IV Sententiae d. 15, q. 3
Concerning Fasting

deinde quaeritur de jejunio; et circa hoc quaeruntur quatuor: 1 quid sit jejunium; 2 quis teneatur ad jejunium; 3 de tempore jejunii; 4 de solventibus ipsum.Next, we consider fasting, concerning which four questions are examined: 1. What is fasting? 2. Who is obliged to keep the fast? 3. Concerning its time (in which it is observed) and 4. its ending.
utrum isidorus convenienter jejunium definiat.Article 1: Whether Isidore appropriately defines fasting?
ad primum sic proceditur. videtur quod isidorus inconvenienter definiat jejunium, dicens: jejunium est parsimonia victus, abstinentiaque ciborum. Sub-article 1: It would seem that Isidore does not appropriately define fasting when he states: "Fasting is frugality of sustenance, and abstinence of food."
parsimonia enim a parsi praeterito hujus verbi parco venit. est enim parcere, inter alia quae habet significata, idem quod abstinere. ergo idem videtur esse parsimonia victus et abstinentia ciborum; et sic alterum superfluit.Objection 1: "Frugality" (parsimonia) comes from the past participle "parsum" of the verb "parco" ("to use frugally or sparingly"). Among the other meanings of this word, "parcere" is identical to "abstinere" ("to refrain or abstain from something"). Therefore, "parsimonia victus" ("frugality of sustenance") would seem to signify the same thing as "abstinentia ciborum" ("abstinence of food"), making the latter (formulation of Isidore's definition) superfluous.
praeterea, matth. 17, super illud: hoc genus daemoniorum etc., dicit hieronymus: jejunium est non solum ab escis, sed a cunctis illecebris abstinere. cum ergo isidorus definiat jejunium tantum per abstinentiam ab escis, videtur quod incompetens sit assignatio.Objection 2: Furthermore, there is that (text from) Matthew 17 (quoted) above (in the Lombar''s text): "This kind of demon..." (concerning which) St. Jerome states: "Fasting is not only from food, but to abstain from all enticements." Therefore, when Isidore defines fasting only by means of abstinence from food, it would seem that this assignation is inaccurate.
praeterea, ad observationem jejunii videtur non solum pertinere abstinere a cibis, sed etiam lugere, et unguento non uti, ut patet dan. 10, 2: in diebus illis lugebam ego daniel trium hebdomadarum diebus. sed de his non fit mentio in praedicta assignatione. ergo insufficiens est.Objection 3: Furthermore, in the observance of the fast, it would seem to pertain not only to an abstinence from food, but also to mourn and not to annoint oneself with oil, as is clear from Daniel 10:2 "In those days I Daniel mourned the days of three weeks." But mention of these matters is not made in the aforementioned assignation. Therefore, it is insufficient.
praeterea, multi servant parsimoniam in victu et abstinentiam in cibis, qui tamen pluries in die manducant. sed tales non dicuntur jejunantes. ergo definitio praedicta non convertitur cum jejunio.Objection 4: Furthermore, many observe frugality in sustenance and abstinence with respect to food, but nonetheless eat several times during the day. Such people are not said to be those who fast. Therefore, the aforesaid definition is not convertible with fasting.
praeterea, nullus est jejunus nisi jejunio, sicut nec albus nisi albedine. sed aliquis etiam immoderate cibis utens, est quandoque jejunus antequam comedat. ergo tali non competit definitio assignata jejunii; ergo est incompetens.Objection 5: Furthermore, there are none who are said to fast apart from the practice of fasting, just as there are none who are white apart from whiteness. But someone who immoderately takes food is one who sometimes fasts before he eats. Therefore, such a person does not correspond to the definition of fasting assigned. Therefore, it is inaccurate.
ulterius. videtur quod jejunium non sit actus virtutis. Sub-article 2: It would seem that fasting is not an act of virtue.
virtus enim sicut abundanti, ita et diminuto corrumpitur. sed jejunium importat diminutionem a cibo, in quo conservari potest medium virtutis. ergo jejunium non est virtutis actus.Objection 1: For just as virtue exists in one who has a abundance (of goodness, etc.), so too is it destroyed when that person is diminished. But fasting denotes a diminishment of food in which the mean of virtue is able to be preserved. Therefore, fasting is not an act of virtue.
praeterea, omnis virtutis actus est in aliquid operando. sed jejunium dicit cessationem ab actu. ergo non est virtutis actus.Objection 2: Furthermore, every act of virtue is in someone through his activity. But fasting denotes a cessation from activity. Therefore, it is not an act of virtue.
