of the individual whose virtues they are" ("The Subversion of Virtue," Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics [1992] 1941, at 38). Similar concerns are raised by Florence Caffrey Bourg, "God Working In Us Without Us? A Fresh Look at Formation of Virtue," Yamauchi Lecture, Loyola University, New Orleans, 2004, yamauchi-lectures (this and all other URLs cited herein were accessed March 7, 2011). For interpretations making the best of Aquinas, see Sherwin, "Infused Virtue," esp. 34 n. 18.

3 L. Matthew Pelillo recently made a similar suggestion ("The Theological Problem of Grace and Experience: A Lonerganian Perspective," Theological Studies 71 [2010] 586-608). On Aquinas's relation to Augustine, see Lonergan, Grace and Freedom, esp. 3-20.

4 See Charles Hefling, s.v. "Consciousness," in The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, ed. Michael Downey (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1993). For an exposition of Lonergan's "turn to the subject" in relation to modern and postmodern philosophers, see Frederick G. Lawrence, "The Fragility of Consciousness: Lonergan and the Postmodern Concern for the Other," in Communication and Lonergan: Common Ground for Forging the New Age, ed. Thomas J. Farrell and Paul A. Soukup, foreword Robert M. Doran (Kansas City, Mo.: Sheed & Ward, 1993) 173-211; originally published, in a shorter form, in Theological Studies 54 (1993) 55-94.

5 For concise presentations of intentionality analysis, see Bernard J. F. Lonergan, "Cognitional Structure," in Collection, CWBL 4, ed. Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran, 2nd ed., rev., augm. (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1988) 205-21; Lonergan, "Self-Transcendence: Intellectual, Moral, Religious," in Philosophical and Theological Papers 1965-1980, CWBL 17, ed. Robert C. Croken and Robert M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto, 2004) 313-31.

6 Bernard J. F. Lonergan, Method in Theology (New York: Seabury, 1972) 120; see also 289 and "Philosophy and the Religious Phenomenon" 395-97.

7 See Summa theologiae (hereafter ST) 1, q. 77, a. 6. See too Bernard J. F. Lonergan, Verbum: Word and Idea in Aquinas, CWBL 2, ed. Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1997) 143-48. The distinction between the soul's act of existence and the operations of its faculties is deduced from the fact that we are not always actually sensing, understanding, etc.

8 Thomas Aquinas, De virtutibus q. 1, a. 10; see ST 1-2, q. 49, aa. 2-3, esp. a. 3, ad 3.

9 See Patrick H. Byrne, "Consciousness: Levels, Sublations, and the Subject as Subject," Method: Journal ofLonergan Studies 13 (1995) 131-50, and Philip McShane's two schematic images, "Appendix A," in Bernard J. F. Lonergan, Phenomenology and Logic: The Boston College Lectures on Mathematical Logic and Existentialism, CWBL 18, ed. Philip McShane (Toronto: University of Toronto, 2001) 319-23.

10 See Lonergan, Method in Theology 53.

11 See Robert M. Doran, Theology and the Dialectics of History (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1990), esp. 42-63, 71-77, 177-253, and passim. Also, Bernard J. F. Lonergan, "The Mediation of Christ in Prayer," in Philosophical and Theological Papers, 1958-1964, CWBL 6, ed. Robert C. Croken, Frederick E. Crowe, and Robert M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1996) 160-82, at 165. Jean Piaget addresses the functional interdependence of feelings and operations in The Psychology of Intelligence, trans. Malcolm Piercy and D. E. Berlyne (1950; New York: Routledge & Paul, 2001) 6-7, 57-128. Perhaps the starkest illustration of this functional interdependence is provided by Harlow's (in)famous experiments isolating rhesus macaques. See Harry F. Harlow, "The Nature of Love," American Psychologist 13 (1958) 673-85. On Aquinas, see Paul Gondreau, "The Passions and the Moral Life: Appreciating the Originality of Aquinas," Thomist 71 (2007) 419-50. Insofar as feelings apprehend values, the Scholastic distinction between apprehensive and appetitive faculties breaks down.

