Summa - Supplement 1743
Objection 1: It would seem that not all merits and demerits, one's own as well as those of others, will be seen by anyone at a single glance. For things considered singly are not seen at one glance. Now the damned will consider their sins singly and will bewail them, wherefore they say (Sg 5,8): "What hath pride profited us?" Therefore they will not see them all at a glance.
Objection 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Topic. ii) that "we do not arrive at understanding several things at the same time." Now merits and demerits, both our own and those of others, will not be visible save to the intellect. Therefore it will be impossible for them all to be seen at the same time.
Objection 3: Further, the intellect of the damned after the resurrection will not be clearer than the intellect of the blessed and of the angels is now, as to the natural knowledge whereby they know things by innate species. Now by such knowledge the angels do not see several things at the same time. Therefore neither will the damned be able then to see all their deeds at the same time.
On the contrary, A gloss on Jb 8,22, "They . . . shall be clothed with confusion," says: "As soon as they shall see the Judge, all their evil deeds will stand before their eyes." Now they will see the Judge suddenly. Therefore in like manner will they see the evil they have done, and for the same reason all others.
Further, Augustine (De Civ. Dei xx) considers it unfitting that at the judgment a material book should be read containing the deeds of each individual written therein, for the reason that it would be impossible to measure the size of such a book, or the time it would take to read. But in like manner it would be impossible to estimate the length of time one would require in order to consider all one's merits and demerits and those of others, if one saw these various things one after the other. Therefore we must admit that each one sees them all at the same time.
I answer that, There are two opinions on this question. For some say that one will see all merits and demerits, both one's own and those of others, at the same time in an instant. This is easily credible with regard to the blessed, since they will see all things in the Word: and consequently it is not unreasonable that they should see several things at the same time. But with regard to the damned, a difficulty presents itself, since their intellect is not raised so that they can see God and all else in Him. Wherefore others say that the wicked will see all their sins and those of others generically at the same time: and this suffices for the accusation or absolution necessary for the judgment; but that they will not see them all down to each single one at the same time. But neither does this seem consonant with the words of Augustine (De Civ. Dei xx), who says that they will count them all with one glance of the mind; and what is known generically is not counted. Hence we may choose a middle way, by holding that they will consider each sin not instantaneously, but in a very short time, the Divine power coming to their aid. This agrees with the saying of Augustine (De Civ. Dei xx) that "they will be discerned with wondrous rapidity." Nor is this impossible, since in a space of time, however short, is potentially an infinite number of instants. This suffices for the replies to the objections on either side of the question.
We must next consider the general judgment, as to the time and place at which it will be. Under this head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether there will be a general judgment?
(2) Whether as regards the debate it will be conducted by word of mouth?
(3) Whether it will take place at an unknown time?
(4) Whether it will take place in the valley of Josaphat?
Objection 1: It would seem that there will not be a general judgment. For according to Nahum 1:9, following the Septuagint version, "God will not judge the same thing a second time." But God judges now of mans' every work, by assigning punishments and rewards to each one after death, and also by rewarding and punishing certain ones in this life for their good or evil deeds. Therefore it would seem that there will be no other judgment.
Objection 2: Further, in no judicial inquiry is the sentence carried cut before judgment is pronounced. But the sentence of the Divine judgment on man regards the acquisition of the kingdom or exclusion from the kingdom (Mt 25,34 Mt 25,41). Therefore since some obtain possession of the kingdom now, and some are excluded from it for ever, it would seem that there will be no other judgment.
Objection 3: Further, the reason why certain things are submitted to judgment is that we may come to a decision about them. Now before the end of the world each of the damned is awarded his damnation, and each of the blessed his beatitude. Therefore, etc.
On the contrary, It is written (Mt 12,41): "The men of Nineve shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it." Therefore there will be a judgment after the resurrection.
Further, it is written (Jn 5,29): "They that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life, but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment." Therefore it would seem that after the resurrection there will be a judgment.
