Oratio pro Colossensibus
Prayer for the Colossians
1:9 Ideo et nos ex qua die audivimus, non cessamus pro vobis orantes, et postulantes ut impleamini agnitione voluntatis ejus, in omni sapientia et intellectu spiritali: [n. 17]
1:9 Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: [n. 17]
1:10 ut ambuletis digne Deo per omnia placentes: in omni opere bono fructificantes, et crescentes in scientia Dei: [n. 21]
1:10 That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God: [n. 21]
1:11 in omni virtute confortati secundum potentiam claritatis ejus, in omni patientia et longanimitate cum gaudio, [n. 22]
1:11 Strengthened with all might according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy, [n. 22]
1:12 gratias agentes Deo Patri, qui dignos nos fecit in partem sortis sanctorum in lumine: [n. 23]
1:12 Giving thanks to God the Father, who has made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: [n. 23]
1:13 qui eripuit nos de potestate tenebrarum, et transtulit in regnum Filii dilectionis suae, [n. 26]
1:13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, [n. 26]
1:14 in quo habemus redemptionem per sanguinem ejus, remissionem peccatorum: [n. 28]
1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins: [n. 28]
17. Supra posuit materiam gratiarum actionis, ostendens pro quibus bonis gratias egit, hic ostendit orationem, innuens quid pro eis petit. Et
17. Above, the Apostle gave the reason for his thanksgiving by mentioning the things for which he gave thanks; here he states his prayer, showing what he is asking for them.
primo praemittit conditiones orationis;
First, he gives the characteristics of prayer;
secundo subdit bona petita, ibi ut impleamini.
second, he mentions the goods he is asking for, at that you may be filled.
18. Oratio tres habet conditiones: primo quod sit tempestiva, unde subdit ex qua die, etc., supple: coepimus orare. Ier. XXXI, v. 20: ex quo locutus sum de eo, adhuc recordabor eius, et cetera.
18. Prayer has three characteristics. First, it is timely, thus he says, from the day that we heard it we began to pray: since I spoke of him, I will still remember him (Jer 31:20).
Secundo quod sit continua, ibi non cessamus, et cetera. I Reg. XII, 23: absit autem a me hoc peccatum in domino, ut cessem orare pro vobis. Rom. I, 9: sine intermissione memoriam vestri facio semper in orationibus meis.
Second, it is continuous: we cease not: far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you (1 Sam 12:23); without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers (Rom 1:9).
Tertio multiplex et perfecta, ibi orantes et postulantes. Oratio est ascensus mentis in Deum. Postulatio est rerum petitio. Oratio debet praecedere ut devote petens exaudiatur, sicut petentes praemittunt persuasionem ut inclinent; sed nos debemus praemittere devotionem et meditationem Dei et divinorum, non ut eum flectamus, sed ut nos erigamus in eum.
Third, prayer has several elements and is complete: to pray for you and to beg. Praying is lifting our minds up to God; and asking is requesting things. Praying should come first, so that the one devoutly requesting is heard, just as those who are requesting something begin by trying to persuade their listener and bend him to their wishes. But we should begin with devotion and meditation on God and divine things, not in order to bend him, but to lift ourselves up to him.
19. Tria autem petit, scilicet cognitionem veritatis, ibi ut impleamini; operationem virtutis, ibi ut ambuletis; tolerantiam malorum, ibi in omni patientia.
19. He asks for three things. First, for a knowledge of the truth, at that you may be filled; second, that they act in a virtuous way, at that you may walk worthy; and third, that they have the endurance to stand up under evil, at in all patience.
20. Triplicem vero cognitionem optat, scilicet agendorum; unde dicit ut impleamini agnitione, etc., id est ut plene cognoscatis voluntatem Dei. I Thess. IV, 3: haec est voluntas Dei, sanctificatio vestra, ut abstineatis, et cetera. Ille ergo cognoscit voluntatem Dei, qui in sanctitate vivit. Qui ergo peccat, non cognoscit voluntatem Dei, quia omnis peccans est ignorans. Rom. XII, 2: ut probetis quae sit voluntas Dei, et cetera.
20. He requests three kinds of knowledge for them. First, a knowledge of what they are to do; and so he says, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, that is, that you may fully know the will of God: this is the will of God, your sanctification (1 Thess 4:3). Thus, one who lives in a holy way knows God’s will; but one who sins does not know the will of God, because every sinner is ignorant: that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom 12:2).
Item cognitionem divinorum, ibi in omni sapientia, quae est cognitio divinorum, secundum Augustinum. Sap. I, 1: sentite de Domino in bonitate.
Second, he wants them to have a knowledge of divine things, in all wisdom, which consists in the knowledge of divine things, as Augustine says. Think of the Lord with uprightness (Wis 1:1).
