Labor Pauli propter Christum
Paul’s labor for Christ
1:23 Si tamen permanetis in fide fundati, et stabiles, et immobiles a spe Evangelii, quod audistis, quod praedicatum est in universa creatura, quae sub caelo est, [n. 57] cujus factus sum ego Paulus minister. [n. 58]
1:23 If you so continue in the faith, grounded and stable, and immoveable from the hope of the Gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, [n. 57] whereof I Paul am made a minister. [n. 58]
1:24 Qui nunc gaudeo in passionibus pro vobis, et adimpleo ea quae desunt passionem Christi, in carne mea pro corpore ejus, quod est Ecclesia: [n. 60]
1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the Church: [n. 60]
1:25 cujus factus sum ego minister secundum dispensationem Dei, quae data est mihi in vos, ut impleam verbum Dei: [n. 62]
1:25 Whereof I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God, which is given me towards you, that I may fulfill the word of God: [n. 62]
1:26 mysterium, quod absconditum fuit a saeculis, et generationibus, nunc autem manifestatum est sanctis ejus, [n. 66]
1:26 The mystery which has been hidden from ages and generations, but now is manifested to his saints, [n. 66]
1:27 quibus voluit Deus notas facere divitias gloriae sacramenti hujus in gentibus, quod est Christus, in vobis spes gloriae, [n. 69]
1:27 To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory, [n. 69]
1:28 quem nos annuntiamus, corripientes omnem hominem, et docentes omnem hominem, in omni sapientia, ut exhibeamus omnem hominem perfectum in Christo Jesu: [n. 70]
1:28 Whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: [n. 70]
1:29 in quo et laboro, certando secundum operationem ejus, quam operatur in me in virtute. [n. 73]
1:29 Wherein also I labor, striving according to his working which he works in me in power. [n. 73]
58. Postquam commendavit Christum in comparatione ad Deum et ad universam creaturam, ad totam Ecclesiam et ad ipsos Colossenses, hic commendat eum in comparatione ad seipsum, ostendens se eius ministrum. Et
58. After Paul commended Christ in relation to God, to all creation, to the entire Church, and to the Colossians themselves, he now commends him in relation to himself, showing that he is Christ’s minister.
primo ponit ministerium;
First, he mentions his ministry;
secundo ostendit fidelitatem ministrando, ibi qui nunc gaudeo;
second, he shows his faithfulness in it, at who now rejoice;
tertio ministerii magnitudinem, ibi cuius factus sum.
and third, its greatness, at whereof I am made a minister.
59. Dicit ergo: dico quod praedicatum est in universa creatura, cuius, Evangelii, factus sum minister, praedicandi, non mea auctoritate, sed praedicationi ministerium exhibens. I Cor. IV, 1: sic nos existimet homo ut ministros Christi et dispensatores, et cetera.
59. He says: I say that the Gospel has been preached to all, the Gospel whereof I Paul am made a minister; to preach it, not on my own authority, but only as a minister: this is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor 4:1).
60. Sed est minister fidelis, quod patet, quia non refugit pati pericula quin diligenter exequatur. Unde primo ostendit quo affectu sustinet passiones; secundo quo fructu, ibi adimpleo, et cetera.
60. He is a faithful minister. This is obvious, because he does not run away from the dangers involved in his preaching. First, he shows his attitude toward his sufferings; second, the fruit of his suffering.
Affectu quidem laeto, quia nunc gaudeo, etc., pro vobis, id est, propter vestram utilitatem. II Cor. I, 6: sive tribulamur pro vestra exhortatione et salute, et cetera. Et propter gaudium vitae aeternae quod inde expecto, quod est fructus ministerii eius. Iac. I, 2: omne gaudium existimate, fratres mei, cum in tentationes varias incideritis, scientes, et cetera. Phil. II, 17: si immolor super sacrificium fidei vestrae, gaudeo et congratulor, et cetera.
His attitude was one of joy, because who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, that is, for your benefit: if we are afflicted it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer (2 Cor 1:6). He also rejoices because of the joy of eternal life which he expects from them, and which is the fruit of his ministry: count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testimony of your faith produces steadfastness (Jas 1:2); even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all (Phil 2:17).
61. Et etiam hoc fructu, ut adimpleam ea, quae desunt passionum Christi, et cetera.
61. And indeed by this fruit, so that I should fill up those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ.
Haec verba, secundum superficiem, malum possent habere intellectum, scilicet quod Christi passio non esset sufficiens ad redemptionem, sed additae sunt ad complendum passiones sanctorum. Sed hoc est haereticum, quia sanguis Christi est sufficiens ad redemptionem, etiam multorum mundorum. I Io. c. II, 2: ipse est propitiatio pro peccatis nostris, et cetera.
At first glance these words can be misunderstood to mean that the passion of Christ was not sufficient for our redemption, and that the sufferings of the saints were added to complete it. But this is heretical, because the blood of Christ is sufficient to redeem many worlds: he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
Sed intelligendum est, quod Christus et Ecclesia est una persona mystica, cuius caput est Christus, corpus omnes iusti: quilibet autem iustus est quasi membrum huius capitis, I Cor. XII, 27: et membra de membro. Deus autem ordinavit in sua praedestinatione quantum meritorum debet esse per totam Ecclesiam, tam in capite quam in membris, sicut et praedestinavit numerum electorum. Et inter haec merita praecipue sunt passiones sanctorum. Sed Christi, scilicet capitis, merita sunt infinita, quilibet vero sanctus exhibet aliqua merita secundum mensuram suam.
