Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.83 a.15

Whether prayer is meritorious?

Objection: 1. It would seem that prayer is not meritorious. All merit proceeds from grace. But prayer precedes grace, since even grace is obtained by means of prayer according to Lc 11,13, "(How much more) will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask Him!" Therefore prayer is not a meritorious act.
2. Further, if prayer merits anything, this would seem to be chiefly that which is besought in prayer. Yet it does not always merit this, because even the saints' prayers are frequently not heard; thus Paul was not heard when he besought the sting of the flesh to be removed from him. Therefore prayer is not a meritorious act.
3. Further, prayer is based chiefly on faith, according to Jc 1,6, "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." Now faith is not sufficient for merit, as instanced in those who have lifeless faith. Therefore prayer is not a meritorious act.

On the contrary A gloss on the words of Ps 34,13, "My prayer shall be turned into my bosom," explains them as meaning, "if my prayer does not profit them, yet shall not I be deprived of my reward." Now reward is not due save to merit. Therefore prayer is meritorious.
I answer that As stated above (Article [13]) prayer, besides causing spiritual consolation at the time of praying, has a twofold efficacy in respect of a future effect, namely, efficacy in meriting and efficacy in impetrating. Now prayer, like any other virtuous act, is efficacious in meriting, because it proceeds from charity as its root, the proper object of which is the eternal good that we merit to enjoy. Yet prayer proceeds from charity through the medium of religion, of which prayer is an act, as stated above (Article [3]), and with the concurrence of other virtues requisite for the goodness of prayer, viz. humility and faith. For the offering of prayer itself to God belongs to religion, while the desire for the thing. that we pray to be accomplished belongs to charity. Faith is necessary in reference to God to Whom we pray; that is, we need to believe that we can obtain from Him what we seek. Humility is necessary on the part of the person praying, because he recognizes his neediness. Devotion too is necessary: but this belongs to religion, for it is its first act and a necessary condition of all its secondary acts, as stated above (Question [82], Articles [1],2).As to its efficacy in impetrating, prayer derives this from the grace of God to Whom we pray, and Who instigates us to pray. Wherefore Augustine says (De Verb. Dom., Serm. cv, 1): "He would not urge us to ask, unless He were willing to give"; and Chrysostom [*Cf. Catena Aurea of St. Thomas on Lc 18. The words as quoted are not to be found in the words of Chrysostom] says: "He never refuses to grant our prayers, since in His loving-kindness He urged us not to faint in praying."

Reply to Objection: 1. Neither prayer nor any other virtuous act is meritorious without sanctifying grace. And yet even that prayer which impetrates sanctifying grace proceeds from some grace, as from a gratuitous gift, since the very act of praying is "a gift of God," as Augustine states (De Persever. xxiii).
2. Sometimes the merit of prayer regards chiefly something distinct from the object of one's petition. For the chief object of merit is beatitude, whereas the direct object of the petition of prayer extends sometimes to certain other things, as stated above (Articles [6],7). Accordingly if this other thing that we ask for ourselves be not useful for our beatitude, we do not merit it; and sometimes by asking for and desiring such things we lose merit for instance if we ask of God the accomplishment of some sin, which would be an impious prayer. And sometimes it is not necessary for salvation, nor yet manifestly contrary thereto; and then although he who prays may merit eternal life by praying, yet he does not merit to obtain what he asks for. Hence Augustine says (Liber. Sentent. Prosperi sent. ccxii): "He who faithfully prays God for the necessaries of this life, is both mercifully heard, and mercifully not heard. For the physician knows better than the sick man what is good for the disease." For this reason, too, Paul was not heard when he prayed for the removal of the sting in his flesh, because this was not expedient. If, however, we pray for something that is useful for our beatitude, through being conducive to salvation, we merit it not only by praying, but also by doing other good deeds: therefore without any doubt we receive what we ask for, yet when we ought to receive it: "since certain things are not denied us, but are deferred that they may be granted at a suitable time," according to Augustine (Tract. cii in Joan.): and again this may be hindered if we persevere not in asking for it. Wherefore Basil says (De Constit. Monast. i): "The reason why sometimes thou hast asked and not received, is because thou hast asked amiss, either inconsistently, or lightly, or because thou hast asked for what was not good for thee, or because thou hast ceased asking." Since, however, a man cannot condignly merit eternal life for another, as stated above (FS, Question [114], Article [6]), it follows that sometimes one cannot condignly merit for another things that pertain to eternal life. For this reason we are not always heard when we pray for others, as stated above (Article [7], ad 2,3). Hence it is that four conditions are laid down; namely, to ask---"for ourselves---things necessary for salvation---piously---perseveringly"; when all these four concur, we always obtain what we ask for.
3. Prayer depends chiefly on faith, not for its efficacy in meriting, because thus it depends chiefly on charity, but for its efficacy in impetrating, because it is through faith that man comes to know of God's omnipotence and mercy, which are the source whence prayer impetrates what it asks for.