12 See the following by Lonergan: "Mission and the Spirit," hi A Third Collection: Papers, ed. Frederick E. Crowe (N. Y.: Paulist, 1985) 23-34, at 30; "Natural Right and History" 169-83, at 174-75; "Philosophy and the Religious Phenomenon," in Philosophical and Theological Papers 1965-1980, CWBL 17, ed. Robert C. Croken and Robert M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto, 2004) 391^08, at 396-97; see also Method in Theology 289; Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, CWBL 3, ed. Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1992) 211-18.

13 See Lonergan, Insight 494-504, 538-43.

14 This suggests "an eschatology of growth" which I cannot explore here. See Bernard J. F. Lonergan, "The Natural Desire to See God," in Collection 81-91; and Aquinas, ST 3, q. 4 a. 1.

15 Aquinas, De ventate q. 27, a. 2, ad 7; De virtutibus q. 1, a. 10.

16 ST 1-2, q. 110, a. 2, ad 3.

17 See esp. Aquinas, De ventate q. 27, a. 2; Summa theologiae 1-2, q. 110, a. 2 s.c.

18 De ventate q. 27, a. 2.

19 ST 1-2, q. 110, a. 4.

20 ST 1-2, q. 110, a. 3.

21 ST 1-2, q. 110, a. 4, ad 2.

22 Lonergan, Method in Theology 107. Doran has protested that this description subsumes the meaning of charity into grace; see the following by Doran: "Consciousness and Grace," Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 11 (1993) 51-75; "Revisiting 'Consciousness and Grace,'" Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 13 (1995) 151-59; "Complacency and Concern and a Basic Thesis on Grace," Lonergan Workshop 13 (1997) 57-78; "Sanctifying Grace, Charity, and Divine Indwelling: A Key to the Nexus Mysteriorum Fidei" unpublished paper presented at the Lonergan Workshop at Boston College, 2009; "Functional Specialties for a World Theology," unpublished paper presented at the Lonergan Workshop at Boston College, 2010. Doran points out ("Divine Indwelling" 7) that Lonergan himself, in oral remarks in 1974, characterized that description as "an amalgam" of grace and charity. This comment occurs in the last of the question-and-answer sessions in the 1974 Lonergan Workshop at Boston College, files 81500AOE070 (audio) and 81500DTE070 (transcript),

23 Lonergan, Method in Theology 106. To be conscious is not to be known, except potentially. See esp. Lonergan, Insight 350-52, and the discussion of "dynamic states" at 362; see also Lawrence, "Fragility of Consciousness" 176-88. Christiaan Jacobs- Vandegeer argues that peak experiences like the kind that seem to be described here should be understood in relation to actual grace ("Sanctifying Grace in a 'Methodical Theology,'" Theological Studies 68 [2007] 52-76, at 74-75).

24 Lonergan, Method in Theology 40-41, 235-44.

25 See Lonergan, "Mission and the Spirit" 29; Insight 684-92; also, Jeremy D. Wilkins, "Finality, History, Grace: General and Special Categories in Lonergan's Theology of History," in Wisdom and Holiness, Science and Scholarship: Essays in Honor of Matthew L. Lamb, ed. Michael Dauphinais and Matthew Levering (Naples, FIa.: Sapientia, 2007) 375-402.

26 Compare Lonergan, Method in Theology 106-7 to Lonergan, "Philosophy and the Religious Phenomenon" 400-402. For more recent discussion, see Jacobs- Vandegeer, "Sanctifying Grace." See too Jeremy Blackwood, "Sanctifying Grace, Elevation, and the Fifth Level of Consciousness: Further Developments within Lonergan Scholarship," unpublished paper delivered at the West Coast Methods Institute, April 9, 2009, wood/Papers/459045/Sanctifying_Grace_Elevation_and_the_Fifth_Level_of_Con sciousness. Blackwood incorporates substantial quotations from the Lonergan archives, showing that Lonergan's definite later tendency was to think of being in love as pertaining to a "fifth level."

27 A point also made, in various ways, by Byrne, "Subject as Subject," JacobsVandegeer, "Sanctifying Grace," and Blackwood, "Sanctifying Grace, Elevation," though of course they have their differences with each other and me.