Item spiritualium donorum, ibi et intellectu spirituali, id est non harum corporalium rerum. I Cor. II, 12: nos autem non spiritum huius mundi accepimus, sed Spiritum qui ex Deo est.
Third, of spiritual gifts, at and spiritual understanding, i.e., not of these earthly material things: now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is from God (1 Cor 2:12).
Et apte coniunguntur haec duo, sapientia et intellectus, quia minor est sapientia, si intellectu careat, ut dicit Gregorius; et inutilis est intellectus sine sapientia, quia sapientia iudicat, et intellectus capit, et non valet capere, nisi iudicet, et e converso.
He appropriately associates wisdom and understanding, because wisdom is weak when there is no understanding, as Gregory says, and understanding is useless without wisdom: for wisdom judges and understanding apprehends, and one cannot apprehend without judging, and vice versa.
Glossa dicit quod primum sumitur generaliter; secundum pertinet ad activam vitam; tertium ad contemplativam.
The Gloss says that the first kind of knowledge is taken in general, the second pertains to the active life, and the third to the contemplative life.
21. Nec sufficit cognoscere, quia scienti bonum et non operanti, peccatum est illi, ut dicitur Iac. IV, 17. Unde oportet quod adsit virtuosa operatio, quam primo tangit, ibi ut ambuletis digne Deo. Indigne enim ambulat qui non vivit sicut decet filium Dei. II Cor. VI, 4: in omnibus exhibeamus nosmetipsos sicut Dei ministros in multa patientia, et cetera. I Thess. IV, 6: sicut praediximus et testificati sumus. Secundo tangit rectam intentionem, ibi per omnia placentes. Sap. c. IV, 10: placens Deo factus est dilectus. Tertio studium proficiendi, ibi in omni opere bono, et cetera. Semper enim homo debet niti ad ulterius bonum. Eccli. XXIV, 23: flores mei fructus honoris et honestatis. Rom. VI, v. 22: habetis fructum vestrum in sanctificationem, et cetera.
21. Further, knowledge by itself is not enough, because whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (Jas 4:17). And therefore, it is necessary to act according to virtue. He touches on this when he says, that you may walk worthy of God, for one lives unworthily if he does not live as is fitting for a son of God to live: as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships (2 Cor 6:4); as we solemnly forewarned you (1 Thess 4:6). Second, he touches on a correct intention: in all things pleasing: there was one who pleased God and was loved by him (Wis 4:10). Third, he brings in the desire to make progress: being fruitful in every good work, for one should always try for a further good: my blossoms became glorious and abundant fruit (Sir 24:17); the return you get is sanctification and its end eternal life (Rom 6:22).
Ad fructificationem sequitur augmentum scientiae; ideo dicit et crescentes, et cetera. Ex hoc enim quod aliquis studet implere mandata disponitur ad cognitionem. Ps. CXVIII, v. 100: super senes intellexi, quia mandata tua quaesivi. Sap. I, 4: non habitabit in corpore subdito peccatis. Et dicit Dei, non mundi. Sap. X, 10: dedit illi scientiam sanctorum, et cetera.
And after one has borne fruit, an increase in knowledge follows, and increasing in the knowledge of God; for as a result of eagerly accomplishing the commands of God, a person is disposed for knowledge: I understand more than the aged, because I keep your precepts (Ps 119:100); wisdom will not dwell in a body enslaved to sin (Wis 1:4). He says, increasing in the knowledge of God, and not of the world: she gave him a knowledge of holy things (Wis 10:10).
22. Deinde tangit tolerantiam malorum, quia ad virtutem non sufficit scire vel velle, nisi immobiliter operetur, quod non potest esse sine patientia et malorum tolerantia. Et ideo dicit in omni virtute confortati. Eccli. c. XLVII: divites in virtute pulchritudinis studium habentes. Quae virtus est a Deo. Unde dicit secundum potentiam claritatis eius. Eph. VI, 10: confortamini in domino. Sed addit claritatis eius, id est Christi, qui est claritas Patris, quia pergere ad peccatum, est pergere ad tenebras. Sap. c. VII, 25: vapor est enim virtutis Dei, et emanatio quaedam est claritatis omnipotentis Dei sincera.
22. Then he mentions their standing up under evils, for to live a virtuous life it is not enough just to know and to will; one must also act in spite of opposition: and this cannot be done without a patient endurance of evils. And so he says, may you be strengthened with all might: rich in power (Sir 44:6). Such power, or virtue, comes from God; and so he says, according to the power of his glory: be strong in the Lord (Eph 6:10). He says, the power of his glory, that is, Christ’s, who is the glory of the Father, because to fall into sin is to fall into darkness: she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty (Wis 7:25).
