“These gifts or aids supernaturally given to man are called graces for two reasons. First, because they are given by God gratis. Nothing is discoverable in man that would constitute a right to aids of this sort, for they exceed the capacity of nature. Secondly, they are called graces because in a very special way, man is made gratus (or “pleasing to God”) by such gifts. Since God’s love is the cause of goodness in things and is not called forth by any preexisting goodness, as our love is, a special intensity of divine love must be discerned in those whom He showers with such extraordinary effects of His goodness. Therefore God is said chiefly and simply to love those whom He endows with these effects of His love by which they are enabled to reach their last end, which is He Himself, the fountainhead of all goodness.”
~St. Thomas Aquinas: Compendium of Theology, 143.
St. Thomas Aquinas, by Fra Angelico.
Tempera on wood, 1340-45;
Collezione Vittorio Cini, Venice.