Whether sinners impetrate anything from God by their prayers?

Objection: 1. It would seem that sinners impetrate nothing from God by their prayers. It is written (Jn 9,31): "We know that God doth not hear sinners"; and this agrees with the saying of Pr 28,9, "He that turneth away his ears from hearing the law, his prayer shall be an abomination." Now an abominable prayer impetrates nothing from God. Therefore sinners impetrate nothing from God.
2. Further, the just impetrate from God what they merit, as stated above (Article [15], ad 2). But sinners cannot merit anything since they lack grace and charity which is the "power of godliness," according to a gloss on 2Tm 3,5, "Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof." and so their prayer is impious, and yet piety it required in order that prayer may be impetrative, as stated above (Article [15], ad 2). Therefore sinners impetrate nothing by their prayers.
3. Further, Chrysostom [*Hom. xiv in the Opus Imperfectum falsely ascribed to St. John Chrysostom] says: "The Father is unwilling to hear the prayer which the Son has not inspired." Now in the prayer inspired by Christ we say: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us": and sinners do not fulfil this. Therefore either they lie in saying this, and so are unworthy to be heard, or, if they do not say it, they are not heard, because they do not observe the form of prayer instituted by Christ.

On the contrary Augustine says (Tract. xliv, super Joan.): "If God were not to hear sinners, the publican would have vainly said: Lord, be merciful to me a sinner"; and Chrysostom [*Hom. xviii of the same Opus Imperfectum] says: "Everyone that asketh shall receive, that is to say whether he be righteous or sinful."
I answer that In the sinner, two things are to be considered: his nature which God loves, and the sin which He hates. Accordingly when a sinner prays for something as sinner, i.e. in accordance with a sinful desire, God hears him not through mercy but sometimes through vengeance when He allows the sinner to fall yet deeper into sin. For "God refuses in mercy what He grants in anger," as Augustine declares (Tract. lxxiii in Joan.). On the other hand God hears the sinner's prayer if it proceed from a good natural desire, not out of justice, because the sinner does not merit to be heard, but out of pure mercy [*Cf. Article [15], ad 1], provided however he fulfil the four conditions given above, namely, that he beseech for himself things necessary for salvation, piously and perseveringly.

Reply to Objection: 1. As Augustine states (Tract. xliv super Joan.), these words were spoken by the blind man before being anointed, i.e. perfectly enlightened, and consequently lack authority. And yet there is truth in the saying if it refers to a sinner as such, in which sense also the sinner's prayer is said to be an abomination.
2. There can be no godliness in the sinner's prayer as though his prayer were quickened by a habit of virtue: and yet his prayer may be godly in so far as he asks for something pertaining to godliness. Even so a man who has not the habit of justice is able to will something just, as stated above (Question [59], Article [2]). And though his prayer is not meritorious, it can be impetrative, because merit depends on justice, whereas impetration rests on grace.
3. As stated above (Article [7], ad 1) the Lord's Prayer is pronounced in the common person of the whole Church: and so if anyone say the Lord's Prayer while unwilling to forgive his neighbor's trespasses, he lies not, although his words do not apply to him personally: for they are true as referred to the person of the Church, from which he is excluded by merit, and consequently he is deprived of the fruit of his prayer. Sometimes, however, a sinner is prepared to forgive those who have trespassed against him, wherefore his prayers are heard, according to Si 28,2, "Forgive thy neighbor if he hath hurt thee, and then shall thy sins be forgiven to thee when thou prayest."

Whether the parts of prayer are fittingly described as supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings?