I answer that, Just as operation refers to the beginning wherefrom things receive their being, so judgment belongs to the term, wherein they are brought to their end. Now we distinguish a twofold operation in God. One is that whereby He first gave things their being, by fashioning their nature and by establishing the distinctions which contribute to the perfection thereof: from this work God is stated to have rested (Gn 2,2). His other operation is that whereby He works in governing creatures; and of this it is written (Jn 5,17): "My Father worketh until now; and I work." Hence we distinguish in Him a twofold judgment, but in the reverse order. One corresponds to the work of governance which cannot be without judgment: and by this judgment each one is judged individually according to his works, not only as adapted to himself, but also as adapted to the government of the universe. Hence one man's reward is delayed for the good of others (He 11,13 He 11,39-40), and the punishment of one conduces to the profit of another. Consequently it is necessary that there should be another, and that a general judgment corresponding on the other hand with the first formation of things in being, in order that, to wit, just as then all things proceeded immediately from God, so at length the world will receive its ultimate complement, by each one receiving finally his own personal due. Hence at this judgment the Divine justice will be made manifest in all things, whereas now it remains hidden, for as much as at times some persons are dealt with for the profit of others, otherwise than their manifest works would seem to require. For this same reason there will then be a general separation of the good from the wicked, because there will be no further motive for the good to profit by the wicked, or the wicked by the good: for the sake of which profit the good are meanwhile mingled with the wicked, so long as this state of life is governed by Divine providence.
Reply to Objection 1: Each man is both an individual person and a part of the whole human race: wherefore a twofold judgment is due to him. One, the particular judgment, is that to which he will be subjected after death, when he will receive according as he hath done in the body [*Cf. 2Co 5,10], not indeed entirely but only in part since he will receive not in the body but only in the soul. The other judgment will be passed on him as a part of the human race: thus a man is said to be judged according to human justice, even when judgment is pronounced on the community of which he is a part. Hence at the general judgment of the whole human race by the general separation of the good from the wicked, it follows that each one will be judged. And yet God will not judge "the same thing a second time," since He will not inflict two punishments for one sin, and the punishment which before the judgment was not inflicted completely will be completed at the last judgment, after which the wicked will be tormented at the same time in body and soul.
Reply to Objection 2: The sentence proper to this general judgment is the general separation of the good from the wicked, which will not precede this judgment. Yet even now, as regards the particular sentence on each individual, the judgment does not at once take full effect since even the good will receive an increase of reward after the judgment, both from the added glory of the body and from the completion of the number of the saints. The wicked also will receive an increase of torment from the added punishment of the body and from the completion of the number of damned to be punished, because the more numerous those with whom they will burn, the more will they themselves burn.
Reply to Objection 3: The general judgment will regard more directly the generality of men than each individual to be judged, as stated above. Wherefore although before that judgment each one will be certain of his condemnation or reward, he will not be cognizant of the condemnation or reward of everyone else. Hence the necessity of the general judgment.
Objection 1: It would seem that this judgment, as regards the inquiry and sentence, will take place by word of mouth. For according to Augustine (De Civ. Dei xx) "it is uncertain how many days this judgment will last." But it would not be uncertain if the things we are told will take place at the judgment were to be accomplished only in the mind. Therefore this judgment will take place by word of mouth and not only in the mind.
Objection 2: Further, Gregory says (Moral. xxvi): "Those at least will hear the words of the Judge, who have confessed their faith in Him by words." Now this cannot be understood as referring to the inner word, because thus all will hear the Judge's words, since all the deeds of other men will be known to all both good and wicked. Therefore it seems that this judgment will take place by word of mouth.
Objection 3: Further, Christ will judge according to His human form, so as to be visible in the body to all. Therefore in like manner it seems that He will speak with the voice of the body, so as to be heard by all.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xx) that the book of life which is mentioned Apoc. 20:12, "is a kind of Divine energy enabling each one to remember all his good or evil works, and to discern them with the gaze of the mind, with wondrous rapidity, his knowledge accusing or defending his conscience, so that all and each will be judged at the same moment." But if each one's merits were discussed by word of mouth, all and each could not be judged at the same moment. Therefore it would seem that this judgment will not take place by word of mouth.