praeterea, jejunium consistit non solum in abstinendo a superfluis cibis, quia hoc est de necessitate virtutis, sed etiam a necessariis. sed qui subtrahit necessarium cibum, dat sibi occasionem mortis; non autem, ut hieronymus dicit, differt utrum magno vel parvo tempore te interimas. ergo cum nulli liceat seipsum occidere, videtur quod nulli liceat jejunare; et sic jejunium non erit actus virtutis.Objection 3: Furthermore, fasting consists not only in abstaining from an excess of food (for this is necessarily said of the virtue), but also (to abstain) from (that food which is) necessary. But he who withdraws from food which is necessary, places himself in death's path; however, as St. Jerome states "It makes no difference whether you kill yourself over a great or a small period of time." Therefore, since it is in no way licit to kill oneself, it would seem that it is in no way licit to fast. And so, fasting will not be an act of virtue.
praeterea, sicut dicit augustinus in 10 confess., alimentum sic sumi debet ut famis medicamentum. sed magis infirmo minus est medicina subtrahenda. cum ergo in primo statu adam peccasset si cibo abstinuisset donec praeoccuparetur fame, ut in 2 lib., dist. 19, quaest. 1, art. 2 ad 3, dictum est, videtur quod etiam nunc jejunando peccat homo, cum natura humana sit infirmior; et sic jejunium non erit virtutis actus.Objection 4: Furthermore, as Augustine says in the tenth book of his Confessions that nourishment ought to be taken as an antidote to (the pains of) hunger (Book X, Chapter 31). But the more infirm one is, the less are antidotes (or medicines) to be withdrawn. Therefore, since Adam, in his pre-fallen state, would have sinned if he had abstained from food when he was gripped by hunger, as was said in Book II, d. 19, q. 1, a. 2, ad. 3 (of our present work), it would seem that even now man sins when he fasts, since human nature is more infirm (than Adam's). And so, fasting will not be an act of virtue.
sed contra est quod hieronymus dicit: jejunium non est perfecta virtus, sed ceterarum virtutum fundamentum.First on the contrary: There is what Jerome states: "Fasting is not a perfect virtue, but rather the foundation of the virtues."
praeterea, isidorus dicit, jejunium esse abstinentiam, ut ex definitione praemissa apparet. sed abstinentia est virtus. ergo jejunium est actus virtutis.Second on the contrary: Isidore states that fasting is abstinence, as is clear from the aforesaid definition. But abstinence is a virtue. Therefore, fasting is an act of virtue.
ulterius. videtur quod jejunium non sit actus temperantiae.Sub-article 3: It would seem that fasting is not an act of temperance.
quia canon dicit de consecr., dist. 5: jejunium quadragesimale est decima totius anni. sed dare decimam est actus justitiae. ergo et jejunare; non igitur temperantiae.Objection 1: For the Canon concerning Consecration (Distinction 5) states that "The Lenten fast is one's tithing for the entire year." But to give a tithe is an act of justice. Therefore to fast (is an act of justice), and therefore not (to be considered as a part) of temperance.
praeterea, ad fortitudinem pertinet molestias perferre. sed hoc accidit in jejunio. ergo jejunium est actus fortitudinis; non ergo temperantiae.Objection 2: It belongs to fortitude to endure annoyance. But this happens while one fasts. Therefore fasting is an act of fortitude, and not of temperance.
praeterea, prudentiae pars est cautela, ut in 3 lib., dist. 33, qu. 3, art. 1, quaestiunc. 3, dictum est. sed jejunium ad cautelam peccatorum carnis inductum est. ergo est actus prudentiae.Objection 3: Caution is a part of prudence, as was said in Book III, d. 33, q. 3, a. 1, qq. 3. But fasting leads to caution concerning the sins of the flesh. It is therefore an act of prudence (and not of temperance).
sed contra, materia propria temperantiae sunt delectabilia tactus, ut dicitur in 3 ethic.. sed circa hujusmodi est jejunium, quia est circa cibos. ergo jejunium est actus temperantiae.First on the contrary: The proper subject matter of temperance is the pleasures of touch, as is said in the 3rd. book of the Nicomachean Ethics. But fasting concerns such things because it concerns food. Therefore, fasting is an act of temperance.
praeterea, abstinentia est species temperantiae. sed jejunium est abstinentia. ergo est temperantiae actus.Second on the contrary: Abstinence is a species of temperance. But fasting is abstinence. Therefore, it is an act of temperance.
ulterius. videtur quod jejunium non cadat in praecepto. Sub-article 4: It would seem that fasting does not fall under a precept.
nam super illud psalm. 44: omnis gloria ejus filiae regis ab intus, dicit glossa augustini, quod gloria ecclesiae in interioribus virtutibus consistit, sicut fides, spes, caritas. sed omne praeceptum ecclesiae ad gloriam ecclesiae ordinatur. ergo de jejunio exteriori non potest esse praeceptum.Objection 1: For Psalm 44 speaks of this: "All the glory of the king's daughter is within." Augustine's gloss says that the glory of the Church consists in the interior virtues, such as faith, hope and love. But every precept of the church is ordered to the glory of the Church. Therefore, there cannot be a precept concerning the external (matters pertaining to) fasting.
