Man’s Twofold End
“The end towards which created things are directed by God is twofold; one which exceeds all proportion and faculty of created nature; and this end is life eternal, that consists in seeing God which is above the nature of every creature, as shown above (Q. 12, 4). The other end, however, is proportionate to created nature, to which end created being can attain according to the power of its nature.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Prima Pars, Q. 23, a. 1.
“Now there is a twofold ultimate perfection of rational or intellectual nature. The first is one which it can procure of its own natural power; and this is in a measure called beatitude or happiness. Hence Aristotle (Ethic. X.) says that man’s ultimate happiness consists in his most perfect contemplation, whereby in this life he can behold the best intelligible object; and that is God. Above this happiness there is still another, which we look forward to in the future, whereby we shall see God as He is. This is beyond the nature of every created intellect, as was shown above (Q. 12, 4.).
-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Prima Pars, Q. 62, a.1. (emphasis his.)
Man’s Natural Desire For God
“…knowledge precedes the movement of the will. But the knowledge of the supernatural end comes to man from God, since man could not attain it by natural reason because it exceeds his natural capacity. So, divine help must precede the movements of our will toward the ultimate end.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapt. 149, no.5.
“Indeed, the movement whereby we are directed by grace to our ultimate end is voluntary, not violent, as we showed above. Now, there cannot be a voluntary movement toward something unless it is known. So, the knowledge of the ultimate end must be accorded us by grace, so that we may be voluntarily directed to it. But this knowledge cannot be by means of open vision in this life, as we showed above. Therefore, this knowledge must be through faith.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapt. 152, no.2.
“Moreover, no one is moved toward an end that he judges impossible to attain. So, in order that a person may push forward toward the end, he must have a feeling toward the end as toward something possible of attainment, and this is the feeling of hope. Therefore, since man is directed toward his ultimate end of happiness by grace, it was necessary for the hope of attaining happiness to be impressed on man’s power of feeling by means of grace.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapt. 153, no.5.