Caritas ad tristem
Charity for the sorrowful
2:5 Si quis autem contristavit, non me contristavit: sed ex parte, ut non onerem omnes vos. [n. 56]
2:5 And if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me: but in part, that I may not burden you all. [n. 56]
2:6 Sufficit illi, qui ejusmodi est, objurgatio haec, quae fit a pluribus: [n. 59]
2:6 To him who is such a one, this rebuke is sufficient, which is given by many. [n. 59]
2:7 ita ut e contrario magis donetis, et consolemini, ne forte abundantiori tristitia absorbeatur qui ejusmodi est. [n. 60]
2:7 So that on the contrary, you should rather forgive him and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with excessive sorrow. [n. 60]
2:8 Propter quod obsecro vos, ut confirmetis in illum caritatem. [n. 63]
2:8 Therefore, I beseech you that you would confirm your charity towards him. [n. 63]
2:9 Ideo enim et scripsi, ut cognoscam experimentum vestrum, an in omnibus obedientes sitis. [n. 64]
2:9 For to this end also did I write, that I may know your trial, whether you be obedient in all things. [n. 64]
2:10 Cui autem aliquid donastis, et ego: nam et ego quod donavi, si quid donavi, propter vos in persona Christi, [n. 65]
2:10 And to whom you have pardoned anything, I also. For, what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, I have done it for your sakes, in the person of Christ: [n. 65]
2:11 ut non circumveniamur a Satana: non enim ignoramus cogitationes ejus.
2:11 That we may not be overreached by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his devices.
56. Postquam Apostolus insinuavit causam dilationis, ne scilicet tristitiam inferret, et de eius contristatione tractavit, hic consequenter tractat de contristante.
56. After giving the reason for his delay, namely, to avoid paining them, and after telling them of his sadness, the Apostle then treats here of the one causing his sadness.
Et circa hoc tria facit.
In regard to this he does three things:
Primo enim exaggerat culpam contristantis;
first, he speaks more fully of the guilt of the one who causes this sadness;
secundo poenam eius pro culpa inflictam, ibi sufficit illi, etc.;
second, of his punishment for the injury he inflicted, at to him who is such a one;
tertio hortatur eos habere misericordiam ad contristantem, ibi ita ut e contrario, et cetera.
third, he urges them to have mercy on this person, at so that on the contrary.
57. Dicit ergo primo: scripsi vobis per multas lacrymas, quas fudi propter tristitiam conceptam et propter poenam infligendam peccanti, sed si quis contristavit me, ille scilicet fornicarius enormis, de quo dicitur I Cor. V, 1: omnino auditur inter vos fornicatio, et cetera. Iste, inquam, et si contristavit, non contristavit me, sed ex parte, id est, non contristavit me, scilicet solum, sed vos et nos. Non omnes, sed ex parte.
57. He says, therefore: I wrote to you with many tears, which I shed because of the sadness I felt and because of the punishment to be inflicted on the sinner, and if anyone has caused me grief he, namely, the heinous fornicator of whom it is said: it is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans (1 Cor 5:1), that one, I say, even if he has caused sorrow, he has not grieved me: but in part, i.e., he has caused it not to me alone, but you and us. Not all, but in part.
Et hoc dico, non ut onerem vos omnes, id est, ut vobis hoc onus omnibus non imponam derisorie loquendo, quasi dicat: non ita estis boni et diligitis me, quod pro tristitia mea, et pro peccato fratris omnes doleatis. Vel ut non onerem omnes vos, non tantum illos qui non doluerunt de peccato.
And I say this, that I may not burden you all, i.e., that I may not lay this burden on all of you by speaking derisively. As if to say: you are not so good or love me so much that all of you would weep over my sadness and over the sin of a brother. Or, that I may not burden you all, not only those who did not grieve over the sin.
58. Vel aliter dicendum, et melius, non me contristavit, sed ex parte, et cetera.
58. Or it could be said and better: he has not grieved me: but in part.
Sciendum est enim quod aliquis aliquando tristatur totaliter, et aliquando non totaliter. Totaliter quidem tristatur quis, quando prae tristitia absorbetur a dolore; et haec tristitia est quae mortem operatur, ut dicitur infra, c. VII, 10, quae quidem, secundum Philosophum, non cadit in sapientem. Non totaliter autem tristatur quis quando licet ex aliquo malo quod patitur seu videt fieri, tristatur, tamen ex aliis causis bonis gaudet, et ista tristitia est secundum Deum et cadit in sapientem. Quia ergo Apostolus dicit se contristatum, ne credatur totaliter a tristitia absorptus, quod non est sapientis, dicit se contristatum ex parte, quasi non totaliter.
