Prayer for perfection
13:5 Vosmetipsos tentate si estis in fide: ipsi vos probate. An non cognoscitis vosmetipsos quia Christus Jesus in vobis est? nisi forte reprobi estis. [n. 523]
13:5 Try yourselves if you be in the faith: prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Christ Jesus is in you, unless perhaps you are reprobates? [n. 523]
13:6 Spero autem quod cognoscetis, quia nos non sumus reprobi. [n. 528]
13:6 But I trust that you shall know that we are not reprobates. [n. 528]
13:7 Oramus autem Deum ut nihil mali faciatis, non ut nos probati appareamus, sed ut vos quod bonum est faciatis: nos autem ut reprobi simus. [n. 529]
13:7 Now we pray God that you may do no evil, not that we may appear approved, but that you may do what is good and that we may be as reprobates. [n. 529]
13:8 Non enim possumus aliquid adversus veritatem, sed pro veritate.
13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth: but for the truth.
13:9 Gaudemus enim, quoniam nos infirmi sumus, vos autem potentes estis. Hoc et oramus, vestram consummationem. [n. 532]
13:9 For we rejoice that we are weak and you are strong. This also we pray for: your perfection. [n. 532]
13:10 Ideo haec absens scribo, ut non praesens durius agam secundum potestatem, quam Dominus dedit mihi in aedificationem, et non in destructionem. [n. 535]
13:10 Therefore I write these things, being absent, that, being present, I may not deal more severely, according to the power which the Lord has given me unto edification and not unto destruction. [n. 535]
523. Post comminationem severi Dei iudicii, subdit Apostolus admonitionem ad praeparationem, ut iudicium severum non patiantur, et
523. After threatening God’s severe judgment, the Apostle warns them to be ready, so that they will not experience a severe judgment.
primo ponit ipsam admonitionem;
First, he gives the admonition;
secundo rationem admonitionis assignat, ibi ideo haec absens scribo, et cetera.
second, he assigns the reason for it, at therefore I write these things.
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things.
Primo ponit admonitionem;
First, he presents the admonition;
secundo excludit falsam suspicionem, ibi oramus autem ad Deum, et cetera.
second, he excludes a false suspicion, at now we pray God.
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things.
Primo monet ut se examinent;
First, he advises them to examine themselves;
secundo innuit quid per huiusmodi examinationem invenire possint, ibi an non cognoscitis, et cetera.
second, he suggests what they will be able to find through such an examination, at do you not know.
524. Circa primum sciendum est, quod ille, qui secure vult comparere in iudicio, debet se primo examinare de factis suis, et sic poterit scire utrum tute compareat. Et ideo Apostolus monet ut antequam veniant ad iudicium, quod erit in adventu suo ad eos, examinent se, dicens vosmetipsos tentate, id est examinate et considerate actus vestros. I Thess. V, 21: omnia probate, quod bonum est tenete, et cetera.
524. In regard to the first it should be noted that one who would appear in judgment securely should first examine himself on his deeds; in that way he can tell whether he will appear safely. Therefore the Apostle warns them that before they come to judgment, which will take place when he comes to them, they should examine themselves, saying: try yourselves, i.e., examine and reflect on your acts: test everything; hold fast what is good (1 Thess 5:21).
Monet autem, ut de duobus se examinent, scilicet de fide. Unde dicit si estis in fide, scilicet quam praedicavi vobis, et a me accepistis de Domino Iesu Christo, an excideritis ab ea et sitis prolapsi in aliam. Et hoc necessarium est, quia I Cor. XI, 31 dicitur: si nosmetipsos iudicaremus, et cetera. Ier. II, 23: vide vias tuas, et cetera.
He advises them to examine themselves on two points, namely, on faith; hence he says: if you be in the faith, namely, which I have preached to you and you have received from me concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, or have fallen away and lapsed into another. This is necessary because it is said: but if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged (1 Cor 11:31); look at your way in the valley; know what you have done (Jer 2:23).
Item de operibus. Unde dicit ipsi vos probate, scilicet an sitis in operibus bonis, et utrum conscientia remordeat vos aliquid mali fecisse. Et hoc utile est, quia I Cor. XI, v. 28 dicitur: probet autem seipsum homo, etc.; Gal. VI, 4: opus suum probet unusquisque.
Likewise all works, when he says: try yourselves, whether you be in good works, or whether your conscience bothers you for having done some evil. This is useful, because it is said: let a man examine himself (1 Cor 11:28); and: let each one test his own work (Gal 6:4).
