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Hope is termed a theological virtue because its immediate object is God, as is true of the other two essentially infused virtues, faith and charity. Thomas acutely says that the theological virtues are so called "because they have God for their object, both in so far as by them we are properly directed to Him, and because they are infused into our souls by God alone, as also, finally, because we come to know of them only by Divine revelation in the Sacred Scriptures ".
It is easy also to see how it fits in with the initial Protestant position of identifying faith and confidence and thus making hope rather an act of the intellect than of the will.It is said to be Divine not merely because its immediate object is God, but also because of the special manner of its origin.Hope, such as we are here contemplating, is an infused virtue ; ie., it is not, like good habits in general, the outcome of repeated acts or the product of our own industry.It is necessary first of all as an indispenssible means ( necessitate medii ) of attaining salvation, so that no one can enter upon eternal bliss without it.Hence even infants, though they cannot have elicited the act, must have had the habit of hope infused in Baptism.Like supernatural faith and charity it is directly implanted in the soul by Almighty God.
Both in itself and in the scope of its operation it outstrips the limits of the created order, and is to be had if at all only through the direct largess of the Creator.
Theologians are not of one mind in determining what is to be assigned as the sufficient reason of supernatural hope. It is based, according to him, on our apprehension of God as our supreme supernatural good Whose communication in the beatific vision is to make us happy for all eternity, and also on those Divine attributes such as omnipotence, mercy and fidelity, which unite to exhibit God as our unfailing helper.
These considerations, he thinks, motive our wills or furnish the answer to the question why we hope.
Consideration of this state of soul is limited in this article to its aspect as a factor in the supernatural order .
Looked at in this way it is defined to be a Divine virtue by which we confidently expect, with God's help, to reach eternal felicity as well as to have at our disposal the means of securing it.
The capacity which it confers is not only the strengthening of an existing power, but rather the elevation, the transforming of a faculty for the performance of functions essentially outside its natural sphere of activity.