For it should be noted that sometimes a person is completely saddened and sometimes not. He is completely saddened when he is engrossed by pain with his grief. This is the sadness that works death, as he says below, but that, according to the Philosopher, does not happen to a wise man. He is not completely sad when, although he is sad about some evil he is suffering or seems to be on its way, he nevertheless rejoices for other good reasons. This sadness is according to God and does happen to a wise man. Therefore, because the Apostle says that he was very sad, he adds that he was sad in some measure, as though not entirely, lest they suppose that he was altogether engrossed by sadness, which does not befit a wise man.
Et secundum hoc legitur sic: contristavit me, scilicet fornicarius, propter peccatum suum sed non me contristavit totaliter, quia licet in ipso propter peccatum habuerim tristitiam, tamen in vobis propter multa bona quae facitis, et in ipso propter poenitentiam quam fecit, habeo gaudium. Et dico ex parte, ut non onerem omnes vos, id est, ut non imponam vobis hoc onus, quod scilicet contristaveritis me.
According to this, the meaning is: he, i.e., the fornicator, has pained me on account of his sin, but he has not pained me entirely. For although I grieved for him because of his sin, yet I take joy in you because of the many good things you do, and in him because of his repentance. I say, in part, so that I may not burden you all, i.e., that I may not lay this burden on you, namely, that you should grieve me.
59. Sed ne isti propter tristitiam Apostoli adhuc vellent eum magis punire, ostendit eis poenam sufficientem fuisse, dicens sufficit illi qui eiusmodi est, quod scilicet contristavit me, tam graviter peccando, obiurgatio quae fit a pluribus, id est tam manifesta et publica correctio, quae fuit, quod separatus fuit ab omni communione, id est excommunicatus ab Ecclesia et traditus Satanae, ut habetur I Cor. V, 5. Est ergo sufficiens haec poena propter dictas causas.
59. But lest they should wish to punish him more on account of the Apostle’s sadness, he shows them that the punishment was sufficient, saying, for such a one, namely, he who pained me so much by sinning, this rebuke is sufficient, which is given by many, i.e., such a harsh public correction that he was excommunicated from the Church and delivered to Satan (1 Cor 5:5). Therefore this punishment is enough for the above reasons.
Vel potest dici sufficiens, non quantum ad Dei iudicium, sed quantum expediebat tempori et personae. Melius enim est sic servare lenitatis spiritum in corrigendo, ut per poenitentiam correctionis fructus sequatur, quam si durius corrigatur, et desperet peccans et maioribus peccatis immergatur. Et ideo dicitur Eccli. XXI, 5: obiurgatio et iniuriae annullabunt substantiam.
Or it can be called sufficient, not as to God’s judgment, but as was expedient for the time and the person. For it is better to observe such a spirit of leniency in correcting, that the fruit of correction follows on the penance, than to correct so harshly that the sinner despairs and falls into worse sins. Therefore it is said: terror and violence will lay waste riches (Sir 21:4).
60. Quia ergo poena sufficiens fuit et poenitentiam egit, ideo consequenter inducit eos ad miserendum, dicens ita ut e contrario magis, etc., ubi tria facit.
60. Therefore, because that punishment was sufficient and he did penance, he urges them to show mercy, saying, so that on the contrary, you should rather forgive him and comfort him. Here he does three things:
Primo mandat ut ei, scilicet peccanti, parcant;
first, he commands them to spare the sinner;
secundo huius rationem assignat, ibi ne forte, et cetera.
second, he gives the reason, at lest perhaps;
Tertio inducit eos ad observantiam huius monitionis, ibi propter quod, et cetera.
third, he urges them to observe this admonition, at therefore, I beseech you.
61. Dicit ergo primo: dico quod sufficiens poena est illi, et intantum ut velim ut e contrario magis donetis, id est remittatis. Lc. VI, 37: dimittite, et dimittetur vobis. Eph. IV, 32: donantes invicem, sicut et Deus in Christo donavit vobis.
