Ministri divini in bonum
Divine ministers in good
6:6 in castitate, in scientia, in longanimitate, in suavitate, in Spiritu Sancto, in caritate non ficta, [n. 216]
6:6 In chastity, in knowledge, in longsuffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Spirit, in charity unfeigned, [n. 216]
6:7 in verbo veritatis, in virtute Dei, per arma justitiae a dextris et a sinistris, [n. 221]
6:7 In the word of truth, in the power of God: by the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left: [n. 221]
6:8 per gloriam, et ignobilitatem, per infamiam, et bonam famam: ut seductores, et veraces, [n. 223]
6:8 By honor and dishonor: by evil report and good report: as deceivers and yet true: [n. 223]
6:9 sicut qui ignoti, et cogniti: quasi morientes, et ecce vivimus: ut castigati, et non mortificati: [n. 225]
6:9 as unknown and yet known: as dying and behold we live: as chastised and not killed: [n. 225]
6:10 quasi tristes, semper autem gaudentes: sicut egentes, multos autem locupletantes: tamquam nihil habentes, et omnia possidentes.
6:10 As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing and possessing all things.
216. Positis his quae pertinent ad tolerantiam malorum, ponit consequenter ea quae pertinent ad observantiam bonorum. Bonitas autem operis consistit in tribus: in perfectione virtutum, et hoc pertinet ad cor; in veritate locutionis, et hoc pertinet ad os; in virtute operis, et hoc pertinet ad opus.
216. Having set down the things which pertain to enduring evils, he now mentions those which pertain to the observance of good. Now the goodness of a work consists in three things, namely, in the perfection of virtues, and this pertains to the heart; in speaking the truth, and this pertains to the mouth; and in the virtuous activity which pertains to a work.
Primo ergo ostendit Apostolus qualiter se habeant in his quae pertinent ad perfectionem virtutum, quae consistunt in corde;
First, therefore, the Apostle shows how they conduct themselves in matters pertaining to the perfection of the virtues, which consists in the heart;
secundo in his, quae ad virtutem oris, ibi in verbo veritatis;
second, in those which pertain to the virtue of the mouth, at in the word of truth;
tertio in his, quae pertinent ad perfectionem operis, ibi in virtute Dei.
third, in those which pertain to the perfection of a work, at in the power of God.
217. Circa primum ponit quatuor virtutes: et primo virtutem castitatis, quae maximum locum tenet in virtute temperantiae, et quantum ad hoc dicit in castitate, scilicet mentis et corporis.
217. In regard to the first he sets down four virtues: first of all the virtue of chastity, which holds a prominent place in the virtue of temperance: in regard to this he says, in chastity, namely, of mind and body.
Ubi notandum est quod immediate post multos labores, vigilias et ieiunia, subdit de castitate, quia qui vult habere virtutem castitatis, necesse habet laboribus dari, vigiliis insistere, et macerari ieiuniis. I Cor. IX, v. 27: castigo corpus meum, et in servitutem redigo, et cetera. Hebr. XII, 14: pacem sequimini, et cetera.
Here it should be noted that immediately after many labors, watches and fasts he mentions chastity, because a person who wills to have the virtue of chastity must be given to labors, continue in watchings, and be worn out with fasts. But I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Cor 9:27); strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14).
Si autem quaeratur, quare non facit mentionem de aliis virtutibus, nisi solum de temperantia, dicendum est quod sic facit, sed implicite; quia hoc quod dicit: in multa patientia, in tribulationibus, etc., pertinet ad virtutem fortitudinis; hoc vero quod dicit: per arma iustitiae, pertinet ad virtutem iustitiae.
But if anyone should ask why he makes no mention of the other virtues, but only of temperance, the answer is that he does mention them implicitly, because when he says, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, they pertain to the virtue of courage; when he says, by the armor of justice, there is reference to the virtue of justice.
218. Secundo ponit virtutem scientiae. Unde dicit in scientia. Et siquidem scientia referatur ad scientiam qua aliquis scit bene conversari in medio nationis pravae et perversae, sic refertur ad virtutem prudentiae. Si vero scientia referatur ad certitudinem, qua fideles certi sunt de his quae pertinent ad cognitionem Dei, sic pertinet ad virtutem fidei. Et utraque necessaria est Christianis, quia sine scientia, primo modo sive secundo modo accepta, homines de facili ruunt in peccatis. Is. V, 13: propterea captivus ductus est populus meus, quia non habuit scientiam. Ier. c. III, 15: dabo vobis pastores iuxta cor meum.