Objection: 1. It would seem that the parts of prayer are unfittingly described as supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings. Supplication would seem to be a kind of adjuration. Yet, according to Origen (Super Matth. Tract. xxxv), "a man who wishes to live according to the gospel need not adjure another, for if it be unlawful to swear, it is also unlawful to adjure." Therefore supplication is unfittingly reckoned a part of prayer.
2. Further, according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. iii, 24), "to pray is to ask becoming things of God." Therefore it is unfitting to distinguish "prayers" from "intercessions."
3. Further, thanksgivings regard the past, while the others regard the future. But the past precedes the future. Therefore thanksgivings are unfittingly placed after the others.

On the contrary suffices the authority of the Apostle (1Tm 2,1).
I answer that Three conditions are requisite for prayer. First, that the person who prays should approach God Whom he prays: this is signified in the word "prayer," because prayer is "the raising up of one's mind to God." The second is that there should be a petition, and this is signified in the word "intercession." In this case sometimes one asks for something definite, and then some say it is "intercession" properly so called, or we may ask for some thing indefinitely, for instance to be helped by God, or we may simply indicate a fact, as in Jn 11,3, "Behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick," and then they call it "insinuation." The third condition is the reason for impetrating what we ask for: and this either on the part of God, or on the part of the person who asks. The reason of impetration on the part of God is His sanctity, on account of which we ask to be heard, according to Da 9,17-18, "For Thy own sake, incline, O God, Thy ear"; and to this pertains "supplication" [obsecratio] which means a pleading through sacred things, as when we say, "Through Thy nativity, deliver us, O Lord." The reason for impetration on the part of the person who asks is "thanksgiving"; since "through giving thanks for benefits received we merit to receive yet greater benefits," as we say in the collect [*Ember Friday in September and Postcommunion of the common of a Confessor Bishop]. Hence a gloss on 1Tm 2,1 says that "in the Mass, the consecration is preceded by supplication," in which certain sacred things are called to mind; that "prayers are in the consecration itself," in which especially the mind should be raised up to God; and that "intercessions are in the petitions that follow, and thanksgivings at the end."We may notice these four things in several of the Church's collects. Thus in the collect of Trinity Sunday the words, "Almighty eternal God" belong to the offering up of prayer to God; the words, "Who hast given to Thy servants," etc. belong to thanksgiving; the words, "grant, we beseech Thee," belong to intercession; and the words at the end, "Through Our Lord," etc. belong to supplication.In the "Conferences of the Fathers" (ix, cap. 11, seqq.) we read: "Supplication is bewailing one's sins; prayer is vowing something to God; intercession is praying for others; thanksgiving is offered by the mind to God in ineffable ecstasy." The first explanation, however, is the better.

Reply to Objection: 1. "Supplication" is an adjuration not for the purpose of compelling, for this is forbidden, but in order to implore mercy.
2. "Prayer" in the general sense includes all the things mentioned here; but when distinguished from the others it denotes properly the ascent to God.
3. Among things that are diverse the past precedes the future; but the one and same thing is future before it is past. Hence thanksgiving for other benefits precedes intercession: but one and the same benefit is first sought, and finally, when it has been received, we give thanks for it. Intercession is preceded by prayer whereby we approach Him of Whom we ask: and prayer is preceded by supplication, whereby through the consideration of God's goodness we dare approach Him.




In due sequence we must consider the external acts of latria, and in the first place, adoration whereby one uses one's body to reverence God; secondly, those acts whereby some external thing is offered to God; thirdly, those acts whereby something belonging to God is assumed.

Under the first head there are three points of inquiry:

(1) Whether adoration is an act of latria?

(2) Whether adoration denotes an internal or an external act?

(3) Whether adoration requires a definite place?

Whether adoration is an act of latria or religion?

Objection: 1. It would seem that adoration is not an act of latria or religion. The worship of religion is due to God alone. But adoration is not due to God alone: since we read (Gn 18,2) that Abraham adored the angels; and (1R 1,23) that the prophet Nathan, when he was come in to king David, "worshiped him bowing down to the ground." Therefore adoration is not an act of religion.
2. Further, the worship of religion is due to God as the object of beatitude, according to Augustine (De Civ. Dei x, 3): whereas adoration is due to Him by reason of His majesty, since a gloss on Ps 28,2, "Adore ye the Lord in His holy court," says: "We pass from these courts into the court where we adore His majesty." Therefore adoration is not an act of latria.
3. Further, the worship of one same religion is due to the three Persons. But we do not adore the three Persons with one adoration, for we genuflect at each separate invocation of Them [*At the adoration of the Cross, on Good Friday]. Therefore adoration is nol an act of latria.