Further, the sentence should correspond proportionately to the evidence. Now the evidence both of accusation and of defense will be mental, according to Rm 2,15-16, "Their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing or also defending one another in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men." Therefore seemingly, this sentence and the entire judgment will take place mentally.
I answer that, It is not possible to come to any certain conclusion about the truth of this question. It is, however, the more probable opinion that the whole of this judgment, whether as regards the inquiry, or as regards the accusation of the wicked and the approval of the good or again as regards the sentence on both, will take place mentally. For if the deeds of each individual were to be related by word of mouth, this would require an inconceivable length of time. Thus Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xx) that "if we suppose the book, from the pages of which all will be judged according to Apoc. 20, to be a material book, who will be able to conceive its size and length? or the length of time required for the reading of a book that contains the entire life of every individual?" Nor is less time requisite for telling by word of mouth the deeds of each individual, than for reading them if they were written in a material book. Hence, probably we should understand that the details set forth in Mt 25 will be fulfilled not by word of mouth but mentally.
Reply to Objection 1: The reason why Augustine says that "it is uncertain how many days this judgment will last" is precisely because it is not certain whether it will take place mentally or by word of mouth. For if it were to take place by word of mouth, a considerable time would be necessary. but if mentally, it is possible for it to be accomplished in an instant.
Reply to Objection 2: Even if the judgment is accomplished solely in the mind, the saying of Gregory stands, since though all will be cognizant of their own and of others' deeds, as a result of the Divine energy which the Gospel describes as speech (Mt 25,84-46), nevertheless those who have had the faith which they received through God's words will be judged from those very words, for it is written (Rm 2,12): "Whosoever have sinned in the Law shall be judged by the Law." Hence in a special way something will be said to those who had been believers, which will not be said to unbelievers.
Reply to Objection 3: Christ will appear in body, so that the Judge may be recognized in the body by all, and it is possible for this to take place suddenly. But speech which is measured by time would require an immense length of time, if the judgment took place by word of mouth.
Objection 1: It would seem that the time of the future judgment is not unknown. For just as the holy Fathers looked forward to the first coming, so do we look forward to the second. But the holy Fathers knew the time of the first coming, as proved by the number of weeks mentioned in Daniel 9: wherefore the Jews are reproached for not knowing the time of Christ's coming (Lc 12,56): "You hypocrites, you know how to discern the face of the heaven and of the earth, but how is it that you do not discern this time?" Therefore it would seem that the time of the second coming when God will come to judgment should also be certified to us.
Objection 2: Further, we arrive by means of signs at the knowledge of the things signified. Now many signs of the coming judgment are declared to us in Scripture (Mt 24, Mc 13, Lc 21). Therefore we can arrive at the knowledge of that time.
Objection 3: Further, the Apostle says (1Co 10,11): "It is on us [*'These things . . . are written for our correction, upon whom the ends of the world are come'] that the ends of the world are come," and (1Jn 2,18): "Little children, it is the last hour," etc. Since then it is a long time since these things were said, it would seem that now at least we can know that the last judgment is nigh.
Objection 4: Further, there is no need for the time of the judgment to be hidden, except that each one may be careful to prepare himself for judgment, being in ignorance of the appointed time. Yet the same care would still be necessary even were the time known for certain, because each one is uncertain about the time of his death, of which Augustine says (Ep ad Hesych. cxcix) that "as each one's last day finds him, so will the world's last day find him." Therefore there is no necessity for the time of the judgment to be uncertain.
On the contrary, It is written (Mc 13,32): "Of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father." The Son, however, is said not to know in so far as He does not impart the knowledge to us.
Further, it is written (1Th 5,2): "The day of the Lord shall so come as a thief in the night." Therefore seemingly, as the coming of a thief in the night is altogether uncertain, the day of the last judgment is altogether uncertain.
