Aquinas's appreciation of the Aristotelian tradition is forefront in his classic treatment of human action, which begins with the desire for happiness. Accordingly, many readers, proponents and critics, read Aquinas as simply "eudaimonistic." There are, however, other principles at work in his thought; these suggest a simple but profound difficulty in his thought, one reflective of the subtlety of real life. Are the two sets of principles contradictory? Juxtaposed?
Considering beatific charity as the ultimate lens for this problem, Malloy proposes that Aquinas's texts and principles are hierarchically harmonious while developmentally complex. They indicate that love of happiness has a foundational role in human action and that love of God for His own sake has priority in the order of finality. This ordered balance depends upon a conception of the common good in accord with a metaphysics of participation: as having existence and formal perfection from and in likeness to the One Who Is, created persons incline to love God more than and more intensely than themselves. Thus, love of the Divine Other, while indeed the supreme love, especially as deified through charity, does not demand "disinterested" love. God truly is man's good: His true lover longs to be with Him.