“Whether Man’s Happiness Can Consist in Wealth?
Reply Objection 3. The desire for natural riches is not infinite: because they suffice for nature in a certain measure. But the desire for artificial wealth is infinite, for it is the servant of disordered concupiscence, which is not curbed, as the Philosopher makes clear (Politics i. 3). Yet this desire for wealth is infinite otherwise than the desire for the sovereign good. For the more perfectly the sovereign good is possessed, the more it is loved, and other things despised: because the more we possess it, the more we know it. Hence it is written, (Sir.. 24:29): They that eat me shall yet hunger. Whereas in the desire for wealth and for whatsoever temporal goods, the contrary is the case: for when we already possess them, we despise them, and seek others: which is the sense of our Lord’s words (John 4:13): Whosoever drinketh of this water, by which temporal goods are signified, shall thirst again. The reason of this is that we realize more their insufficiency when we possess them: and this very fact shows that they are imperfect, and that the sovereign good does not consist therein.”
St. Thomas Aquinas in A Summa of the Summa: Essential Passages of St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica, ed. and ann. by Peter Kreeft (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990) 363.Read more