I answer that, God is the cause of things by His knowledge [*Cf. I 14,8]. Now He communicates both these things to His creatures, since He both endows some with the power of action on others whereof they are the cause, and bestows on some the knowledge of things. But in both cases He reserves something to Himself, for He operates certain things wherein no creature co-operates with Him, and again He knows certain things which are unknown to any mere creature. Now this should apply to none more than to those things which are subject to the Divine power alone, and in which no creature co-operates with Him. Such is the end of the world when the day of judgment will come. For the world will come to an end by no created cause, even as it derived its existence immediately from God. Wherefore the knowledge of the end of the world is fittingly reserved to God. Indeed our Lord seems to assign this very reason when He said (Ac 1,7): "It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in His own power," as though He were to say, "which are reserved to His power alone."
Reply to Objection 1: At His first coming Christ came secretly according to Is 45,15, "Verily Thou art a hidden God, the God of Israel, the Saviour." Hence, that He might be recognized by believers, it was necessary for the time to be fixed beforehand with certainty. On the other hand, at the second coming, He will come openly, according to Ps 49,3, "God shall come manifestly." Consequently there can be no error affecting the knowledge of His coming. Hence the comparison fails.
Reply to Objection 2: As Augustine says, in his letter to Hesychius concerning the day of judgment (Ep. cxcix), "the signs mentioned in the Gospels do not all refer to the second advent which will happen at the end of the world, but some of them belong to the time of the sack of Jerusalem, which is now a thing of the past, while some, in fact many of them, refer to the advent whereby He comes daily to the Church, whom He visits spiritually when He dwells in us by faith and love." Moreover, the details mentioned in the Gospels and Epistles in connection with the last advent are not sufficient to enable us to determine the time of the judgment, for the trials that are foretold as announcing the proximity of Christ's coming occurred even at the time of the Early Church, in a degree sometimes more sometimes less marked; so that even the days of the apostles were called the last days (Ac 2,17) when Peter expounded the saying of Joel 2:28, "It shall come to pass in the last days," etc., as referring to that time. Yet it was already a long time since then: and sometimes there were more and sometimes less afflictions in the Church. Consequently it is impossible to decide after how long a time it will take place, nor fix the month, year, century, or thousand years as Augustine says in the same book (Ep ad Hesych. cxcix). And even if we are to believe that at the end these calamities will be more frequent, it is impossible to fix what amount of such calamities will immediately precede the judgment day or the coming of Antichrist, since even at the time of the Early Church persecutions were so bitter, and the corruptions of error were so numerous, that some looked forward to the coming of Antichrist as being near or imminent; as related in Eusebius' History of the Church (vi, 7) and in Jerome's book De Viris Illustribus lii.
Reply to Objection 3: The statement, "It is the last hour" and similar expressions that are to be found in Scripture do not enable us to know the exact length of time. For they are not intended to indicate a short length of time, but to signify the last state of the world, which is the last age of all, and it is not stated definitely how long this will last. Thus neither is fixed duration appointed to old age, which is the last age of man, since sometimes it is seen to last as long as or even longer than all the previous ages, as Augustine remarks (Qq. 83, qu. lviii). Hence also the Apostle (2Th 2,2) disclaims the false signification which some had given to his words, by believing that the day of the Lord was already at hand.
Reply to Objection 4: Notwithstanding the uncertainty of death, the uncertainty of the judgment conduces to watchfulness in two ways. First, as regards the thing ignored, since its delay is equal to the length of man's life, so that on either side uncertainty provokes him to greater care. Secondly, for the reason that a man is careful not only of his own person, but also of his family, or of his city or kingdom, or of the whole Church, the length of whose duration is not dependent on the length of man's life. And yet it behooves each of these to be so ordered that the day of the Lord find us not unprepared.
Objection 1: It would seem that the judgment will not take place in the valley of Josaphat or in the surrounding locality. For at least it will be necessary for those to be judged to stand on the ground, and those alone to be raised aloft whose business it will be to judge. But the whole land of promise would not be able to contain the multitude of those who are to be judged. Therefore it is impossible for the judgment to take place in the neighborhood of that valley.