218. Second, he mentions the virtue of knowledge; therefore he says, in knowledge. If this is taken as referring to the knowledge by which a person knows how to behave well in the midst of a wicked and perverse nation, it pertains to the virtue of prudence. But if knowledge is taken as referring to the certitude with which the faithful are certain about the things which pertain to their knowledge of God, it pertains to the virtue of faith. Both are necessary for Christians, for without prudence and faith, men easily slip into sins: therefore my people go into exile for want of knowledge (Isa 5:13); and I will give you shepherds after my own heart (Jer 3:15).
219. Tertio ponit virtutem spei. Unde dicit in longanimitate, quae pertinet ad perfectionem spei. Nihil autem aliud est longanimis, quam qui arduum aliquod ex spe, semper ac diu dilatum, patienter expectat, et hoc a Spiritu Sancto. Gal. V, 22: fructus autem Spiritus, caritas, etc., longanimitas, et cetera. Col. I, 11: in omni patientia et longanimitate.
219. Third, he mentions the virtue of hope when he says, in longsuffering, which pertains to the perfection of hope. For a longsuffering person is nothing less than a person who is always hopeful of obtaining a good that is difficult and waits patiently if it delay; and this is by the Holy Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22–23); for all endurance and patience with joy (Col 1:11).
220. Quarto ponit virtutem caritatis. Caritas autem duo habet, scilicet effectum exteriorem et interiorem. Sed in effectu exteriori habet suavitatem ad proximum. Non enim convenit quod aliquis non sit suavis ad eos quos diligit. Et ideo dicit in suavitate, id est dulci conversatione ad proximos, ut scilicet blandi simus. Prov. XII, 11: qui suavis est, vivit in moderationibus, et cetera. Eccli. VI, 5: verbum dulce multiplicat amicos, et cetera. Sed non in suavitate mundi, sed in ea quae causatur ex amore Dei, scilicet ex Spiritu Sancto, et ideo dicit in Spiritu Sancto, id est quam Spiritus Sanctus causat in nobis. Sap. c. XII, 1: O quam bonus et suavis, et cetera.
220. Fourth, he mentions charity, which has two effects, namely, one inward and one outward. In the outward effect it has sweetness toward one’s neighbor: for it is unseemly for a person not to be sweet toward those he loves; therefore he says, in sweetness, in our behavior toward others, and gentle. He who is sweet, lives in moderations (Prov 12:11); a pleasant voice multiplies friends, and a gracious tongue multiplies courtesies (Sir 6:5). Not in the sweetness of the world, but in that which is caused by the love of God, i.e., by the Holy Spirit; hence he says, in the Holy Spirit i.e., which the Holy Spirit causes in us. O how good and sweet is your Spirit, Lord, in all things (Wis 12:1).
In effectu autem interiori habet veritatem absque fictione, ut scilicet non praetendat exterius contrarium eius quod habet interius. Et ideo dicit in caritate non ficta. I Io. c. III, 18: non diligamus verbo neque lingua, sed, et cetera. Col. III, 14: super omnia caritatem habentes. Et huius ratio est quia, ut dicitur Sap. I, 5: Spiritus Sanctus disciplinae effugiet fictum.
In the inward effect it has truth without pretense, i.e., that a person not pretend outwardly the contrary of what he has within; hence he says, in charity unfeigned: let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18); and above all these put on love (Col 3:14). The reason for this is because, as it is said: for the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from deceit (Wis 1:5).
221. Consequenter ostendit quomodo se habeant in his, quae pertinent ad veritatem oris, ut scilicet sint veraces. Et ideo dicit in verbo veritatis, scilicet vera loquendo et praedicando.
221. Then he shows how they should act in things which pertain to the truth of the mouth, namely, that they be truthful. Hence, he says, in the word of truth, namely, speaking and preaching what is true.
222. Quomodo autem se habeant in perfectione operis, subdit, dicens in virtute Dei, id est non in operibus nostris confidamus, sed solum in virtute Dei, et non in propria. I Cor. IV, 20: regnum Dei non est in sermone, et cetera.