praeterea, ea quae sunt supererogationis, ad consilium pertinent, ad quod nullus obligatur nisi ex voto. sed jejunium est hujusmodi. ergo non obligatur ad ipsum aliquis ex praecepto.Objection 2: Furthermore, those things which are of supererogation belong to counsel, to which no one is bound except by reason of a solemn promise. But fasting is of such a kind. Therefore one is not bound to take such a practice upon himself by reason of a precept.
praeterea, quicumque transgreditur praeceptum, peccat mortaliter. si ergo jejunium institutum ab ecclesia cadit sub praecepto, tunc si aliquis unum diem tantum frangeret quadragesimae, mortaliter peccaret; quod videtur grave dicere.Objection 3: Furthermore, whoever transgresses a precept sins mortally. Therefore, if fasting instituted by the Church falls under precept, then if someone breaks the Lenten fast for only one day, he sins mortally, which would seem to indicate (that the precept is unreasonably) burdensome.
sed contra, statutum ecclesiae obligat per modum praecepti, sicut praeceptum dei; quia dominus discipulis suis dixit, luc. 10, 16: qui vos audit, me audit. sed ad illud jejunium obligamur ex statuto ecclesiae. ergo cadit sub praecepto.First on the contrary: the law of the Church binds in the way a precept does, just as the precept of God (does). For the Lord said to His disciples at Luke 10:16 that "He who listens to you, listens to me." But we are bound to that fast by reason of the law of the Church. Therefore, it falls under a precept.
praeterea, majoris perfectionis est lex nova quam vetus, et magis a carnalibus desideriis abstrahens. sed in lege veteri erat jejunium in praecepto. ergo multo fortius in lege nova.Second on the contrary: The New Law is of greater perfection than the Old, drawing one away from the carnal desires in a greater way. But in the Old Law, fasting was under a precept. Therefore all the more is it in the New Law.
ulterius. videtur quod jejunium non sit satisfactorium. Sub-article 5: It would seem that fasting is not the way to make amends.
quia satisfactio est justitiae actus, ut prius dictum est. sed jejunium est actus temperantiae. ergo non est satisfactorium.Objection 1: For reparation is an act of justice, as was said previously. But fasting is an act of temperance. Therefore it is not reparative.
praeterea, illud ad quod ex praecepto astringimur, non est satisfactorium, sed satisfactionem praecedit, sicut de eleemosyna dictum est. sed quoddam jejunium cadit sub praecepto, ut dictum est. ergo ad minus illud non est satisfactorium.Objection 2: Furthermore, that to which we are bound by reason of a precept is not reparative, but precedes reparation, as was said (in the previous question) concerning alms. But a certain kind of fasting falls under a precept as was said. Therefore, much less it is reparative.
praeterea, satisfactio debet fieri ab eo qui peccavit. sed anima est quae peccat; jejunium autem non est animae, sed corporis. ergo non est satisfactorium pro peccato.Objection 3: Furthermore, reparation ought to be made by he who has sinned. But the soul is that which sins. Fasting, however, is not of the soul, but, rather, of the body. Therefore, it is not reparative for sin.
praeterea, sicut contingit peccare ex superfluitate cibi, ita ex subtractione. sed contra subtractionem cibi non datur, ut satisfactio, cibi abundantia. ergo nec contra abundantiam dari debet, ut satisfactorium, cibi subtractio per jejunium.Objection 4: Just as one sins by reason of an excess of food, so too (does one sin) by reason of diminishment. But an abundance of food is not offered, as reparation for the diminishment of food. Therefore the diminishment of food through fasting ought not to be offered as reparation for an abundance.
praeterea, 1 timoth., 4, 8: corporalis exercitatio ad modicum utilis est. sed jejunium est hujusmodi. ergo non est satisfactorium pro peccato.Objection 5: Furthermore, 1 Timothy 4:8 states "Bodily exercise is profitable to little." But fasting is of such a kind. Therefore, it is not reparative on behalf of sin.
sed contra, opera satisfactoria oportet esse poenalia. sed jejunium habet magis rationem poenae quam eleemosyna. cum ergo eleemosyna sit satisfactoria, ut ex dictis patet, et jejunium debet esse satisfactorium.First on the contrary: Reparative works ought to be penal. But fasting has more of the nature of penalty than does alms giving. Therefore, since alms-giving is reparative, as is plain from the previous discussion, fasting too ought to be reparative.
praeterea, satisfacere est peccatorum causas excidere. sed jejunio aliquis abscindit peccatorum causas; quia maxime jejunio reprimitur caro, quae ad peccata incitat. ergo etc..Second on the contrary: To make reparation is to remove the causes of sin. But by fasting, one cuts away the causes of sin. For the flesh, which incites one to sin, is best restrained by fasting. Therefore, (fasting is reparative).