28 Lonergan writes: "There are in full consciousness feelings so deep and strong, especially when deliberately reinforced, that they channel attention, shape one's horizon, direct one's life. Here the supreme illustration is loving. A man or woman that falls in love is engaged in loving not only when attending to the beloved but at all times. Besides particular acts of loving, there is the prior state of being in love, and that prior state is, as it were, the fount of all one's actions. So mutual love is the intertwining of two lives. It transforms an T and a 'thou' into a 'we' so intimate, so secure, so permanent, that each attends, imagines, thinks, plans, feels, speaks, acts in concern for both" (Method in Theology 32).

29 See Lonergan, Insight 86.

30 Compare Aquinas's discussion of how one infers that one is in the state of grace, ST 1-2, q. 112, a. 5.

31 See Bernard J. F. Lonergan, De Verbo Incarnato (Rome: Gregorian University, 1964), thesis 17, esp. 574-79.

32 See Mother Teresa, Come, Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta, ed. Brian Kolodiejchuck (New York: Doubleday, 2007).

33 On the difference between static and dynamic higher integrations, see Lonergan. Insight 477-78.

34 "The data ... on the dynamic state of otherworldly love are the data on a process of conversion and development" (Lonergan, Method in Theology 289). My present concern is more with development than with conversion.

35 See Lonergan, Insight 718-19, where Lonergan excludes the introduction of a new central form but postulates the introduction of new conjugate forms in the will, intellect, and sensitivity. His presentation there does not bring the problem of the entitative habit into focus.

36 See Bernard J. F. Lonergan, The Triune God: Systematics, CWBL 12, ed. Robert M. Doran and Daniel Monsour (Toronto: University of Toronto, 2007) 512-20; Jeremy D. Wilkins, "Trinitarian Missions and the Order of Grace according to Thomas Aquinas," in Philosophy and Theology in the Long Middle Ages: A Tribute to Stephen F. Brown, ed. Kent Emery Jr., Russell L. Friedman, and Andreas Speer (Leiden: Brill, 2011) 689-708; Frederick G. Lawrence, "The Human Good and Christian Conversation," in Communication and Lonergan 248-68, esp. 260-68; Lawrence, "Grace and Friendship: Postmodern Political Theology and God as Conversational," Gregorianum 85 (2004) 795-820; Gilles Mongeau, "The State of Grace and the Law of the Cross: Insights into Lonergan from René Girard," unpublished paper given at the Lonergan Research Institute Seminar, Toronto, 2009.

37 David Oyler's concept of the "operational situation" is helpful in this connection; see his "The Operational Situation," Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 14 (1996) 37-54.

38 Servais Pinckaers, "Virtue Is Not a Habit," Cross Currents 12 (1962) 65-81. Of course, a habit does determine freedom in some sense, but Pinckaers's point is that virtue is an enhancement of effective freedom for excellence.

39 Many commentators agree that the English "habit" no longer conveys the sense of Aquinas's habitus or Aristotle's hexis. See Yves R. Simon, The Definition of Moral Virtue (New York: Fordham, 1986) 55-61; Kent, "Habits and Virtues" 117-19. E. M. Atkins translates Aquinas's habitus by "disposition" (Aquinas, Disputed Questions on the Virtues, ed. E. M. Atkins and Thomas Williams, trans. E. M. Atkins [New York: Cambridge University, 2005]). Of course, not everyone agrees that "habit" is unserviceable.

40 "Sic autem se habet ratio recta prudentiae in moralibus, sicut recta ratio artis in artificialibus" (Aquinas, Sententia libri ethicorum 4,1.3; see also 4.3.2).

41 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 6.5, 114Ob, 1-4.

42 Nicomachean Ethics 2.4, 1105a, 26-33.

43 See, e.g., ST 1-2, q. 49, a. 3-4; and q. 50, a. 1.

44 See Daniel C. Russell, Practical Intelligence and the Virtues (Oxford: Clarendon, 2009) 1-34.

45 See Lonergan, Insight 141-43.

46 Piaget, Psychology of Intelligence 127.

47 Ibid. 99.

48 Ibid. Though the construction of a spatial field does not exhibit "reversibility" in precisely the same way as an operational field, nevertheless insofar as the subject is considered as an element within the field, changes of position are "reversible" in the sense that they can be countered by (actual or imagined) movements of one's own body; thus the complete group of (potential) displacements exhibits equilibrium (see ibid. 125).