525. Consequenter cum dicit an non cognoscitis, etc., ostendit quid per huiusmodi examinationem invenire poterunt. Et
525. Then when he says, do you not know, he shows what they can find through such an examination.
primo quid inveniant in seipsis;
First, what they might find in themselves;
secundo quid inveniant in Apostolo, ibi spero autem, et cetera.
second, what they might find in the Apostle, at but I trust.
526. In seipsis autem duo invenire poterunt per examinationem, quia aut scient se tenere fidem, et sic invenire poterunt et cognoscere, quod Christus sit in eis, et hoc est quod dicit an non cognoscitis vosmetipsos, quia Christus Iesus in vobis est? Id est numquid si examinaretis vos, sciretis vos habere fidem, et cognosceretis, quod Christus est in vobis? Quasi dicat: sic, quia ubi est fides Christi, ibi est Christus. Eph. III, 17: habitare Christum per fidem, et cetera. I Cor. VI, v. 19: nescitis quia corpora vestra templum, et cetera.
526. In themselves they will be able to discover two things by this examination, because they will either know that they are keeping the faith, and thus they will be able to find and know that Christ is in them; and this is what he says: do you not know that Christ Jesus is in you? i.e., if you were to examine yourselves, would you know that you have the faith and recognize that Christ is in you? As if to say: yes, because where faith in Christ is, there Christ is. That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith (Eph 3:17); do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? (1 Cor 6:19).
Aut scient se non tenere fidem, et sic invenient quod sint reprobi. Et ideo dicit nisi forte reprobi estis, id est vere invenietis vos habere Christum, nisi forte dimiseritis fidem et reprobi sitis ab eo, quod prius habuistis per fidem. Ier. XV, 6: reliquisti me, retrorsum abiisti. Ier. VI, 29: malitiae eorum non sunt consumptae, argentum reprobum, et cetera.
Or they will know that they are not keeping the faith and will find themselves reprobates; hence he says, unless perhaps you are reprobates i.e., you will find that you have Christ, unless you have lost the faith and are fallen from the state of previously having had the faith. You have rejected me, says the Lord, you keep going backward (Jer 15:6); for the wicked are not removed. Refuse silver they are called (Jer 6:29).
527. Sed hic quaestio est litteralis de hoc quod dicit an non cognoscitis, et cetera. Nam Christus in eis solum manet, qui habent caritatem, ut dicitur I Io. IV, 16: Deus caritas est, et cetera. Si ergo cognoscimus, quod Christus per fidem sit in nobis, oportet quod hoc sit per fidem formatam. Cognoscentes ergo hoc modo Christum esse in nobis, sciemus nos habere caritatem qua informatur fides, quod est contra illud Eccle. IX, 1: nemo scit utrum odio, et cetera.
527. But here there is a literal question in regard to the statement: do you not know that Christ Jesus is in you? For Christ only remains in those who have charity, as it is said: God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16). If therefore we know that Christ is in us by faith, it is required that this be by formed faith. But this is contrary to Ecclesiastes: their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate man does not know (Eccl 9:1).
Respondeo. Dicendum est, quod habitare Christum in nobis, potest accipi dupliciter: vel quantum ad intellectum, vel quantum ad affectum. Si quantum ad intellectum, sic ipse habitat in nobis per fidem informem. Et hoc modo nihil prohibet nos per certitudinem scire, quod Christus habitet in nobis, scilicet cum scimus nos tenere fidem, quam Ecclesia Catholica docet et tenet. Si vero quantum ad affectum, sic habitat Christus in nobis per fidem formatam, et hoc modo nullus potest scire, quod Christus habitet in nobis, vel quod habeamus caritatem, nisi per revelationem et specialem gratiam alicui concedatur certitudo. Per quamdam tamen coniecturam nihil prohibet nos scire posse quod in caritate sumus, quando scilicet quis invenit se taliter paratum et dispositum, ut nullo modo propter aliquod temporale vellet aliquid facere contra Christum. I Io. III, 21: si cor nostrum non reprehenderit nos, et cetera.
I answer that Christ dwelling in us can be taken in two ways, namely, in regard to the intellect or in regard to the affections. If it is taken in regard to the intellect, then he dwells in us by unformed faith; and in this way we know there is nothing to prevent our knowing with certainty that Christ dwells in us, namely, when we know that we hold the faith which the Catholic Church teaches and holds. But if it is taken in regard to the affectivity, then Christ dwells in us by formed faith; and in this way no one can know that Christ dwells in him, or that he has charity, unless this certainty be granted to a person by revelation and a special grace. But there is nothing to prevent us from having a conjecture that we are in charity, namely, when a person finds himself so ready and disposed that he would not wish to do anything against Christ in any way for something temporal: beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God (1 John 3:21).
