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Collect: O God who hath placed the life of sanctifying grace above that of gratuitous grace, grant unto us the desire of the greatest, charity, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In the Sed Contra, St. Thomas proves the thesis from the authority of the apostle. Concerning 1 Cor. 12, it is the classical loci on the gratuitous graces and this is assumed in the proof. Further, as he has shown, the habits infused into the powers of man are contained under sanctifying grace, therefore the conclusion follows.
In the Respondeo,
SED CONTRA: On the contrary, The Apostle (1 Cor 12:31) , having enumerated the gratuitous graces adds: And I show unto you yet a more excellent way; and as the sequel proves he is speaking of charity, which pertains to sanctifying grace. Hence sanctifying grace is more noble than gratuitous grace.