respondeo dicendum ad primam quaestionem, quod jejunium dupliciter dicitur; scilicet jejunium naturae, et jejunium ecclesiae. a primo jejunio dicitur aliquis quolibet die jejunus antequam cibum sumat; a secundo autem dicitur jejunans, quasi ordinatam ab ecclesia propter peccatorum satisfactionem abstinentiam servans. in satisfactionem autem peccatorum non solum oportet quod ab illis homo abstineat quae lex virtutis prohibet, sed etiam ab illis quibus salva virtute uti possemus; quia qui illicita commisit, oportet etiam a licitis abstinere, ut augustinus dicit. unde jejunium ab ecclesia institutum supponit abstinentiam illam quae ad virtutem exigitur, et addit abstinentiam quamdam ab illis quae medium virtutis non corrumpunt. et ideo isidorus haec duo in praedicta definitione jejunii comprehendit; scilicet abstinentiam ab illis quae virtutem corrumpunt, in hoc quod dicit, parsimonia victus; et ab illis quibus salva virtute alias uti liceret, in hoc quod dicit, abstinentiaque ciborum.I respond to the 1st. question (sub-article 1) saying that fasting is spoken of in two ways, namely the fasting of nature, and the fasting of the Church. By the former is meant the fasting that one does on any day whatsoever before the taking of food. By the latter, one is said to fast when one maintains the abstinence ordained by the Church as reparation for one's sins. However, in reparation for one's sins, it is not only appropriate that man abstain from those things which the law of virtue prohibits, but even from those which we are able to take without the violation of virtue. For he who has committed an illicit act, ought even to abstain from actions which are licit, as Augustine says. Therefore, fasting instituted by the Church includes that abstinence required for virtue, and adds an abstinence from those things which do not destroy the mean of virtue. Thus does Isidore understand these two in the aforesaid definition of fasting, namely as an abstinence from those things which destroy virtue (when he says "frugal nourishment") and (an abstinence) from those things which can be used licitly without the violation of virtue (when he says "and abstinence from food").
ad primum ergo patet ex dictis solutio.Response to the first objection: Therefore, the solution to the first objection is clear from what has been said.
ad secundum dicendum, quod definitio illa hieronymi intelligitur de jejunio spirituali, et non de jejunio corporali.Response to the second objection: The definition understood of Jerome concerns spiritual fasting and not corporeal fasting.
ad tertium dicendum, quod jejunium ex suo nomine directe importat abstinentiam in cibis; unde illae observationes quae a jejunantibus patribus observatae leguntur, non sunt de essentia jejunii, sed ad modum jejunandi pertinent; et propter hoc non oportet quod in definitione jejunii mentio de eis fieret.Response to the third objection: By reason of its name, fasting directly implies an abstinence from food. Hence those practices taken from the fasting practices of the Fathers, are not of the essence of fasting, but pertain, rather, to the manner of fasting. Because of this, it is not fit that mention of these be made in the definition of fasting.
ad quartum dicendum, quod intelligenda est in praedicta definitione talis abstinentia a cibis, alias licitis, qualem ecclesia jejunantibus determinat; et sic objectio cessat.Response to the fourth objection: What is to be understood in the definition mentioned earlier is the kind of abstention from food, allowable at other times, in the measure that the Church determines for those fasting. And so the objection ceases.
ad quintum dicendum, quod praedicta definitio non datur de jejunio quo aliquis dicitur jejunus, sed de jejunio ecclesiae, ut dictum est.Response to the fifth objection: The aforesaid definition is not given concerning the fasting which one is said (to take up naturally), but of the fast of the Church, as was said above.
ad secundam quaestionem dicendum, quod, sicut supra dictum est, omnis actus qui in sua ratione includit aliquid quod ad modum virtutis pertineat, actus virtutis dici potest, quantum est de se; quamvis possit et bene et male fieri ob hoc quod forte non includit in sui ratione omne illud quod ad virtutem exigitur. quia autem virtus infirmitati naturae subvenit, quae ad malum de facili inclinatur; ideo omnium virtutum circa delectationes corporales existentium, ex quarum superabundantia praecipue peccatum contingit propter connaturalitatem nostri ad eas, modus est in retrahendo ab eis, sicut patet in temperantia, et in omnibus partibus ei assignatis. quia ergo nomine jejunii actus nobis quidam exprimitur quo quis a delectationibus tactus, scilicet cibis, se abstrahit, constat quod in ratione sua modum virtutis importat; et ideo actus virtutis dici debet.I respond to the 2nd. question (sub-article 2) saying that, as was previously mentioned, every act which includes in its description something pertaining to a mode of virtue can be called an act of virtue with respect to itself. It can, although, be realized well and badly, for this reason that perhaps it does not include in its description all that is required for virtue. Since virtue comes to the assistance of the weakness of nature [by which (weakness, our nature) is inclined easily to evil; therefore in all of the virtues which arise concerning the corporeal pleasures, sin especially arises from a superabundance of these (pleasures) on account of a connaturality of us to them], there is a mode (in these virtues) of drawing (us) away from these (pleasures), as is clear in (the virtue of) temperance, and in all of the parts assigned to it. Therefore, since in the name "fasting" an act is designated in us by which one draws oneself away from the delights of touch, namely of food, it is established that the mode of virtue is included in its description, and thus ought to be called an act of virtue.