Patet ergo quod Apostolus loquitur quantum ad primum modum. Vel etiam loquitur de cognitione, quae est per coniecturam quamdam, ut dictum est.
It is clear, therefore, that the Apostle is speaking in regard to the first way. Or he is even speaking of knowledge which is by a conjecture, as has been said.
Argumentum autem procedit quantum ad secundum modum, et de cognitione quae est per certitudinem.
But his argument proceeds as to the second way and in regard to knowledge which is certain.
528. Quid autem in Apostolo possint invenire subdit, dicens spero autem, et cetera. Nam quia isti Corinthii possent dicere: nos non sumus reprobi, sed ideo non tenemus documenta tua, quia non sunt recta, sed reprobanda. Et ideo dicit: quidquid sit de vobis, tamen spero, quod ex vita et doctrina nostra, quam ostendi vobis, cognoscetis, quia non sumus reprobi, et non docuimus mala, nec exclusi sumus a potestate quam dicimus nos habere. Eccli. XIX, 26: ex visu cognoscitur vir. Matth. VII, 16: a fructibus eorum, et cetera.
528. What they might find in the Apostle is mentioned when he says, I trust that you shall know that we are not reprobates. For since those Corinthians could say, we are not reprobates, but we do not on that account hold to your teachings, because you are not right and should be repudiated. Therefore he says, whatever the case may be with yourselves, I trust that from our life and doctrine, which we have disclosed to you, you shall know that we are not reprobates and have not taught evil or are excluded from the power we say we have: a wise man, when you meet him, is known by his countenance (Sir 19:26); you will know them by their fruits (Matt 7:16).
529. Consequenter cum dicit oramus, etc., excludit suspicionem.
529. Then when he says, but we pray God, he excludes the suspicion.
Comminatus enim fuerat eis iudicium severum, cum ostenderat potestatem suam in iudicando, et indixerat examinationem, credens Christum in eis esse, nisi ipsi essent reprobi. Sed tamen hoc dimittit sub dubio, utrum sit Christus in eis. Et quia ipsi possent credere et suspicari, quod Apostolus gauderet de hoc quod essent reprobi, ut ipse in comparatione ad eos maior appareat et ut in eis posset exercere severius iudicium: ideo Apostolus hanc suspicionem removet hic,
For he had threatened them with a severe judgment when he mentioned his power to judge, and suggested an examination, trusting that Christ was in them, unless they were reprobate. Nevertheless he leaves in doubt the question whether Christ be in them. And because they might believe and suspect that the Apostle would rejoice in their being reprobates, in order to appear greater in comparison to them and to exercise a more severe judgment, the Apostle removes this suspicion here:
primo, per orationem, quam pro eis ad Deum dirigit;
first, with a prayer he directs to God on their behalf;
secundo per gaudium, quod de eis concepit, ibi gaudemus enim, et cetera.
second, by the joy he conceived in their regard, at for we rejoice.
530. Orat autem, ut ipsi inveniantur innocentes, ut non examinentur ex severitate iudicii. Et ideo dicit oramus autem, scilicet Deum, ut vos nihil mali faciatis; quasi dicat: non credatis, quod velimus, quod sitis reprobi, sed oramus, ut nihil, et cetera.
530. He prays, therefore, that they may be found innocent and not be examined with the severity of a judgment; therefore he says, but we pray, namely to God, that you may do no evil. As if to say: do not suppose that we desire you to be reprobates, but we pray God that you may do no evil.
Item orat, quod ipse appareat infirmus, per quod excluditur appetitus excellentiae Apostoli in comparatione ad eos. Et ideo dicit non, scilicet oramus, ut probati appareamus, id est non ut nos commendemur probati in comparatione ad vos, sed magis, ut vos quod bonum est, faciatis, Gal. VI, 9: bonum autem facientes, et cetera. Ps. XXVI: viriliter agite et confortetur cor vestrum; nos autem, ut reprobi simus, amittendo potestatem puniendi et iudicandi, quia ubi non est culpa, omnes sumus pares, et unus non habet potestatem iudicandi super alios.
He prays also that he may appear weak, thus excluding any desire on the part of the Apostle for excellence in comparison to them; hence he says, not that we may appear approved, i.e., we do not pray that we may be commended as approved in comparison to you, but rather that you may do what is good: and let us not grow weary in well-doing (Gal 6:9); be strong, and let your heart take courage (Ps 27:14), though we may seem to have failed, by losing the power to punish and judge, because where there is no guilt, we are all equal and one does not have power over another to judge.