222. But how they should act in regard to the perfection of a work, he tells them when he says, in the power of God, i.e., in let us not put confidence in our own works, but only in the power of God: for the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power (1 Cor 4:20).
223. Consequenter cum dicit per arma iustitiae, etc., ostendit qualiter se habeant in operatione bonorum et malorum, inter bona et mala, prospera et adversa, et hoc pertinet ad virtutem iustitiae. Et primo ostendit hoc in generali; secundo exponit in speciali.
223. Then when he says, by the armor of justice, he shows how they should act in doing good and evil, among good and evil, in prosperity and adversity; and this pertains to the virtue of justice. First, he shows this in general; second, he explains it in particular.
Dicit ergo primo, quod exhibeamus nos sicut Dei ministros in multa patientia. Et quod plus est, per arma iustitiae. Ubi sciendum est quod iustitia ordinat et facit hominem tenere locum suum, a dextris, id est, in prosperis, ut scilicet non elevetur, et a sinistris, id est in adversis, ut scilicet non deiiciatur. Phil. IV, 12: ubique et in omnibus, etc., scio abundare, et cetera.
He says, therefore, first, that we should show ourselves as God’s ministers in much patience, and what is more, by the armor of justice. Here it should be noted that justice ordains and makes a man keep his place on the right hand, i.e., in prosperity, namely, that he not be lifted up; and on the left, i.e., in adversity, namely, that he not be cast down. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want (Phil 4:12).
Consequenter hoc exponit per partes prosperorum et adversorum, dicens per gloriam, et cetera. Ubi sciendum est, quod in rebus temporalibus prosperitas vel adversitas in tribus consistit: in superbia vitae, in concupiscentia carnis, in concupiscentia oculorum, iuxta illud I Io. II, 16: omne quod est in mundo, aut est concupiscentia carnis, et cetera. Et haec prosequitur ordine suo, quia primo dicit quomodo se habeant in adversis et prosperis, quae pertinent ad superbiam vitae, dicens per gloriam, et cetera. Secundo quomodo se habeant in his quae pertinent ad concupiscentiam carnis, ibi quasi morientes, et cetera. Tertio quomodo se habeant in his quae pertinent ad concupiscentiam oculorum, ibi sicut egentes, et cetera.
Then he explains this by the two sides, prosperity and adversity, saying, by honor and dishonor. Here it should be noted that in temporal affairs prosperity and adversity consist in three things, namely, the pride of life, in the concupiscence of the flesh, and in the concupiscence of the eyes: for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world (1 John 2:16). He treats these in order. First, he shows how they should act in prosperity and adversity as pertaining to the pride of life, saying by honor; second, in things which pertain to the concupiscence of the flesh, at as dying; third, pertaining to the concupiscence of the eyes, at as needy.
224. Sunt autem duo, quae ad superbiam pertinent, scilicet sublimitas status et operum. Et ideo dicit per gloriam, id est per statum excellentiae, quasi dicat: exhibeamus nos Dei ministros, scilicet per Dei gloriam, id est in prosperitate. Is. XXIII, 9: Dominus exercituum cogitavit, et cetera. Et quod apostoli gloriosi appareant, patet Act. XIV, 10, quod Paulus et Barnabas credebantur esse dii. Et ignobilitatem, quae est in sinistris, quasi dicat: nec in gloria elevemur, nec, si contemptibiles sumus, deiiciamur. I Cor. I, 28: ignobilia huius mundi elegit Deus, et cetera.
224. Now there are two things which pertain to pride, namely, excellence of state and of works. Hence he says, by honor, i.e., by a condition of excellence. As if to say: let us show ourselves as God’s ministers, namely, by the glory of God, that is, in prosperity. The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pride of all glory (Isa 23:9). That the apostles seemed glorious is shown in Acts, when Paul and Barnabas were taken as gods (Acts 14:10). And dishonor, which is on the left. As if to say: let us neither be lifted up by glory nor, if we are contemptible, be cast down. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are (1 Cor 1:28).