49 Ibid. 156-57.

50 See ibid. 133-35.

51 See ibid. 165-68.

52 See Craig Steven Titus, "Moral Development and Making All Things New in Christ," Thomist 72 (2008) 233-58. Titus critiques the project of Lawrence Kohlberg for (allegedly) tethering Piaget's study of operational development to a Kantian conception of justice-reasoning.

53 See Lonergan, Method in Theology 121-22, 316-37, 340, on pure intellect and arbitrary will as abstractions. It should be understood, of course, that Aquinas emphasized the interdependence of the virtues that are not, in fact, virtuous unless they are properly interrelated.

54 See Owen Chadwick, "Indifference and Morality," in Christian Spirituality: Essays in Honour of Gordon Rupp, ed. Peter Brooks (London: SCM, 1975) 203-31, at 207-8.

55 See, e.g., Bernard J. F. Lonergan, "Openness and Religious Experience," in Collection 185-87.

56 See Philip McShane, "Being Breathless and Late in Talking about Virtue," Quodlibet 3, Any settled virtue includes the feelings of promptitude, pleasure, ease, or at least the absence of regret (see De virtutibus q. 1, a. 9, ad 13).

57 See ST 1-2, q. 63, a. 4; De virtutibus q. 1, a. 9.

58 Conversion may be psychologically abrupt, as illustrated by the cases of St. Paul and Matt Talbot (see Sherwin, "Infused Virtue" 35-37). Piaget explains that a new operational equilibrium can emerge quite abruptly with "the sudden mobility which animates and coordinates the configurations that hitherto were more or less rigid despite their progressive articulation" (Psychology of Intelligence 153). Similarly, falling in love might bring about a sudden mobility of feelings.

59 See Sherwin, "Infused Virtue" 45-50.

60 William Shakespeare, The Tempest 3.3.

61 I owe this example to Gilles Mongeau.

62 See Brian J. Shanley, "Aquinas on Pagan Virtue," Thomist 63 (1999) 553-77; Thomas M. Osborne Jr., "Perfect and Imperfect Virtues in Aquinas," Thomist 71 (2007) 39-64; and Titus, "Moral Development."

63 See, e.g, ST 1-2, qq. 51, 52, 63, and q. 66, a.l; also De virtutibus q. 1, aa. 9-11; q. 5, a. 3. In the case of acquired virtue, long practice settles dispositions and improves effectiveness, and, conversely, disuse or misuse weakens dispositions and erodes capabilities: see ST 1-2, q. 49, a. 2, ad 3; q. 51, aa. 2-3; q. 52, aa. 1-3; q. 53, aa. 1-3. The priority of grace means that the infused virtues are not measured by human effort either in their inception or in their increase; they are distributed according to the Spirit's good pleasure: see ST 2-2, q. 24, a. 3; De virtutibus q. 2, aa. 1 and 11. Such virtues cannot, strictly speaking, be developed by practice; they can, however, be increased by merit. Grace, or charity, is the principle of merit as the seed is the principle of the full-grown tree, and so can merit its own increase through good performance. But good performance cannot itself be the active cause of this increase; it only disposes us to participate more intensely in the Spirit's free gift of charity: see ST 1-2, q. 114, a. 8; 2-2, q. 24, a. 6; De virtutibus q. 1, a. 11. Conversely, infused virtues cannot be eroded by disuse, but only lost by sin. Mortal sin, by which we turn from the end, does not diminish but rather destroys charity; but venial sin, which consists in error in the selection of means, does not directly affect our orientation to the end and therefore does not directly affect the charity that orients us - though indirectly and cumulatively it may erode our commitment to the end: see ST2-2, q. 24, a. 8, ad 2; and a. 10; De virtutibus q. 1, aa. 6 and 11.

64 See Lonergan, Grace and Freedom 44-49; Wilkins, "Trinitarian Missions."

65 See ST 2-2, q. 24, a. 6, ad 2; De virtutibus q. 1, a. 9, ad 11. Aquinas's explanation of human embryological development as a sequence of substantial forms exemplifies the difficulty of conceiving a genetic operator without an adequate heuristic framework of development: ST 1, q. 118, a. 2, esp. ad 2; q. 76, a. 4, ad 3. 1 am indebted to John Wippel, "Thomas Aquinas and the Controversy Concerning Unity of Substantial Form in Human Beings," unpublished lecture, University of St Thomas, Houston, January 31, 2008.