61. He says first, therefore: I say that the punishment is sufficient for him, so that on the contrary, you should forgive him. Forgive, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37); forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph 4:32).
Et non solum donetis, sed, quod plus est, consolemini. Et hoc proponendo sibi exempla peccantium, qui restituti sunt ad statum gratiae, sicut dicitur de David, Petro, Paulo, et Magdalena, et per verba Dei: Ez. XVIII, v. 32: nolo mortem peccatoris, et cetera. I Thess. c. ult.: corripite inquietos, consolamini pusillanimes, et cetera.
You should not only forgive, but what is more, comfort him, and this by recalling to themselves the example of sinners who were restored to the state of grace, such as David, Peter, Paul and Magdalene, and through the Word of God: for I have no pleasure in the death of any one, says the Lord God (Ezek 18:32); admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all (1 Thess 5:14).
62. Rationem autem huius admonitionis subdit ne forte abundantiori tristitia absorbeatur qui eiusmodi est. Aliquis enim propter peccatum et poenam peccati, aliquando sic mergitur tristitia, quod absorbetur, dum nullum habet consolatorem; et hoc est malum, quia non sequitur ex hoc poenitentiae fructus, qui speratur, scilicet correctio, sed potius desperans tradit se omnibus peccatis, sicut Cain, cum dixit: maior est iniquitas, etc., Gen. IV, 13; et Eph. IV, 19: qui desperantes tradiderunt se, et cetera. Et propter hoc dicitur II Reg. II, 26, quod periculosa res est desperatio. Et ideo dicebat David in Ps. LXVIII, 16: neque absorbeat me profundum, et cetera.
62. He gives the reason for this admonition, saying, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with excessive sorrow. For some are sometimes so steeped in sorrow because of sin and punishment of sin, that they are overcome, when they have no one to comfort them; and this is bad, because it does not result in the hope for the fruit of repentance, namely reformation, but in despair he delivers himself over to all sins, as Cain, when he said: my punishment is greater than I can bear (Gen. 4:13); who, despairing, have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness (Eph 4:19). For this reason, despair is called a dangerous thing (2 Sam 2:26), so that David said: let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me (Ps 69:15).
Et ideo ne hoc contingat, dicit consolamini, ut scilicet cesset a peccato. Is. XXVII, v. 9: hic est omnis fructus, ut auferatur peccatum.
Therefore, in order to prevent this, he says, comfort him, so that he will cease sinning. This will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin (Isa 27:9).
63. Contra Apostolus, non solum per rationem sed ex aliis causis, inducit eos ad hoc cum dicit propter quod obsecro, et cetera.
63. Then the Apostle urges them not only by reason, but from other causes to do this, when he says, therefore, I beseech you that you would confirm your charity towards him.
Et inducit eos a tribus modis. Primo precibus, dicens propter quod, scilicet ne absorbeatur, obsecro, qui possum praecipere. Phil. v. 8: multam fiduciam habens in Christo Iesu imperandi tibi, et cetera. Contrarium faciunt mali praelati. Ez. XXXIV, 4: cum austeritate imperabatis eis, et cetera. Ut confirmetis in illum caritatem. Quod fit si ostenditis caritatem vestram ad eum, et non abominamini eum propter peccata, nec contemnitis, sed propter consolationem vestram facitis eum habere odio peccatum suum, et diligere iustitiam. Lc. XXII, 32: et tu conversus confirma fratres tuos, et cetera.
And he urges them in three ways: first, by his appeal, saying, therefore, i.e., that he not be overwhelmed, I, who can command, beseech: though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you (Phlm 1:8). Evil prelates do the opposite: with force and harshness you have ruled them (Ezek 34:4). That you would confirm your charity for him, which happens if you show your charity for him and not hate him for his sins, or despise him, but for your consolation make him hate his sin and love justice: strengthen your brethren (Luke 22:32).
64. Secundo inducit eos praecepto, dicens ideo enim scripsi hoc, scilicet ut cognoscam experimentum vestrum, an in omnibus obedientes sitis.
64. Second, he urges them with a command, saying, for to this end also did I write, namely, that I may know your trial, whether you be obedient in all things.
Et dicit in omnibus, scilicet sive in his quae placent vobis, sive in his quae displicent. Primo enim mandaverat eis quod excommunicarent eum, et sic fecerunt mandatum Apostoli: nunc vero secundo mandat eis quod parcant. Et ideo dicit an in omnibus obedientes sitis.