ad primum ergo dicendum, quod medium virtutis non est medium secundum aequidistantiam ab extremis, sed accipitur secundum rationem rectam; et ideo contingit id quod est parum uni, esse satis alteri; sicut quod est parum sano in cibis, esse satis infirmo qui per abstinentiam curari debet. curatio autem spiritualis morbi affinior est virtuti quam curatio morbi corporalis; unde et illud quod alias esset modicum, vel minus debito, tamen volenti vulnus peccati curare, satis est; et sic jejunium medium virtutis non corrumpit. tamen sciendum, quod medium virtutis non consistit in indivisibili, sed habet aliquam latitudinem in qua virtus salvatur, quamvis termini illius latitudinis, quos praetergredi salva virtute non licet, non possunt sermone determinari; et ideo qui dimittit aliquid quo licite posset uti, non oportet quod statim a medio virtutis discedat.Response to the first objection: The mean of virtue is not a mean according to an equal distance between the extremes, but is determined according to right reason. And thus, it is fitting that what is too little for one, may be sufficient for another, just as what is too little in food for (one's) health, may be sufficient for the sick who should be healed through abstinence. The cure of spiritual sickness is related more to virtue, than to the cure of bodily illness. Hence that which would otherwise be slight, or less than is due, is nevertheless enough for one who wishes that (his) wound of sin be healed. And so, fasting does not destroy the mean of virtue. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the mean of virtue does not consist in the indivisible, but has some breadth in which virtue is preserved, although the boundaries of that breadth, which it is not licit to transgress when virtue is (being) preserved, cannot be determined in word. And thus, he who lets go of something which he could licitly use, does not immediately depart from the mean of virtue.
ad secundum dicendum, quod jejunium a quo quis jejunus dicitur, non nominat aliquem actum, sed privationem praecedentis cibi; et ideo secundum ipsum non dicitur aliquis jejunare. sed jejunium ecclesiae nominat actum quemdam, secundum quem in cibis sumendis se regulat aliquis secundum ecclesiae statutum; et secundum hoc jejunium dicitur aliquis jejunare; et ideo hoc jejunium potest esse actus virtutis.Response to the second objection: That fasting by which someone is said to be hungry (before one's regularly taken meal), does not denominate an act but rather a privation of food preceding (this meal). Therefore, according to this (meaning), one is not said to fast. But the fast of the Church denominates a certain act according to which one regulates oneself in the taking of food according to the law of the Church. And according to this (meaning) of fasting, one is said to fast. Therefore this kind of fasting can be an act of virtue..
ad tertium dicendum, quod necessarium dupliciter accipitur in cibis. primo ad conservationem vitae; et tale necessarium non licet subtrahere per jejunium, sicut nec interimere seipsum. sed hoc necessarium est valde modicum, quia modicis natura contenta est. alio modo dicitur necessarium ad conservandam valetudinem corporis: quae quidem accipitur in duplici statu. primo secundum sufficientiam habito respectu ad ea quae incumbunt ex officio, vel ex societate eorum ad quos convivit, necessario agenda; et tale etiam necessarium subtrahi non debet; hoc enim esset de rapina jejunii offerre, si aliquis propter jejunium impediretur ab aliis operibus ad quae alias obligatur. unde hieronymus dicit: de rapina holocaustum offert qui vel ciborum nimia egestate, vel manducandi vel somni penuria immoderate corpus affligit. si etiam sit tanta abstinentia quod homo ab operibus utilioribus impediatur, quamvis ad ea de necessitate non teneatur, indiscretum est jejunium, etsi non sit illicitum. unde hieronymus dicit ubi supra: rationalis homo dignitatem amittit, qui jejunium caritati, vel vigilias sensus integritati praefert.Response to the third objection: The necessary (taking of) food is understood in a two-fold way. First, for the conservation of life. It is not licit to deny this sort of necessity through fasting, just as it is not licit to kill oneself. But this necessity is exceedingly small. For nature is satisfied by a little (bit of food). The second way in which necessity is understood is for the conservation of the condition of the body, which is found in a two-fold state. The first is according to a sufficiency in having a regard to those things which are incumbent upon one because of one's duty, or the things that of necessity need to be done by reason of the society of those with whom one lives; and even this sort of necessity ought not to be withdrawn, for this would be to offer a fast comprised of stolen goods if someone, following a fast, were impeded from other activities to which he was obliged on behalf of others. Hence Jerome states: "He who offers a stolen holocaust, foods from extreme want, chewed foods, or want of sleep, immoderately afflicts the body." Even if there were an abstinence so great that a man were impeded from more useful work, then however much he is not obliged to those (works) of necessity, his fasting is undistinguished even if it is not illicit. Hence Jerome, in the same text, states: "A man of reason loses his dignity who prefers fasting to love, or a vigil to he integrity of his senses."