On the contrary are the words quoted Mt 4,10: "The Lord thy God shalt thou adore and Him only shalt thou serve."
I answer that Adoration is directed to the reverence of the person adored. Now it is evident from what we have said (Question [81], Articles [2],4) that it is proper to religion to show reverence to God. Hence the adoration whereby we adore God is an act of religion.

Reply to Objection: 1. Reverence is due to God on account of His excellence, which is communicated to certain creatures not in equal measure, but according to a measure of proportion; and so the reverence which we pay to God, and which belongs to latria, differs from the reverence which we pay to certain excellent creatures; this belongs to dulia, and we shall speak of it further on (Question [103]). And since external actions are signs of internal reverence, certain external tokens significative of reverence are offered to creatures of excellence, and among these tokens the chief is adoration: yet there is one thing which is offered to God alone, and that is sacrifice. Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x, 4): "Many tokens of Divine worship are employed in doing honor to men, either through excessive humility, or through pernicious flattery; yet so that those to whom these honors are given are recognized as being men to whom we owe esteem and reverence and even adoration if they be far above us. But who ever thought it his duty to sacrifice to any other than one whom he either knew or deemed or pretended to be a God?" Accordingly it was with the reverence due to an excellent creature that Nathan adored David; while it was the reverence due to God with which Mardochai refused to adore Aman fearing "lest he should transfer the honor of his God to a man" (Esther 13:14).Again with the reverence due to an excellent creature Abraham adored the angels, as did also Josue (Jos 5,15): though we may understand them to have adored, with the adoration of latria, God Who appeared and spoke to them in the guise of an angel. It was with the reverence due to God that John was forbidden to adore the angel (Ap 22,9), both to indicate the dignity which he had acquired through Christ, whereby man is made equal to an angel: wherefore the same text goes on: "I am thy fellow-servant and of thy brethren"; as also to exclude any occasion of idolatry, wherefore the text continues: "Adore God."
2. Every Divine excellency is included in His majesty: to which it pertains that we should be made happy in Him as in the sovereign good.
3. Since there is one excellence of the three Divine Persons, one honor and reverence is due to them and consequently one adoration. It is to represent this that where it is related (Gn 18,2) that three men appeared to Abraham, we are told that he addressed one, saying: "Lord, if I have found favor in thy sight," etc. The triple genuflection represents the Trinity of Persons, not a difference of adoration.

Whether adoration denotes an action of the body?

Objection: 1. It would seem that adoration does not denote an act of the body. It is written (Jn 4,23): "The true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth." Now what is done in spirit has nothing to do with an act of the body. Therefore adoration does not denote an act of the body.
2. Further, the word adoration is taken from "oratio" [prayer]. But prayer consists chiefly in an interior act, according to 1Co 14,15, "I will pray with the spirit, I will pray also with the understanding." Therefore adoration denotes chiefly a spiritual act.
3. Further, acts of the body pertain to sensible knowledge: whereas we approach God not by bodily but by spiritual sense. Therefore adoration does not denote an act of the body.

On the contrary A gloss on Ex 20,5, "Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them," says: "Thou shalt neither worship them in mind, nor adore them outwardly."
I answer that As Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv, 12), since we are composed of a twofold nature, intellectual and sensible, we offer God a twofold adoration; namely, a spiritual adoration, consisting in the internal devotion of the mind; and a bodily adoration, which consists in an exterior humbling of the body. And since in all acts of latria that which is without is referred to that which is within as being of greater import, it follows that exterior adoration is offered on account of interior adoration, in other words we exhibit signs of humility in our bodies in order to incite our affections to submit to God, since it is connatural to us to proceed from the sensible to the intelligible.

Reply to Objection: 1. Even bodily adoration is done in spirit, in so far as it proceeds from and is directed to spiritual devotion.
2. Just as prayer is primarily in the mind, and secondarily expressed in words, as stated above (Question [83], Article [12]), so too adoration consists chiefly in an interior reverence of God, but secondarily in certain bodily signs of humility; thus when we genuflect we signify our weakness in comparison with God, and when we prostrate ourselves we profess that we are nothing of ourselves.
3. Though we cannot reach God with the senses, our mind is urged by sensible signs to approach God.

Whether adoration requires a definite place?

