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Summa Theologica by Aquinas

Whether the gift of counsel remains in heaven?

Objection 1: It would seem that the gift of counsel does not remain in heaven. For counsel is about what has to be done for the sake of an end. But in heaven nothing will have to be done for the sake of an end, since there man possesses the last end. Therefore the gift of counsel is not in heaven.

Objection 2: Further, counsel implies doubt, for it is absurd to take counsel in matters that are evident, as the Philosopher observes (Ethic. iii, 3). Now all doubt will cease in heaven. Therefore there is no counsel in heaven.

Objection 3: Further, the saints in heaven are most conformed to God, according to 1 Jn.3:2, |When He shall appear, we shall be like to Him.| But counsel is not becoming to God, according to Rom.11:34, |Who hath been His counsellor?| Therefore neither to the saints in heaven is the gift of counsel becoming.

On the contrary, Gregory says (Moral. xvii, 12): |When either the guilt or the righteousness of each nation is brought into the debate of the heavenly Court, the guardian of that nation is said to have won in the conflict, or not to have won.|

I answer that, As stated above (A; FS, Q, A), the gifts of the Holy Ghost are connected with the motion of the rational creature by God. Now we must observe two points concerning the motion of the human mind by God. First, that the disposition of that which is moved, differs while it is being moved from its disposition when it is in the term of movement. Indeed if the mover is the principle of the movement alone, when the movement ceases, the action of the mover ceases as regards the thing moved, since it has already reached the term of movement, even as a house, after it is built, ceases being built by the builder. On the other hand, when the mover is cause not only of the movement, but also of the form to which the movement tends, then the action of the mover does not cease even after the form has been attained: thus the sun lightens the air even after it is lightened. In this way, then, God causes in us virtue and knowledge, not only when we first acquire them, but also as long as we persevere in them: and it is thus that God causes in the blessed a knowledge of what is to be done, not as though they were ignorant, but by continuing that knowledge in them.

Nevertheless there are things which the blessed, whether angels or men, do not know: such things are not essential to blessedness, but concern the government of things according to Divine Providence. As regards these, we must make a further observation, namely, that God moves the mind of the blessed in one way, and the mind of the wayfarer, in another. For God moves the mind of the wayfarer in matters of action, by soothing the pre-existing anxiety of doubt; whereas there is simple nescience in the mind of the blessed as regards the things they do not know. From this nescience the angel's mind is cleansed, according to Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii), nor does there precede in them any research of doubt, for they simply turn to God; and this is to take counsel of God, for as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. v, 19) |the angels take counsel of God about things beneath them|: wherefore the instruction which they receive from God in such matters is called |counsel.|

Accordingly the gift of counsel is in the blessed, in so far as God preserves in them the knowledge that they have, and enlightens them in their nescience of what has to be done.

Reply to Objection 1: Even in the blessed there are acts directed to an end, or resulting, as it were, from their attainment of the end, such as the acts of praising God, or of helping on others to the end which they themselves have attained, for example the ministrations of the angels, and the prayers of the saints. In this respect the gift of counsel finds a place in them.

Reply to Objection 2: Doubt belongs to counsel according to the present state of life, but not to that counsel which takes place in heaven. Even so neither have the theological virtues quite the same acts in heaven as on the way thither.

Reply to Objection 3: Counsel is in God, not as receiving but as giving it: and the saints in heaven are conformed to God, as receivers to the source whence they receive.

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