Super I ad Thessalonicenses
Commentary on I Thessalonians
7:17 Factumque est diluvium quadraginta diebus super terram: et multiplicatae sunt aquae, et elevaverunt arcam in sublime a terra.
7:17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth, and the waters increased, and lifted up the ark on high from the earth.
1. Haec verba competunt materiae huius epistolae. Ecclesia enim figuratur perb, sicut dicitur I Petr. III, 20, quia sicut in arca, caeteris pereuntibus, paucae animae salvatae sunt, ita in Ecclesia pauci, id est, soli electi salvabuntur.
1. These words are appropriate to the contents of this letter. The Church is symbolized by the ark (1 Pet 3:20), for as in the ark a few souls were saved, the others perishing, so also in the Church a few, that is, only the elect, will be saved.
Per aquas autem significantur tribulationes. Primo quia aquae impellunt irruendo, sicut tribulationes. Matth. VII, 25: venerunt flumina, et flaverunt venti, et irruerunt in domum illam. Sed impulsu fluminum Ecclesia non movetur. Unde subdit et non cecidit.
The waters signify tribulations. First, because flooding waters strike like tribulations: and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house (Matt 7:25). Yet the Church is not shaken by the force of the floods; so Matthew adds, but it did not fall.
Secundo aqua extinguit ignem. Eccli. XXX: ignem ardentem extinguit aqua. Sic tribulationes extinguunt impetus concupiscentiarum, ne homines ad libitum eas sequantur, sed non extinguunt veram caritatem Ecclesiae. Cant. VIII, 7: aquae multae non poterunt extinguere caritatem, nec flumina obruent illam.
Second, because water extinguishes fire: water extinguishes a blazing fire (Sir 3:30). Similarly, tribulations diminish the force of desires so that men do not follow them at will; but they do not diminish the true charity of the Church: many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it (Song 8:7).
Tertio aquae submergunt per inundationem. Thren. III, 54: inundaverunt aquae super caput meum. Sed Ecclesia non per has submergitur. Iona II, 6: circumdederunt me aquae usque ad animam meam, abyssus vallavit me, pelagus operuit caput meum, etc.; et post: rursum videbo templum sanctum tuum, et cetera.
Third, because waters inundate by flooding: water closed over my head (Lam 3:54). Yet the Church is not overcome by them: the waters closed in over me, the deep was round about me; weeds were wrapped about my head (Jonah 2:6). And just before this, yet would I again look upon your holy temple.
2. Non ergo deficit, sed sublevatur. Et primo per elevationem mentis ad Deum. Gregorius: mala quae nos hic premunt, ad Deum nos ire compellunt. Os. VI, 1: in tribulatione sua mane consurgent ad me.
2. Therefore, the Church is not destroyed but uplifted: first, by lifting the mind to God, as is clear from Gregory: the evil things which bear down upon us here compel us to go to God. And in their distress they seek me (Hos 6:1).
Secundo per spiritualem consolationem. Ps. XCIII, 19: secundum multitudinem dolorum in corde meo consolationes tuae laetificaverunt animam meam. II Cor. I, 5: sicut abundant passiones Christi in nobis, ita per Christum abundat consolatio nostra.
Second, the Church is raised up through spiritual consolation: when the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul (Ps 94:19); for as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too (2 Cor 1:5).
Tertio per multiplicationem fidelium, quia tempore persecutionum Deus multiplicavit Ecclesiam. Ex. I, 12: quantoque magis opprimebant eos, tanto magis multiplicabantur et crescebant.
Third, the Church is upraised by increasing the number of the faithful; for God has spread the Church in time of persecution: but the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad (Exod 1:12).
Sic ergo convenit
It seems then that these words are appropriate
huic epistolae, quia isti multas tribulationes passi, steterunt fortes. Videamus ergo textum.
to this letter because the Thessalonians stood firm after suffering many tribulations. Let us, therefore, look at the text.