Objection: 1. It would seem that adoration does not require a definite place. It is written (Jn 4,21): "The hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father"; and the same reason seems to apply to other places. Therefore a definite place is not necessary for adoration.
2. Further, exterior adoration is directed to interior adoration. But interior adoration is shown to God as existing everywhere. Therefore exterior adoration does not require a definite place.
3. Further, the same God is adored in the New as in the Old Testament. Now in the Old Testament they adored towards the west, because the door of the Tabernacle looked to the east (Ex 26,18 seqq.). Therefore for the same reason we ought now to adore towards the west, if any definite place be requisite for adoration.

On the contrary It is written (Is 56,7): "My house shall be called the house of prayer," which words are also quoted (Jn 2,16).
I answer that As stated above (Article [2]), the chief part of adoration is the internal devotion of the mind, while the secondary part is something external pertaining to bodily signs. Now the mind internally apprehends God as not comprised in a place; while bodily signs must of necessity be in some definite place and position. Hence a definite place is required for adoration, not chiefly, as though it were essential thereto, but by reason of a certain fittingness, like other bodily signs.

Reply to Objection: 1. By these words our Lord foretold the cessation of adoration, both according to the rite of the Jews who adored in Jerusalem, and according to the rite of the Samaritans who adored on Mount Garizim. For both these rites ceased with the advent of the spiritual truth of the Gospel, according to which "a sacrifice is offered to God in every place," as stated in Malach. 1:11.
2. A definite place is chosen for adoration, not on account of God Who is adored, as though He were enclosed in a place, but on account of the adorers; and this for three reasons. First, because the place is consecrated, so that those who pray there conceive a greater devotion and are more likely to be heard, as may be seen in the prayer of Solomon (1R 8). Secondly, on account of the sacred mysteries and other signs of holiness contained therein. Thirdly, on account of the concourse of many adorers, by reason of which their prayer is more likely to be heard, according to Mt 18,20, "Where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them."
3. There is a certain fittingness in adoring towards the east. First, because the Divine majesty is indicated in the movement of the heavens which is from the east. Secondly, because Paradise was situated in the east according to the Septuagint version of Gn 2,8, and so we signify our desire to return to Paradise. Thirdly, on account of Christ Who is "the light of the world" [*Jn 8,12 Jn 9,5], and is called "the Orient" (Zach. 6:12). Who mounteth above the heaven of heavens to the east (Ps 67,34), and is expected to come from the east, according to Mt 24,27, "As lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be."

SERVICE BY GIFT (Questions [85]-87)


In due sequence we must consider those acts whereby external things are offered to God. These give rise to a twofold consideration: (1) Of things given to God by the faithful; (2) Of vows, whereby something is promised to Him.

Under the first head we shall consider sacrifices, oblations, first-fruits, and tithes. About sacrifices there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether offering a sacrifice to God is of the law of nature?

(2) Whether sacrifice should be offered to God alone?

(3) Whether the offering of a sacrifice is a special act of virtue?

(4) Whether all are bound to offer sacrifice?

Whether offering a sacrifice to God is of the law of nature?

Objection: 1. It would seem that offering a sacrifice to God is not of the natural law. Things that are of the natural law are common among all men. Yet this is not the case with sacrifices: for we read of some, e.g. Melchisedech (Gn 14,18), offering bread and wine in sacrifice, and of certain animals being offered by some, and others by others. Therefore the offering of sacrifices is not of the natural law.
2. Further, things that are of the natural law were observed by all just men. Yet we do not read that Isaac offered sacrifice; nor that Adam did so, of whom nevertheless it is written (Sg 10,2) that wisdom "brought him out of his sin." Therefore the offering of sacrifice is not of the natural law.
3. Further, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x, 5,19) that sacrifices are offered in signification of something. Now words which are chief among signs, as he again says (De Doctr. Christ. ii, 3), "signify, not by nature but by convention," according to the Philosopher (Peri Herm. i, 2). Therefore sacrifices are not of the natural law.

On the contrary At all times and among all nations there has always been the offering of sacrifices. Now that which is observed by all is seemingly natural. Therefore the offering of sacrifices is of the natural law.
I answer that Natural reason tells man that he is subject to a higher being, on account of the defects which he perceives in himself, and in which he needs help and direction from someone above him: and whatever this superior being may be, it is known to all under the name of God. Now just as in natural things the lower are naturally subject to the higher, so too it is a dictate of natural reason in accordance with man's natural inclination that he should tender submission and honor, according to his mode, to that which is above man. Now the mode befitting to man is that he should employ sensible signs in order to signify anything, because he derives his knowledge from sensibles. Hence it is a dictate of natural reason that man should use certain sensibles, by offering them to God in sign of the subjection and honor due to Him, like those who make certain offerings to their lord in recognition of his authority. Now this is what we mean by a sacrifice, and consequently the offering of sacrifice is of the natural law.