Objection 2: Further, to Christ in His human form judgment is given that He may judge justly, since He was judged unjustly in the court of Pilate, and bore the sentence of an unjust judgment on Golgotha. Therefore these places would be more suitably appointed for the judgment.
Objection 3: Further, clouds result from the exhalation of vapors. But then there will be no evaporation or exhalation. Therefore it will be impossible for the just to be "taken up . . . in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air": and consequently it will be necessary for both good and wicked to be on the earth, so that a much larger place than this valley will be required.
On the contrary, It is written (Joel 3:2): "I will gather together all nations and will bring them down into the valley of Josaphat, and I will plead with them there."
Further, it is written (Ac 1,11): "(This Jesus) . . . shall so come as you have seen Him going into heaven." Now He ascended into heaven from Mount Olivet which overlooks the valley of Josaphat. Therefore He will come to judge in the neighborhood of that place.
I answer that, We cannot know with any great certainty the manner in which this judgment will take place, nor how men will gather together to the place of judgment; but it may be gathered from Scripture that in all probability He will descend in the neighborhood of Mount Olivet, even as He ascended from there, so as to show that He who descends is the same as He who ascended.
Reply to Objection 1: A great multitude can be enclosed in a small space. And all that is required is that in the neighborhood of that locality there be a space, however great, to contain the multitude of those who are to be judged, provided that Christ can be seen thence since being raised in the air, and shining with exceeding glory, He will be visible from a great distance.
Reply to Objection 2: Although through being sentenced unjustly Christ merited His judiciary power, He will not judge with the appearance of infirmity wherein He was judged unjustly, but under the appearance of glory wherein He ascended to the Father. Hence the place of His ascension is more suitable to the judgment than the place where He was condemned.
Reply to Objection 3: In the opinion of some the name of clouds is here given to certain condensations of the light shining from the bodies of the saints, and not to evaporations from earth and water. Or we may say that those clouds will be produced by Divine power in order to show the parallel between His coming to judge and His ascension; so that He Who ascended in a cloud may come to judgment in a cloud.
Again the cloud on account of its refreshing influence indicates the mercy of the Judge.
We must next consider who will judge and who will be judged at the general judgment. Under this head there are eight points of inquiry:
(1) Whether any men will judge together with Christ?
(2) Whether the judicial power corresponds to voluntary poverty?
(3) Whether the angels also will judge?
(4) Whether the demons will carry out the Judge's sentence on the damned?
(5) Whether all men will come up for judgment?
(6) Whether any of the good will be judged?
(7) Whether any of the wicked will be judged?
(8) Whether the angels also will be judged?
Objection 1: It would seem that no men will judge with Christ. For it is written (Jn 5,22-23): "The Father . . . hath given all judgment to the Son, that all men may honor the Son." Therefore, etc.
Objection 2: Further, whoever judges has authority over that which he judges. Now those things about which the coming judgment will have to be, such as human merits and demerits, are subject to Divine authority alone. Therefore no one is competent to judge of those things.
Objection 3: Further, this judgment will take place not vocally but mentally. Now the publication of merits and demerits in the hearts of all men (which is like an accusation or approval), or the repayment of punishment and reward (which is like the pronouncement of the sentence) will be the work of God alone. Therefore none but Christ Who is God will judge.
On the contrary, It is written (Mt 19,28): "You also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Therefore, etc.
Further, "The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of His people" (Is 3,14). Therefore it would seem that others also will judge together with Christ.
