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Whether one person has an aureole more excellently than another person?

Objection 1: It would seem that one person has not the aureole either of virginity, or of martyrdom, or of doctrine more perfectly than another person. For things which have reached their term are not subject to intension or remission. Now the aureole is due to works which have reached their term of perfection. Therefore an aureole is not subject to intension or remission.

Objection 2: Further, virginity is not subject to being more or less, since it denotes a kind of privation; and privations are not subject to intension or remission. Therefore neither does the reward of virginity, the virgin's aureole to wit, receive intension or remission.

On the contrary, The aureole is added to the aurea. But the aurea is more intense in one than in another. Therefore the aureole is also.

I answer that, Since merit is somewhat the cause of reward, rewards must needs be diversified, according as merits are diversified: for the intension or remission of a thing follows from the intension or remission of its cause. Now the merit of the aureole may be greater or lesser: wherefore the aureole may also be greater or lesser.

We must observe, however, that the merit of an aureole may be intensified in two ways: first, on the part of its cause, secondly on the part of the work. For there may happen to be two persons, one of whom, out of lesser charity, suffers greater torments of martyrdom, or is more constant in preaching, or again withdraws himself more from carnal pleasures. Accordingly, intension not of the aureole but of the aurea corresponds to the intension of merit derived from its root; while intension of the aureole corresponds to intension of merit derived from the kind of act. Consequently it is possible for one who merits less in martyrdom as to his essential reward, to receive a greater aureole for his martyrdom.

Reply to Objection 1: The merits to which an aureole is due do not reach the term of their perfection simply, but according to their species: even as fire is specifically the most subtle of bodies. Hence nothing hinders one aureole being more excellent than another, even as one fire is more subtle than another.

Reply to Objection 2: The virginity of one may be greater than the virginity of another, by reason of a greater withdrawal from that which is contrary to virginity: so that virginity is stated to be greater in one who avoids more the occasions of corruption. For in this way privations may increase, as when a man is said to be more blind, if he be removed further from the possession of sight.

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