Reply to Objection: 1. As stated above (FS, Question [95], Article [2]), certain things belong generically to the natural law, while their determination belongs to the positive law; thus the natural law requires that evildoers should be punished; but that this or that punishment should be inflicted on them is a matter determined by God or by man. In like manner the offering of sacrifice belongs generically to the natural law, and consequently all are agreed on this point, but the determination of sacrifices is established by God or by man, and this is the reason for their difference.
2. Adam, Isaac and other just men offered sacrifice to God in a manner befitting the times in which they lived, according to Gregory, who says (Moral. iv, 3) that in olden times original sin was remitted through the offering of sacrifices. Nor does Scripture mention all the sacrifices of the just, but only those that have something special connected with them. Perhaps the reason why we read of no sacrifice being offered by Adam may be that, as the origin of sin is ascribed to him, the origin of sanctification ought not to be represented as typified in him. Isaac was a type of Christ, being himself offered in sacrifice; and so there was no need that he should be represented as offering a sacrifice.
3. It is natural to man to express his ideas by signs, but the determination of those signs depends on man's pleasure.

Whether sacrifice should be offered to God alone?

Objection: 1. It would seem that sacrifice should not be offered to the most high God alone. Since sacrifice ought to be offered to God, it would seem that it ought to be offered to all such as are partakers of the Godhead. Now holy men are made "partakers of the Divine nature," according to 2P 1,4; wherefore of them is it written (Ps 81,6): "I have said, You are gods": and angels too are called "sons of God," according to Jb 1,6. Thus sacrifice should be offered to all these.
2. Further, the greater a person is the greater the honor due to him from man. Now the angels and saints are far greater than any earthly princes: and yet the subjects of the latter pay them much greater honor, by prostrating before them, and offering them gifts, than is implied by offering an animal or any other thing in sacrifice. Much more therefore may one offer sacrifice to the angels and saints.
3. Further, temples and altars are raised for the offering of sacrifices. Yet temples and altars are raised to angels and saints. Therefore sacrifices also may be offered to them.

On the contrary It is written (Ex 22,20): "He that sacrificeth to gods shall be put to death, save only to the Lord."
I answer that As stated above (Article [1]), a sacrifice is offered in order that something may be represented. Now the sacrifice that is offered outwardly represents the inward spiritual sacrifice, whereby the soul offers itself to God according to Ps 50,19, "A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit," since, as stated above (Question [81], Article [7]; Question [84], Article [2]), the outward acts of religion are directed to the inward acts. Again the soul offers itself in sacrifice to God as its beginning by creation, and its end by beatification: and according to the true faith God alone is the creator of our souls, as stated in the FP, Question [90], Article [3]; FS, Question [118], Article [2], while in Him alone the beatitude of our soul consists, as stated above (FS, Question [1], Article [8]; FS, Question [2], Article [8]; FS, Question [3], Articles [1],7,8). Wherefore just as to God alone ought we to offer spiritual sacrifice, so too ought we to offer outward sacrifices to Him alone: even so "in our prayers and praises we proffer significant words to Him to Whom in our hearts we offer the things which we designate thereby," as Augustine states (De Civ. Dei x, 19). Moreover we find that in every country the people are wont to show the sovereign ruler some special sign of honor, and that if this be shown to anyone else, it is a crime of high-treason. Therefore, in the Divine law, the death punishment is assigned to those who offer Divine honor to another than God.

Reply to Objection: 1. The name of the Godhead is communicated to certain ones, not equally with God, but by participation; hence neither is equal honor due to them.
2. The offering of a sacrifice is measured not by the value of the animal killed, but by its signification, for it is done in honor of the sovereign Ruler of the whole universe. Wherefore, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x, 19), "the demons rejoice, not in the stench of corpses, but in receiving divine honors."
3. As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei viii, 19), "we do not raise temples and priesthoods to the martyrs, because not they but their God is our God. Wherefore the priest says not: I offer sacrifice to thee, Peter or Paul. But we give thanks to God for their triumphs, and urge ourselves to imitate them."

Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.83 a.15