secundo accipitur valetudo corporis secundum optimam corporis dispositionem; et quia caro in suo robore consistens, difficilius spiritui subditur, ideo necessarium ad valetudinem sic acceptam etsi licite accipi possit, tamen laudabiliter subtrahi potest; et talis subtractio non multum mortem accelerat, cum corpus humanum inveniatur frequentius ex superfluitate quam ex defectu mortales aegritudines incurrere; unde etiam galenus dicit quod summa medicina est abstinentia. inveniuntur etiam ad sensum, abstinentes ut frequenter diutius vivere; et ideo praedicta subtractio non potest dici mortis occasio, cum se habeat ad utrumque, scilicet ad prolongandum et breviandum vitam. subtractio autem ejus quod non est necessarium, nec hoc nec illo modo est de necessitate virtutis temperantiae.The condition of the body is understood in the second way according to the optimum disposition of the body. And since the flesh, abiding in its strength, is more difficult to subdue to the spirit, for this reason that which is necessary for (the body's) condition so understood, even if it can be taken licitly, nevertheless can be denied laudably. And this sort of denial does not hasten death (all that) much since the human body is found more frequently to incur mortal illnesses by reason of excess than from denial. Hence Galen also says that the whole of medicine is abstinence. For those who fast are found frequently to live longer. Thus the above mentioned denial cannot be called the occasion of death when it is related to both, namely to the prolonging and shortening of life. However, the denial of that which is not necessary, neither this nor that mode is of necessity of the virtue of temperance.
ad quartum dicendum, quod quamvis homo post statum peccati magis infirmetur quantum ad passibilitatem corporis, ex qua fames causatur, cui per alimentum subvenitur; tamen ex altera parte est gravior infirmitas et periculosior, cui jejunium subvenit; scilicet concupiscentiae morbus, qui in statu innocentiae non erat; et ideo ad hunc morbum extirpandum magis intendere oportet, sicut etiam medici periculosiori morbo sollicitius subveniunt.Response to the fourth objection: Although man, after the state of sin, is weaker with respect to the passibility of the body, by which hunger is caused which is remedied through nourishment, nevertheless, on the other hand, the weakness that is more grave and dangerous is remedied by fasting, namely, the ailment of concupiscence which was not experienced in the state of innocence. Therefore it is more fitting to intend to eliminate this ailment, just as doctors more anxiously aid those more in danger of death.
ad tertiam quaestionem dicendum, quod quamvis aliquis actus a pluribus virtutibus possit procedere, sicut ab imperantibus ipsum vel dirigentibus ad eum, vel quocumque modo ad ipsum juvantibus; tamen illius virtutis proprie actus dicitur quae elicit ipsum, a qua scilicet procedit formaliter quasi in similitudinem speciei, sicut calefactio a calore. sed tam virtutes quam actus virtutum penes objecta distinguuntur; et ideo actus ab illa virtute elicitur quae secum convenit in propria ratione objecti. et quia jejunium in objecto cum temperantia convenit quantum ad illam temperantiae partem quae abstinentia dicitur; ideo ejus actus proprie jejunium est, quamvis ab aliis virtutibus procedere per dictos modos etiam possit.I respond to the 3rd. question (sub-article 3) saying saying that although an act can proceed from several virtues, for instance from those (virtues) that command that very act, or that lead to it, or that only help it withersoever it goes, nevertheless, an act is properly said to be of that virtue which elicits that act, from which, namely, formally results, as it were, a likeness of kind, just as heating (arises) from heat. But virtues, as much as acts of virtues, are distinguished according to (their) objects. For this reason, an act is elicited from that virtue which agrees with itself in the proper aspect of its object. Since fasting agrees in its object with temperance as to that part of temperance which is called abstinence, for this reason, its proper act is fasting, although it can also result from the other virtues through the ways previously mentioned.
ad primum ergo dicendum, quod actus justitiae est reddere debitum. non autem est debitum facere decimam de tempore, sed de rebus possessis aliquo modo. dicitur autem jejunium decima totius anni per quamdam adaptationem; et ideo non oportet quod sit actus justitiae.Response to the first objection: An act of justice pays a debt. However, it is not a debt to give a tenth of one's time, but, rather, to give in some way of one's possessions. The fasting of a tenth of the whole year, however, is understood through a sort of adaptation. Thus it is not fitting that it be an act of justice.