Example of the Thessalonians
1:1 Paulus, et Silvanus, et Timotheus ecclesiae Thessalonicensium in Deo Patre, et Domino Jesu Christo. [n. 3] Gratia vobis, et pax. [n. 6]
1:1 Paul and Sylvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians: in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. [n. 3] Grace be to you, and peace. [n. 6]
1:2 Gratias agimus Deo semper pro omnibus vobis, memoriam vestri facientes in orationibus nostris sine intermissione, [n. 7]
1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all: making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing, [n. 7]
1:3 memores operis fidei vestrae, et laboris, et caritatis, et sustinentiae spei Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ante Deum et Patrem nostrum: [n. 10]
1:3 Being mindful of the work of your faith and labor and charity: and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father. [n. 10]
1:4 scientes, fratres dilecti a Deo, electionem vestram: [n. 11]
1:4 Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election: [n. 11]
1:5 quia Evangelium nostrum non fuit ad vos in sermone tantum, sed et in virtute, et in Spiritu Sancto, et in plenitudine multa, sicut scitis quales fuerimus in vobis propter vos. [n. 13]
1:5 For our Gospel has not been unto you in word only, but in power also: and in the Holy Spirit and in much fullness, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes. [n. 13]
1:6 Et vos imitatores nostri facti estis, et Domini, excipientes verbum in tribulatione multa, cum gaudio Spiritus Sancti: [n. 15]
1:6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord: receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Spirit: [n. 15]
1:7 ita ut facti sitis forma omnibus credentibus in Macedonia, et in Achaia. [n. 17]
1:7 So that you were made a pattern to all who believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. [n. 17]
1:8 A vobis enim diffamatus est sermo Domini, non solum in Macedonia, et in Achaia, sed et in omni loco fides vestra, quae est ad Deum, profecta est ita ut non sit nobis necesse quidquam loqui.[n. 19]
1:8 For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and in Achaia but also in every place: your faith which is towards God, is gone forth, so that we do not need to speak anything. [n. 19]
1:9 Ipsi enim de nobis annuntiant qualem introitum habuerimus ad vos: et quomodo conversi estis ad Deum a simulacris, servire Deo vivo, et vero, [n. 20]
1:9 For they themselves relate of us, what manner of entering in we had unto you: and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. [n. 20]
1:10 et exspectare Filium ejus de caelis (quem suscitavit a mortuis) Jesum, qui eripuit nos ab ira ventura. [n. 22]
1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead), Jesus, who has delivered us from the wrath to come. [n. 22]
3. Apostolus vult munire hic Ecclesiam contra tribulationes et
3. The Apostle wishes to strengthen the Church in the face of tribulations.
primo contra tribulationes praesentes, et hoc in prima epistola.
First, in the face of present tribulations, and Paul does this in the first letter to the Thessalonians.
Secundo contra futuras, tempore antichristi, et hoc in secunda.
Second, Paul warns against tribulations to come in the time of the antichrist, and he does this in the second letter to the Thessalonians.
Prima dividitur in salutationem et epistolarem narrationem, ibi gratias agimus.
The first letter is divided into the greeting and the message, which begins at the words, at we give thanks to God always for you all.
Item primo tangit personas salutantes;
First, Paul mentions the people who send the greeting;
secundo Ecclesiam salutatam;
second, the Church which is greeted;
tertio bona optata.
third, his hope for blessings.
4. Notandum est autem, quod quia ubi non delinquimus, omnes pares sumus, ideo quia istis bonis scribit, non facit mentionem de officio suo, sed solum de nomine humilitatis, quod est Paulus. Sap. VII, 11: et innumerabilis honestas per manus illius. Et adiungit duos, qui eis praedicaverunt cum eo, scilicet Silvanum, qui est Sylas, et Timotheum, quem circumcidit, ut dicitur Act. XVI, 3.
4. It should be noted that since we are all equal if we do not fail in our duties, the Apostle, in writing to these good people, does not mention his title, but supplies only his humble name which is Paul. And innumerable riches through her hands (Wis 7:11). He also adds the names of two persons who preached to them with him: Silvanus, who is Sylas, and Timothy, whom he circumcised (Acts 16:3).
5. Salutat autem ecclesiam, quae est congregatio fidelium. Et hoc in Deo Patre et Domino nostro Iesu Christo, id est, in fide Trinitatis, et divinitatis et humanitatis Christi, quia in horum cognitione erit nostra beatitudo.
5. Paul greets the church, which is the assembly of believers, in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, in the faith of the Trinity and of the divinity and humanity of Christ, because our beatitude will consist in knowing them.