Quantum ad famam operum dicit per infamiam et bonam famam. Ubi sciendum est, quod, sicut Gregorius dicit, homo non debet ex se dare causam infamiae suae, sed potius debet procurare bonam famam, iuxta illud Eccli. XLI, 15: curam habe de bono nomine, et hoc propter alios, quia oportet nos bonum testimonium habere ad eos, qui foris sunt, I Tim. III, 7. Si vero contingat aliquem incurrere in infamiam iniuste, non debet esse ita pusillanimis, ut propter hoc derelinquat iustitiam. Si vero sit in bona fama apud infideles, non debet tamen superbire, sed debet inter utrumque medio modo incedere.
As to reports about works, he says, in evil report and good report. Here it should be noted that, as Gregory says, a man should not be the cause of his own bad reputation among those who are outside; rather he should try to acquire a good reputation, as it is said: better is the man who hides his folly than the man who hides his wisdom (Sir 41:15), and this for the sake of others, because we need to have a good reputation among those who are outside (1 Tim 3:7). But if anyone happens to fall into bad repute unjustly, he should not be fainthearted or abandon holiness on that account. But if he has a good reputation among unbelievers, he should not be proud but take a middle path between the two.
Consequenter exponit ista duo quae posuit. Et primo quam infamiam habuerunt, et ostendit quod magnam, quia ut seductores, etc., quasi dicat: a quibusdam habemur ut seductores, a quibusdam vero habemur ut veraces. Nec mirum, quia etiam de Christo alii dixerunt quia bonus est, alii vero quod non, sed seducit turbas, ut dicitur Io. VII, v. 12. Secundo ostendit quomodo fuerunt gloriosi et ignobiles, quia sicut ignoti et cogniti, id est approbati a bonis, et incogniti, id est despecti a malis. I Cor. IV, 13: tamquam purgamenta, et cetera.
Then he explains the two things he mentioned. First, the evil reputation they had and to what a degree. Hence he says, as deceivers and yet true. As if to say: some regard us as deceivers and some as true. But this is not strange, because even in the case of Christ some said that he was good, and some that he was not, but that he was deceiving the multitude, as it says in John (John 7:12). Second, he shows how they were noble and ignoble. Hence he says, as unknown and yet known, i.e., approved by the good, and unknown, i.e., despised by the evil. We have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things (1 Cor 4:13).
225. Consequenter prosequitur ea quae pertinent ad concupiscentiam carnis. Et ponit tria quae concupiscit caro. Primo enim concupiscit longam vitam, et quantum ad hoc dicit quasi morientes, id est licet exponamur periculis mortis, infra XI, 23: in mortibus frequenter, etc., tamen ecce vivimus, virtute et fide. Et ideo Hab. II, 4: iustus ex fide vivit. Ps. CXVII, 17: non moriar, sed vivam, et cetera.
225. Then he discusses the things which pertain to the concupiscence of the flesh and mentions three things which the flesh desires: first, it desires a long life; as to this he says, as dying, i.e., although we are exposed to the dangers of death: in deaths often (2 Cor 11:23), and behold we live in virtue and faith. Therefore: but the righteous live by their faith (Hab 2:4); I shall not die, but I shall live (Ps 118:17).
Secundo concupiscit incolumitatem et quietem. Et quantum ad hoc dicit ut castigati et non mortificati, quasi dicat: licet diversis flagellis castigemur a Domino, non tamen tradit nos morti. Ps. XI: castigans castigavit me Dominus, et cetera. II Tim. c. III, 12: omnes qui pie volunt, et cetera.
Second, it desires health and repose; as to this he says, as chastised and not killed. As if to say: although we are chastised with many stripes by the Lord, yet he has not delivered us over to death: the Lord has chastened me sorely, but he has not given me over to death (Ps 118:13); indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12).
Tertio concupiscit gaudium et iucunditatem, et quantum ad hoc dicit quasi tristes, semper autem gaudentes; quia licet in exterioribus, et quae ad carnem sunt, patiamur tristitiam et amaritudinem, interius tamen continuum gaudium habemus, quod crescit in nobis ex consolationibus Spiritus Sancti, et spe remunerationis aeternae. Iac. I, 2: omne gaudium existimate, et cetera. Io. XVI, 20: tristitia vestra vertetur in gaudium, et cetera.