Deinde cum dicit in omni patientia, etc., petit eis tolerantiam in adversis. Quidam enim deficiunt vel propter difficultatem adversorum, et ideo oportet habere patientiam. Lc. XXI, 19: in patientia vestra possidebitis animas vestras. Vel propter dilationem praemii. Et ideo dicit et longanimitate, quae facit sustinere rem promissam. Hab. II, 3: si moram fecerit, expecta eum, et cetera. Hebr. VI, v. 15: longanimiter ferens adeptus est repromissionem. Sed aliqui haec duo vitant, sed cum tristitia. Contra hoc dicit cum gaudio. Iac. I, 2: omne gaudium existimate, fratres, cum in varias tentationes incideritis, et cetera.
Then when he says, in all patience and longsuffering, he prays that they may stand up under adversity. Some people fail because of the difficulties of their adversities; and they need patience: by your patience you will gain your lives (Luke 21:19). Other people fail because their reward is a long time coming; and so he says, and longsuffering, which enables a person to wait for what was promised: it does not come soon, wait for it; because it will come and not delay (Hab 2:3); and thus, with his longsuffering, he obtained what was promised (Heb 6:15). Yet, although some people do avoid these two vices, they do it with sadness; and since this should not be so he says, with joy: count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials (Jas 1:2).
23. Deinde cum dicit gratias agentes, etc., agit gratias pro beneficiis exhibitis omnibus fidelibus. Et hoc pro beneficio gratiae, quod primo ponit;
23. Then when he says, giving thanks to God the Father, he gives thanks for the favors granted to all of the faithful: first for the gift of grace,
secundo pro fructu gratiae, ibi qui eripuit.
and then second for the fruit of grace, at who has delivered us.
24. Dicit ergo: oramus pro vobis agentes gratias Deo, scilicet Creanti, et Patri, scilicet adoptanti, qui dignos, et cetera. Dixerunt aliqui quod dona gratiarum dantur pro meritis, et quod Deus dat dignis gratiam, non autem indignis; ideo hoc excludit Apostolus, quia quidquid habes dignitatis et gratiae, hoc Deus fecit in te: ergo et effectus gratiae. Et ideo dicit qui dignos nos fecit, et cetera. II Cor. III, 5: non quod sufficientes simus cogitare aliquid a nobis, quasi ex nobis, et cetera. In partem sortis sanctorum, et cetera. Omnes homines de mundo secundum naturam sunt boni. Et ideo iustum est eos aliquam partem habere Dei. Mali quidem partem habent voluptates et temporalia. Sap. c. II, 9: haec est pars nostra, et haec sors nostra. Sancti vero habent ipsum Deum partem. Thren. III, 24: pars mea Dominus. Ps. XV, 5: Dominus pars haereditatis meae. Et ideo dicit qui dignos, et cetera.
24. And so he says: we pray for you, giving thanks to God, as our Creator, and the Father, namely by adoption, who has made us worthy to be partakers. Some people have said that the gifts of grace are given because of a person’s merit, and that God gives grace to those who are worthy, and does not give grace to those who are unworthy. But this view is rejected by the Apostle, because whatever worth and grace we have was given to us by God, and so also were the effects of grace. And so Paul says, who has made us worthy: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our sufficiency is from God (2 Cor 3:5). To be partakers of the lot of the saints. All men are good in their very nature; consequently, they somehow partake of God. But those who are wicked take pleasure in temporal things as their portion: this is our portion and this our lot (Wis 2:9), while those who are holy have God himself as their portion: the Lord is my portion (Lam 3:24); the Lord is my chosen portion (Ps 16:5). And so he says, who has made us worthy.
25. Et addit sortis, quia dupliciter aliquid dividunt: quandoque per electionem, quando unus hanc, alius illam partem elegit; aliquando sorte. Prov. XVIII, 18: contradictiones comprimit sors. Haec autem pars cedit sanctis non per electionem propriam. Io. c. XV, 16: non vos me elegistis, sed ego elegi vos sed quia ipse Deus elegit vos.
25. He says, of the lot of the saints, because there are two ways of apportioning things: sometimes it is done by choosing, as when a person selects this portion, and another one that portion; and sometimes apportionment is by lot: the lot puts an end to disputes (Prov 18:18). The saints have their portion not because they chose it: you did not choose me, but I chose you (John 15:16), but because God chose them.
Sors enim nihil aliud est, quam committere aliquid divino iudicio. Sors autem triplex est, scilicet consultoria, divinatoria, et divisoria. Prima autem in temporalibus non est mala; secunda vana est et mala; tertia in necessitatibus aliquando permittenda. Sed haec per se est possessio luminis. I Tim. ult.: lucem habitat inaccessibilem. Iob c. XXXVI, 32: in manibus abscondit lucem, et cetera.
