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Catholic Dictionary




The essence of a being considered as the principle of activity. Also the substance of a thing as distinguished from its properties, considered as the source of its operations. Nature is also definable in contrast to its opposites from a variety of viewpoints. In contrast with God, it is the created universe. In contrast to the life and operations of divine grace, it is that to which a human person has claim, as creature, as distinct from a share in God's own life, which is the supernatural. (Etym. Latin natura, the inner principle of a thing's operations and activity; from nasci, to be born.)