66 Lonergan, Insight 479.

67 Such a sequence might be illustrated by the stages from conception to adulthood, or again by the stages of cognitive development distinguished by Piaget. Sketching the developmental stages of virtue is beyond the scope of this article. Heuristic structures of "virtue" and "development," such as I do sketch here, would prepare the way for a dialectical (in Lonergan's sense) retrieval of accounts like Kohlberg's stages of the development of moral reasoning. For an outline and critique of Kohlberg's stages, see Brian Cronin, Value Ethics: A Lonergan Perspective (Nairobi: Consolata Institute of Philosophy, 2006) 398-409.

68 See Lonergan, Insight 718-25, 740-50; Lonergan, "Questionnaire on Philosophy: Response" 352-83, at 358-61.

69 "The initiative of development may be organic, psychic, intellectual, or external, but the development remains fragmentary until the principle of correspondence between different levels is satisfied" (Insight 496; see 495-97). I am grateful to Patrick Byrne for pointing out the significance of this passage.

70 See, e.g., Lonergan, "Human Good" 332-51, at 340; "Healing and Creating in History," in Third Collection 100-109, at 106-8.

71 See Lonergan, Grace and Freedom 127-28. The first operation of grace is the radical reorientation of the will (ST 1-2, q. Ill, a. 2; 3, q. 85, a. 5). It is a precondition for hearing, learning, drawing near to God (ST 1, q. 112, a. 2, esp. ad 2; and De virtutibus q. 1, a. 9, ad 16). But it cannot be the infused virtue of charity, for the supernatural love of God depends on an apprehension of God, by supernatural faith, as the object of beatitude (ST 2-2, q. 4, a. 7).

72 Lonergan, "Human Good" 340-42; Lawrence, "Christian Conversation," esp. 260-268.

73 See Lonergan's analysis of belief in Insight 728-35 and Method in Theology 41-47, but note that the preliminary judgments on the value of belief generally and the reliability of a particular source are, concretely and for the most part, taken for granted, i.e., assumed on the basis of a prior existential orientation, rather than discovered, formulated, pondered, affirmed, considered, and deliberately chosen.

74 See Lonergan, Insight 494-504; Doran, Theology and the Dialectics 82-85.

75 See Piaget's discussion of how rhythms rooted in psychic spontaneity are progressively regulated and eventually grouped (Psychology of Intelligence 183-90).

76 See Lonergan, Method in Theology 110-12; Insight 451-58.

77 See Lonergan, Insight 497-98.

78 I do not mean to include the cases of Jesus and Mary.

79 See Lonergan, Insight 207^4; Method in Theology 27-55; Piaget, Psychology of Intelligence 173-82; Doran, Theology and the Dialectics 231-39, 355-67; and Lawrence, "Christian Conversation." A helpful sociological introduction is Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (Garden City, N. Y.: Anchor, 1966), esp. 51-55, 59-61.

80 Lonergan, Insight 494-504.

81 See Lonergan, "Mediation of Christ" 174-76.

82 Lonergan, "Finality, Love, Marriage," in Collection 17-52, at 27. 1 am grateful to the many colleagues who deepened my understanding and sharpened my expression of these issues, especially Patrick Byrne, Daniel DeHaan, Dominic Doyle, Charles Hefling, Frederick Lawrence, and Philip McShane.

Author affiliation:

JEREMY D. WILKINS received his Ph.D. at Boston College and is now associate professor of systematic theology in the School of Theology, University of St. Thomas, Houston. His areas of special interest are Bernard Lonergan, Thomas Aquinas, Trinity, Christology, and grace. His most recent publications include "Trinitarian Missions and the Order of Grace according to Thomas Aquinas," in Philosophy and Theology in the Long Middle Ages, ed. Kent Emery Jr., et al. (2011); "Method, Order, and Analogy in Trinitarian Theology: Karl Rahner's Critique of the 'Psychological' Approach," Thomist 74.3 (2010). Forthcoming in Pro Ecclesia is "Love and Knowledge of God in the Human Life of Christ"; and "Why Two Divine Missions?: Development in Augustine, Aquinas, and Lonergan," Irish Theological Quarterly 77.1 (2012). In progress is a monograph entitled "Order and Analogy in Trinitarian Theology: The Achievement of Thomas Aquinas."

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