ad secundum dicendum, quod fortitudinis est perferre molestias ab exteriori illatas: hoc autem non est in jejunio.Response to the second objection: It is of fortitude to bear troubles suffered by external circumstances. This, however, is not in fasting ('s description or experience or essence).
ad tertium dicendum, quod in omnibus virtutibus moralibus actus dirigitur prudentia, ut in 3 lib., dist. 38, quaest. 2, art. 5, dictum est; et sic actus aliarum virtutum sunt etiam prudentiae.Response to the third objection: In every moral virtue, one's activity is directed by prudence, as was said in Book III, d. 38, q. 2, a. 5. And so, the activities of the other virtues are also (directed by) prudence.
ad quartam quaestionem dicendum, quod duplex est praeceptum, scilicet juris naturalis et juris positivi. praecepto juris naturalis prohibentur ea quae sunt secundum se mala; sed praeceptis juris positivi prohibentur ea quae possunt esse occasiones malorum; vel praecipiuntur aliqua ordinantia ad virtutem, quam legis positor inducere intendit; et propter hoc, jus positivum, ut dicit tullius, est a naturali derivatum; unde ad legem positivam pertinet, ut dicit philosophus in 10 ethic., ordinare nutritiones juvenum et adinventiones virorum, idest opera et studia, ut arceantur a malis, et perducantur ad bona. in jejunio ergo est aliquid quod ad praeceptum juris naturalis pertinet, scilicet tantam abstinentiam carni adhibere ne spiritui rebellet. temperantia enim, ut dicit philosophus in 3 ethic., mensuram accipit ex conservatione salutis corporalis; unde multo magis ex conservatione salutis spiritualis. medium autem temperantiae non excedere, ad jus naturale pertinet; sed determinatio talis abstinentiae secundum determinatum tempus et determinata cibaria, ad jus positivum pertinet, quod moderatur hominum actus; et hoc modo jejunium sub praecepto ecclesiae cadit.I respond to the 4th. question (sub-article 4) saying that there are two kinds of precepts, namely of the natural and of the positive law. By the precepts of the natural law, those things which are evil in themselves are prohibited, while by the precepts of the positive law, those things which can be occasions of evil are prohibited; or, some acts ordered to virtue are ordered (through the positive law) which the legislator intends to instill (in those over whom he rules). On account of this, the positive law, as Tullius says, is derived from the natural law. Hence, it belongs to the positive law, as the Philosopher states in Book X of the Nicomachean Ethics, to order the diet of the young and the innovations, that is to say, the works and studies, of men, so that they be prevented from doing evil deeds, and encouraged to perform good ones. Therefore, with respect to fasting, there is something which belongs to the precepts of the natural law, namely, to employ complete abstinence from meat so that one might not rebel against the spirit of temperance which, as the Philosopher says in Book III of his Nicomachean Ethics, takes its mean from the conservation of the body's health. Hence much more does it take its mean from the conservation of the spirit's health. However, not to exceed the mean of temperance pertains to the natural law. But the determination of that sort of abstinence according to a determined time, and a certain kind of food, this pertains to the positive law which regulates human acts. This way of fasting falls under the precepts of the Church.
ad primum ergo dicendum, quod decor ecclesiae principaliter in interioribus consistit; sed etiam exteriores actus ad eumdem decorem pertinent, inquantum ab interiori progrediuntur, et inquantum interiorem decorem conservant; et sic jejunium ad decorem ecclesiae ordinatur.Response to the first objection: The beauty of the Church consists principally in interior things. But external acts also pertain to the same beauty insofar as they come forth from the interior things, and as they preserve this interior beauty. Thus, fasting is ordered to the beauty of the Church.
ad secundum dicendum, quod duplex est genus supererogationis. quoddam quod totaliter excedit necessitatem salutis; et hoc non potest cadere sub praecepto, sed sub consilio; 1 corinth. 7, 25: de virginibus autem praeceptum domini non habeo, consilium autem do. aliud genus supererogationis est quod aliquo modo ad necessitatem salutis pertinet, quamvis non secundum hunc vel illum modum, sicut de jejunio ex dictis patet, et ideo determinatio modi in talibus potest cadere sub praecepto ecclesiae vel cujuscumque legislatoris.Response to the second objection: The genus of supererogation is two-fold. First, there is that which wholly exceeds the necessity of health. This does not fall under the precept but under counsel: 1 Corinthians 7:25 "Now concerning virgins, I have no precept of the Lord; but I give counsel." The other genus of supererogation is that which in some way pertains to the necessity of heath, although not in this or that way, as is clear from what has been said concerning fasting, and thus the determination of mode in such matters can fall under the precept of the Church or of a law giver.