A lot consists in entrusting something to God’s judgment. And there are three types of lot: consultative, divining, and apportioning. The first is not evil when dealing in temporal matters; the second is useless and evil, and the third is sometimes allowed in cases of necessity. The portion of the saints is the possession of the light: he dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16); in his hands he hides the light and commands it to come again (Job 36:32).
26. Et ex hac parte sequitur effectus gratiae, scilicet translatio de tenebris ad lucem. Et ideo primo ponit translationem, secundo modum in quo homines ante gratiam sunt servi peccati.
26. And from it there follows the effect of grace, i.e., our transference from darkness to light. First, he mentions this transference; and second, the way in which men are the slaves of sin before they receive grace.
Nam cum peccatum sit tenebrae, ideo sunt in potestate tenebrarum, sive Daemonum, sive peccatorum. Eph. ult.: adversus rectores mundi tenebrarum harum, et cetera. Is. c. XLIX, 25: captivitas a forti tollitur, et cetera. Et transtulit, etc., id est, ut essemus regnum Dei. Io. XIX: regnum meum non est de hoc mundo, et cetera. Et hoc fit quando liberamur a peccato. Apoc. V, 10: fecisti nos Deo nostro regnum, et cetera. Vel ad litteram, ut consequeremur vitam aeternam. Matth. III, 2: appropinquabit regnum caelorum. Et hoc est quod dicit regnum Filii dilectionis suae.
For since sin is a darkness, men are in the power of darkness, i.e., either of the evil spirits or of sins: against the world rulers of this present darkness (Eph 6:12), even the captives of the mighty shall be taken (Isa 49:25). And has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, i.e., that we might be the kingdom of God: my kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). This happens when we are freed from our sins: you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God (Rev 5:10). Or literally, we are transferred to this kingdom so that we may obtain eternal life: the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt 3:2). And this is what he says: the kingdom of the Son of his love.
27. Dilectio, ut dicit Augustinus in Glossa, quandoque dicitur Spiritus Sanctus, qui est amor Patris et Filii. Sed si dilectio sic semper teneretur personaliter, tunc Filius esset Filius Spiritus Sancti; sed quandoque dicitur essentialiter, ut dicitur in Glossa. Filii ergo dilectionis suae dicitur, id est Filii sui dilecti, vel Filii essentiae suae.
27. As Augustine says in a Gloss, ‘love’ is sometimes taken to mean the Holy Spirit, who is the love of the Father and the Son. But if ‘love’ were always to mean this person, then the Son would be the Son of the Holy Spirit. So at other times ‘love’ is understood essentially, to indicate the divine essence. Thus the phrase, of the Son of his love, can be taken to mean either of his beloved Son, or it could mean, of the Son of his essence.
Sed numquid haec est vera: Filius est Filius essentiae Patris?
But is it true to say that the Son is the Son of the essence of the Father?
Dicendum est quod si genitivus designat habitudinem causae efficientis, est falsum, quia essentia non generat, nec generatur. Si autem designat formam, id est habens essentiam suam quasi materialiter, sicut dicitur aliquid egregiae formae, id est habens egregiam formam, sic est vera. Io. III, 35: Pater diligit Filium, et omnia dedit in manu eius.
I answer that if the possessive case ‘of the essence’ is taken to indicate the relationship of an efficient cause, it is false; because the essence does not generate nor is it generated. Sometimes the possessive case indicates the possession of a form, as when we say a thing is ‘of an excellent form,’ that is, it has an excellent form. And if we understand ‘of the essence’ in this way, then the statement is true, that is, the Son has the essence of the Father: the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand (John 3:35).
28. Deinde cum dicit in quo habemus, etc., ostendit modum translationis. Homo enim existens in peccato dupliciter tenebatur subditus, scilicet per servitutem. Io. c. VIII, 34: qui facit peccatum, servus est peccati. Item erat reus poenae, et aversus a Deo. Is. LIX, 2: iniquitates vestrae diviserunt inter vos et Deum vestrum, et peccata vestra absconderunt faciem eius a vobis, ne exaudiret.
28. Then when he says, in whom we have redemption through his blood, he shows the way we have been transferred. For humanity in sin was held down in two ways: first, as a slave: every one who commits sin is a slave to sin (John 8:34), and second, as deserving punishment and as turned away from God: your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you so that he does not hear (Isa 59:2).
Haec duo removet Christus, quia, inquantum homo, factus est pro nobis sacrificium et redemit nos in sanguine suo. Et ideo dicit in quo habemus redemptionem. I Cor. VI, v. 20: empti estis pretio magno. Sed inquantum est Deus, habemus per eum peccatorum remissionem, quia reatus peccati solutus est per eum.
But these two things are taken away by Christ, because, as man, he became a sacrifice for us and redeemed us in his blood; and so Paul says, in whom we have redemption: you were bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20); and from Christ, as God, we have the remission of sins, because he took away our debt of punishment.