I answer that, To judge has several significations. First it is used causally as it were, when we say it of that which proves that some person ought to be judged. In this sense the expression is used of certain people in comparison, in so far as some are shown to be deserving of judgment through being compared with others: for instance (Mt 12,41): "The men of Nineve shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it." To rise in judgment thus is common to the good and the wicked. Secondly, the expression "to judge" is used equivalently, so to say; for consent to an action is considered equivalent to doing it. Wherefore those who will consent with Christ the Judge, by approving His sentence, will be said to judge. In this sense it will belong to all the elect to judge: wherefore it is written (Sg 3,7-8): "The just . . . shall judge nations." Thirdly, a person is said to judge assessorially and by similitude, because he is like the judge in that his seat* is raised above the others: and thus assessors are said to judge. [*An "assessor" is one who "sits by" the judge.] Some say that the perfect to whom judiciary power is promised (Mt 19,28) will judge in this sense, namely that they will be raised to the dignity of assessors, because they will appear above others at the judgment, and go forth "to meet Christ, into the air." But this apparently does not suffice for the fulfilment of our Lord's promise (Mt 19,28): "You shall sit . . . judging," for He would seem to make "judging" something additional to "sitting." Hence there is a fourth way of judging, which will be competent to perfect men as containing the decrees of Divine justice according to which men will be judged: thus a book containing the law might be said to judge: wherefore it is written (Ap 20,12): "(Judgment took her seat*) and the books were opened." [*The words in brackets are not in the Vulgate. Apoc. 20:4 we find: "I saw seats, and they sat upon them and judgment was given to them."] Richard of St. Victor expounds this judging in this way (De judic. potest.), wherefore he says: "Those who persevere in Divine contemplation, who read every day the book of wisdom, transcribe, so to speak, in their hearts whatever they grasp by their clear insight of the truth"; and further on: "What else are the hearts of those who judge, divinely instructed in all truth, but a codex of the law?" Since, however, judging denotes an action exercised on another person, it follows that, properly speaking, he is said to judge who pronounces judgment on another. But this happens in two ways. First, by his own authority: and this belongs to the one who has dominion and power over others, and to whose ruling those who are judged are subject, wherefore it belongs to him to pass judgment on them. In this sense to judge belongs to God alone. Secondly, to judge is to acquaint others of the sentence delivered by another's authority, that is to announce the verdict already given. In this way perfect men will judge, because they will lead others to the knowledge of Divine justice, that these may know what is due to them on account of their merits: so that this very revelation of justice is called judgment. Hence Richard of St. Victor says (De judic. potest.) that for "the judges to open the books of their decree in the presence of those who are to be judged signifies that they open their hearts to the gaze of all those who are below them, and that they reveal their knowledge in whatever pertains to the judgment."
Reply to Objection 1: This objection considers the judgment of authority which belongs to Christ alone: and the same answer applies to the Second Objection.
Reply to Objection 3: There is no reason why some of the saints should not reveal certain things to others, either by way of enlightenment, as the higher angels enlighten the lower [*Cf. I 106,0],: or by way of speech as the lower angels speak to the higher [*Cf. I 107,2].
Objection 1: It would seem that the judicial power does not correspond to voluntary poverty. For it was promised to none but the twelve apostles (Mt 19,28): "You shall sit on twelve seats, judging," etc. Since then those who are voluntarily poor are not all apostles, it would seem that the judicial power is not competent to all.
Objection 2: Further, to offer sacrifice to God of one's own body is more than to do so of outward things. Now martyrs and also virgins offer sacrifice to God of their own body. whereas the voluntarily poor offer sacrifice of outward things. Therefore the sublimity of the judicial power is more in keeping with martyrs and virgins than with those who are voluntarily poor.
Objection 3: Further, it is written (Jn 5,45): "There is one that accuseth you, Moses in whom you trust---because you believe not his voice," according to a gloss, and (Jn 12,48): "The word that I have spoken shall judge him in the last day." Therefore the fact that a man propounds a law, or exhorts men by word to lead a good life, gives him the right to judge those who scorn his utterances. But this belongs to doctors. Therefore it is more competent to doctors than to those who are poor voluntarily.
Objection 4: Further, Christ through being judged unjustly merited as man to be judge of all in His human nature [*Cf. III 59,6], according to Jn 5,27, "He hath given Him power to do judgment, because He is the Son of man." Now those who suffer persecution for justice' sake are judged unjustly. Therefore the judicial power is competent to them rather than to the voluntarily poor.
Objection 5: Further, a superior is not judged by his inferior. Now many who will have made lawful use of riches will have greater merit than many of the voluntarily poor. Therefore the voluntarily poor will not judge where those are to be judged.
