Aquinas on Hope

Now, in the object of hope, we may note four conditions. First, that it is something good; since, properly speaking, hope regards only the good; in this respect, hope differs from fear, which regards evil. Secondly, that it is future; for hope does not regard that which is present and already possessed: in this respect, hope differs from joy which regards a present good. Thirdly, that it must be something arduous and difficult to obtain, for we do not speak of any one hoping for trifles, which are in one’s power to have at any time: in this respect, hope differs from desire or cupidity, which regards the future good absolutely . . . Fourthly, that this difficult thing is something possible to obtain: for one does not hope for that which one cannot get at all: and, in this respect, hope differs from despair.

Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Benziger Bros./Accordance electronic ed. (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2004), I–II.40.1.

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