ad tertium dicendum, quod praecepta juris positivi magis obligant ex intentione legislatoris quam ex ipsis verbis; et ideo transgressor talis praecepti magis est reputandus qui obviat intentioni legislatoris quam qui deviat in aliquo a legis ordinatione. intentioni autem legislatoris obviat qui ex contemptu vel sine aliqua rationabili causa ordinationem non servat. si autem in aliquo casu non servat in quo probabiliter credi potest, si legislator adesset, eum obligare non velle, talis non est reputandus praecepti transgressor. et ideo non est necessarium quod quicumque aliquem diem ab ecclesia institutum jejunare omittit, mortaliter peccet: potest enim hoc aliquando omnino sine peccato contingere, aliquando sine mortali cum veniali, aliquando etiam cum mortali; et hoc secundum diversas occasiones quibus homo inducitur ad jejunium frangendum.Response to the third objection: Precepts of the positive law oblige more by reason of the intention of the legislator than by the words themselves. Therefore, a transgressor of this sort of precept is more to be considered one who opposes the intent of the legislator than one who deviates in some way from the ordaining of the law. He who opposes the intention of the legislator by reason of contempt or without a reasonable cause does not preserve the ordaining (of the law). If, however, in a certain instance, he does not preserve (the ordaining of the law) in whom he can be believed credibly (not to oppose the intention of the legislator), then if the legislator is favorable (and does) not want to hold him (to the consequences of the law transgressed), this sort (of person) is not to be considered a transgressor of the precept. Therefore, it is not of necessity that anyone who neglects to fast on a certain day instituted by the Church, sins mortally. For this can sometimes happen wholly without sin; at other times without mortal sin but with venial sin, and at still other times even with mortal sin, and these according to the diverse occasions into which a man is drawn to break his fast.
ad quintam quaestionem dicendum, quod jejunium actus satisfactorius est: quia et pro libidine peccati praeteriti subtractionem delectationis recompensat, afflictionem etiam addens; et futura peccata impedit, concupiscentiam debilitans.I respond to the 5th. question (sub-article 5) saying that the act of fasting is more reparative because the denial of pleasure offers recompense for the desire of the previously committed sin, even adding an affliction. (It is also more reparative since) it impedes future sins, weakening concupiscence.
ad primum ergo dicendum, quod jejunium quamvis elicitive sit actus temperantiae, tamen a justitia imperari potest, et sic erit satisfactorium; sicut etiam adulterium intemperantiam admixtam injustitiae habet.Response to the first objection: Although fasting, freely chosen, is an act of temperance, nevertheless it can be commanded by justice, and thus will be reparative, just as the intemperance of adultery has an admixture of injustice.
ad secundum dicendum, quod praeceptum legis naturae non est nisi de eo quod est necessarium ad salutem; et ideo quod sub tali praecepto cadit, non est satisfactorium, sed ad satisfactionem exigitur; et sic est de eleemosyna, secundum quod cadit sub praecepto. sed praeceptum ecclesiae potest ad idem ordinari ad quod ordinatur satisfactio; et ideo jejunium quod sub praecepto ecclesiae cadit, satisfactorium esse potest.Response to the second objection: The precept is not of the natural law except concerning that which is of necessity to health. Therefore what falls under this sort of precept is not reparative but is required for reparation. And so it is concerning alms-giving insofar as it falls under precept. But the Church's precept can be ordered to the same thing to which reparation is ordained. And thus, fasting which falls under the precept of the Church can be reparative.
ad tertium dicendum, quod neque corpus peccat neque anima, proprie loquendo, sed homo; et ideo ipse qui peccat, punitur, sive sit poena corporalis, sive spiritualis. tamen etiam poena corporalis in animam redundat, quae ipsam sentit, sicut et per corpus delectatione illicita fruebatur in peccato.Response to the third objection: Neither body nor soul sins, properly speaking. Instead (it is) man (himself who sins). And thus he himself who sins is punished either through a corporeal or spiritual penalty. Nevertheless, even a corporeal punishment redounds to the soul which the latter senses, just as through the body it enjoyed the illicit pleasure in sin.
ad quartum dicendum, quod superabundantia cibi non habet poenam, et est inordinata; et ideo non potest esse satisfactoria, sicut jejunium.Response to the fourth objection: A superabundance of food does not incur punishment, (but does when) it is used inordinately. Thus, it cannot be reparatory, as is fasting.
ad quintum dicendum, quod intelligitur ad modicum valere corporalis exercitatio in comparatione ad pietatem: vel quia ad unum tantum valet, scilicet ad concupiscentiam domandam.Response to the fifth objection: A little bit of bodily exercise is to be understood in comparison with piety; or because it strengthens to a specific thing, namely to concupiscence which is to be controlled.

© Stephen Loughlin

The Aquinas Translation Project