Third, it desires joy and pleasantness; as to this he says, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. For although in outward things and things which pertain to the flesh, we suffer sadness and bitterness, yet inwardly we have continual joy, which grows in us by the consolations of the Holy Spirit and by the hope of an eternal reward: count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials (Jas 1:2); you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy (John 16:20).
226. Consequenter prosequitur de his quae pertinent ad concupiscentiam oculorum.
226. Then he discusses the things which pertain to the concupiscence of the eyes,
Et circa hoc ponit duo, quorum unum est in comparatione ad alios; et secundum hoc, prosperum in divitiis est quod homo abundet, ita quod possit aliis ministrare de divitiis suis. Sinistrum autem in hoc est, quod homo sit ita pauper, quod oporteat eum ab aliis mendicare. Et ideo dicit quod, in his temporalibus, sumus sicut egentes, id est ab aliis accipientes; sed tamen quantum ad spiritualia sumus multos locupletantes. Et non dicit omnes, quia non sunt omnes locupletari parati. Prov. XIII, 7: est quasi pauper, cum in multis divitiis sit.
and in regard to this he mentions two things. One of these is in relation to others, and according to this the right hand in riches consists in a man abounding, so that he can minister to others from his riches. But the left hand consists in a man’s being so poor that he must beg from others. Hence he says that in these temporal things we are as needy i.e., receiving from others; but as to spiritual things, yet enriching many. He does not say, all, because not all are ready to be enriched: another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth (Prov 13:7).
Secundum est in comparatione ad seipsos, et secundum hoc prosperum in divitiis est multa possidere, sinistrum autem, ut nihil penitus habeat. Et quantum ad hoc dicit, quod in exterioribus sunt tamquam nihil habentes, scilicet in temporalibus, quia omnia dimiserunt propter Christum. Matth. XVI: si vis perfectus esse, vade, et vende omnia quae habes, et cetera. Sed interius et in spiritualibus, omnia possidentes, scilicet per interiorem magnitudinem cordis. Et hoc ideo est quia ipsi vivebant non sibi, sed Christo, et ideo, omnia quae sunt Christi, reputabant ut sua. Unde cum Christo omnia sint subiecta, omnia possidebant, et omnia tendebant in eorum gloriam. Ios. I, 3: et omnem locum quem calcaverit pes vester, vobis tradam.
The second is in relation to themselves, and according to this, prosperity in riches is to possess many; but the left side is that he have absolutely nothing. In regard to this he says that in external things they are as having nothing, namely, in temporal things, because they have forsaken all things for Christ: if you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven (Matt 19:21). But inwardly and in spiritual things, possessing all things, namely, by an inner greatness of heart. And this is so because they lived not for themselves, but for Christ. Consequently, all that were Christ’s they regarded as their own. Hence, since all things are subject to Christ, they possessed all things, and all things tended to their glory: every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you (Jos 1:3).
227. Nota autem circa praemissa, quod Apostolus utitur in praemissis miro modo loquendi. Nam ipse quasi semper ponit unum contra unum, et temporale contra spirituale; sed tamen in temporalibus semper addit quamdam conditionem, puta: ut, sicut, quasi, tamquam, sed in opposito spirituali, nihil addit. Cuius ratio est quia temporalia, sive sint mala, sive bona, sive transmutabilia et apparentia, habent tamen similitudinem vel boni vel mali. Et ideo dicit: ut seductores, et quasi ignoti, quia non erant in rei veritate sic, sed in opinione hominum, et si erant transitoria, erant bona aut mala. Bona autem spiritualia existentia sunt et vera, et ideo non addit eis conditionem aliquam.
227. Note in regard to the foregoing that the Apostle employs a remarkable manner of speaking. For he, as it were, always sets one thing against another, and temporal against spiritual. But yet in temporal things he always adds a condition, namely, as or as though, but in the opposite spiritual things he adds nothing. The reason for this is that temporal things, whether they be good or evil, are changeable and apparent, and they have only a likeness to good and evil. Hence he says, as imposters and as unknown, because they were not so in reality, but only in men’s opinion. Consequently, they were transitory good or evils. But spiritual goods are existent and true; therefore, he adds no condition to them.
6:11 Os nostrum patet ad vos, o Corinthii; cor nostrum dilatatum est. [n. 228]
6:11 Our mouth is open to you, O Corinthians: our heart is enlarged. [n. 228]