On the contrary, It is written (Jb 36,6): "He saveth not the wicked, and He giveth judgment to the poor."
Further, a gloss on Mt 19,28, "You who have left all things' [*Vulg.: 'You who have followed Me']" says: "Those who left all things and followed God will be the judges; those who made right use of what they had lawfully will be judged," and thus the same conclusion follows as before.
I answer that, The judicial power is due especially to poverty on three counts. First, by reason of congruity, since voluntary poverty belongs to those who despise all the things of the world and cleave to Christ alone. Consequently there is nothing in them to turn away their judgment from justice, so that they are rendered competent to be judges as loving the truth of justice above all things. Secondly, by reason of merit, since exaltation corresponds by way of merit to humility. Now of all the things that make man contemptible in this world humility is the chief: and for this reason the excellence of judicial power is promised to the poor, so that he who humbles himself for Christ's sake shall be exalted. Thirdly, because poverty disposes a man to the aforesaid manner of judging. For the reason why one of the saints will be said to judge as stated above [*Cf. Article ], is that he will have the heart instructed in all Divine truth which he will be thus able to make known to others. Now in the advancement to perfection, the first thing that occurs to be renounced is external wealth, because this is the last thing of all to be acquired. And that which is last in the order of generation is the first in the order of destruction: wherefore among the beatitudes whereby we advance to perfection, the first place is given to poverty. Thus judicial power corresponds to poverty, in so far as this is the disposition to the aforesaid perfection. Hence also it is that this same power is not promised to all who are voluntarily poor, but to those who leave all and follow Christ in accordance with the perfection of life.
Reply to Objection 1: According to Augustine (De Civ. Dei xx), "we must not imagine that because He says that they will sit on twelve seats only twelve men will judge with Him. else since we read that Matthias was appointed apostle in the place of the traitor Judas, Paul who worked more than the rest will have nowhere to sit as judge." Hence "the number twelve," as he states (De Civ. Dei xx), "signifies the whole multitude of those who will judge, because the two parts of seven, namely three and four, being multiplied together make twelve." Moreover twelve is a perfect number, being the double of six, which is a perfect number.
Or, speaking literally, He spoke to the twelve apostles in whose person he made this promise to all who follow them.
Reply to Objection 2: Virginity and martyrdom do not dispose man to retain the precepts of Divine justice in his heart in the same degree as poverty does: even so, on the other hand, outward riches choke the word of God by the cares which they entail (Lc 8,14). Or we may reply that poverty does not suffice alone to merit judicial power, but is the fundamental part of that perfection to which the judicial power corresponds. Wherefore among those things regarding perfection which follow after poverty we may reckon both virginity and martyrdom and all the works of perfection: yet they do not rank as high as poverty, since the beginning of a thing is its chief part.
Reply to Objection 3: He who propounded the law or urged men to good will judge, in the causal (Cf. Article ) sense, because others will be judged in reference to the words he has uttered or propounded. Hence the judicial power does not properly correspond to preaching or teaching. or we may reply that, as some say, three things are requisite for the judicial power; first, that one renounce temporal cares, lest the mind be hindered from the contemplation of wisdom; secondly that one possess Divine justice by way of habit both as to knowledge and as to observance; thirdly that one should have taught others this same justice; and this teaching will be the perfection whereby a man merits to have judicial power.
Reply to Objection 4: Christ humbled Himself in that He was judged unjustly; for "He was offered because it was His own will" (Is 53,7): and by His humility He merited His exaltation to judicial power, since all things are made subject to Him (Ph 2,8-9). Hence, judicial power is more due to them who humble themselves of their own will by renouncing temporal goods, on account of which men are honored by worldlings, than to those who are humbled by others.
Reply to Objection 5: An inferior cannot judge a superior by his own authority, but he can do so by the authority of a superior, as in the case of a judge-delegate. Hence it is not unfitting that it be granted to the poor as an accidental reward to judge others, even those who have higher merit in respect of the essential reward.
Summa - Supplement 1743