He says, in all things namely, whether they are pleasing or displeasing to you. For he had first commanded them to excommunicate him, and they obeyed the Apostle’s command. But now he commands them to be sparing; hence he says, whether you be obedient in all things.
65. Tertio ex commemoratione beneficii, cum dicit cui autem aliquid donastis, etc., quasi dicat: vos debetis hoc facere, quia etiam ego feci. Sic enim vos remisistis alicui et rogastis me quod ego remitterem, et ego remisi. Et hoc est quod dicit cui autem aliquid donastis vos, et ego, scilicet donavi.
65. Third, he urges them by reminding them of a gift, when he says, and to whom you have pardoned anything, I also. As if to say: you should do this because I also have done it. For if you have forgiven someone and asked me to forgive, I have forgiven. And this is what he says: to whom you have pardoned anything, I also, namely, have pardoned.
66. Et hoc patet. Nam et ego, quod donavi, etc.; ubi quatuor tanguntur ad huiusmodi donationem seu remissionem necessaria.
66. And this is obvious, for what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, I have done it for your sakes, in the person of Christ. In this he touches four things required for such pardon or forgiveness.
Primum est discretio, ut scilicet non passim et temere remittatur. Et ideo dicit si quid, scilicet in debito modo. Prov. IV, 25: palpebrae tuae praecedant, et cetera. Secundum est finis, quia non propter amorem vel odium debet fieri, sed propter utilitatem aliquam Ecclesiae vel aliquorum. Et ideo dicit propter vos. Tertium est auctoritas, quia non debet fieri auctoritate propria, sed Christi, qui remittit peccata auctoritate; alii vero, quibus commissum est, ministerio, et sicut membra Christi. Et ideo dicit in persona Christi, scilicet non mea auctoritate. Et tamen quodcumque remittitur, Christus remittit. Io. XX, v. 23: quorum remiseritis peccata, et cetera. Quartum est necessitas; unde dicit ut non circumveniamur a Satana. Diabolus enim multos decepit, quosdam scilicet trahendo ad peccatorum perpetrationem, quosdam vero ad nimiam rigiditatem contra peccantes, ut si non potest eos habere per perpetrationem facinorum, saltem perdat quos iam habet per praelatorum austeritatem, qui eos non misericorditer corrigentes in desperationem inducunt, et sic hos perdit, et illos diaboli laqueus includit. Eccle. VII, 17: noli esse nimis iustus, et cetera. I Petr. V, 8: adversarius vester diabolus, et cetera. Et hoc continget nobis, si non remittamus peccantibus. Et ideo, ut non circumveniamur a Satana, ego donavi, si quid donavi. Non enim ignoramus cogitationes eius, scilicet Satanae. Verum est in generali, sed in speciali nullus potest scire eius cogitationes, nisi solus Deus. Iob XLI, 4: quis revelavit faciem indumenti eius? et cetera.
The first is discernment, so that pardon is not granted indiscriminately and rashly; hence he says, if I have pardoned anything, namely, in the proper way. Let your eyes look directly forward (Prov 4:25). The second is the end, because it should be done not for love or hatred, but for some benefit to the Church or others; hence he says, I have done it for your sakes. The third is authority, because it should not be done on one’s own authority, but Christ’s, who forgives sin by authority, but the others to whom it has been entrusted, forgive as ministers and members of Christ; hence he says, in the person of Christ, namely, not by my own authority. Yet whatever is forgiven, Christ forgives: if you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven (John 20:23). The fourth is need; hence he says, that we may not be overreached by Satan. For the devil had deceived many: some by leading them to commit sins, and others by excessive rigor against sinners; so that if Satan cannot get them for having committed sin, he at least destroys those he already has by the severity of prelates who drive them to despair by not correcting them in a compassionate way. Hence, he destroys these, and the others he puts in the snare of the devil: be not righteous overmuch (Eccl 7:16); your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8). And this will happen to us if we do not forgive sinners. Therefore that we may not be overreached by Satan, I have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything. For we are not ignorant of his devices namely, those of Satan. This is true in general, but in particular no one can know his thoughts but God alone. Who can strip off his outer garment? Who can penetrate into the midst of his mouth? (Job 41:13).