Rather, we should understand that Christ and the Church are one mystical person, whose head is Christ, and whose body is all the just, for every just person is a member of this head: individually members (1 Cor 12:27). Now God in his predestination has arranged how much merit will exist throughout the entire Church, both in the head and in the members, just as he has predestined the number of the elect. And among these merits, the sufferings of the holy martyrs occupy a prominent place. For while the merits of Christ, the head, are infinite, each saint displays some merits in a limited degree.
Et ideo dicit adimpleo ea quae desunt passionum Christi, id est totius Ecclesiae, cuius caput est Christus. Adimpleo, id est, addo mensuram meam. Et hoc in carne, id est ego ipse patiens. Vel quae passiones desunt in carne mea. Hoc enim deerat, quod sicut Christus passus erat in corpore suo, ita pateretur in Paulo membro suo, et similiter in aliis.
This is why he says, fill up those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ, that is, what is lacking in the afflictions of the whole Church, of which Christ is the head. I fill up, that is, I add my own amount; and I do this in my flesh, that is, it is I myself who am suffering. Or, we could say that Paul was completing the sufferings that were lacking in his own flesh. For what was lacking was that, just as Christ had suffered in his own body, so he should also suffer in Paul, his member, and in similar ways in others.
Et pro corpore, quod est Ecclesia, quae erat redimenda per Christum. Eph. V, 27: ut exhiberet ipse sibi Ecclesiam gloriosam, non habentem maculam neque rugam. Sic etiam omnes sancti patiuntur propter Ecclesiam, quae ex eorum exemplo roboratur. Glossa: passiones adhuc desunt, eo quod paritoria meritorum Ecclesiae non est plena, nec adimplebitur, nisi cum saeculum fuerit finitum. Paritoria autem est vas, vel domus, ubi pariter multa inferuntur.
And Paul does this for his body, which is the Church that was to be redeemed by Christ: that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle (Eph 5:27). In the same way all the saints suffer for the Church, which receives strength from their example. The Gloss says: afflictions are still lacking, because the treasure house of the Church’s merits is not full, and it will not be full until the end of the world.
62. Deinde cum dicit cuius sum, etc., ostendit dignitatem ministerii tripliciter.
62. Then when he says, whereof I Paul, he shows the greatness of his ministry in three ways:
Primo ex materia adoptionis;
first, from its origin;
secundo ex fine ad quem dicitur, ibi ut impleamini, etc.;
in the second place, from the end to which it is directed, at that I may fulfill;
tertio ex usu, ibi quoniam vos, cum, et cetera.
and third, from its purpose.
63. Sed diceret aliquis: estne magnum hoc ministerium? Et respondet dicens: ita est, quia traditum est mihi secundum dispensationem.
63. But someone could say: is his a great ministry? He answers: yes, because I became a minister because it was given to me according to the dispensation.
Quod dupliciter potest exponi, scilicet active; et sic est sensus: id est, ut dispensem vobis divina, fideliter tradens ea, et haec potestas data est mihi.
This can be explained in two ways. First in an active sense, and then the meaning is that I became a minister so that I could dispense divine things to you, faithfully passing them on; and this power has been given to me.
Vel passive, et tunc est sensus: id est, secundum quod mihi dispensatum est a Deo. Eph. IV, 11: dedit quosdam quidem apostolos, quosdam prophetas, et cetera. Act. XIII, 2: segregate mihi Barnabam et Paulum in opus ad quod assumpsi eos, et cetera.
Second, it can be explained in a passive sense, and then the meaning is that Paul became a minister in so far as he was appointed by God. And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers (Eph 4:11); set apart for me Barnabas and Paul for the work to which I have called them (Acts 13:2).
64. Ecce quis est finis, certe non pecunia, nec gloria propria, sed aliquod magnum, ad quod accepi, quia ut impleam, et cetera. Et primo ostendit dignitatem eius ad quod accepit; secundo ostendit quod est illud quod est Christus.
64. What is the end of his ministry? Certainly, not money, or his own glory. Rather, he has received it for a great purpose, that is, that I may fulfill the word of God. First, he shows the greatness of that for which he has received this ministry; second, he shows what this is, that is, which is Christ.
Item primo commendat magnitudinem eius ex diffusa praedicatione et occultatione et manifestatione.
He shows its greatness because it has been widely proclaimed, both in an obscure form and openly.
65. Accipitur autem ad conversionem gentilium. Unde ut adimpleam verbum non praedicationis, sed dispensationem aeternam Dei, id est ut mea praedicatione impletum ostendam verbum Dei, id est, Dei dispensationem, et praeordinationem et promissionem de Verbo Dei incarnando; vel dispensationem Dei aeternam, qua disposuit ut gentes per Christum converterentur ad fidem veri Dei. Et hoc oportebat impleri. Num. XXIII, 19: dixit ergo, et non faciet, locutus est, et non implebit? Is. LV, 11: verbum quod egredietur de ore meo non revertetur ad me vacuum, sed faciet quaecumque volui, et prosperabitur, et cetera.
65. The ministry he received was to convert the gentiles; thus, that I may fulfill the word of God, that is, the eternal dispensation of God. In other words, by my preaching I am to show that the word of God has been fulfilled, that is, God’s dispensation and plan and promise concerning the Incarnation of the Word of God. Or, I am to show by my preaching the eternal dispensation of God in which he arranged that the gentiles were to be converted by Christ to a faith in the true God. And this had to be accomplished: does he say and not do? Does he speak and not do what he said? (Num 23:19); my word that goes forth from my mouth shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Isa 55:11).
66. Sed hoc disposuit impleri per ministerium Pauli. Unde dicit ut impleam hoc mysterium, scilicet inquantum est res abscondita; quia mysterium quod est absconditum est hoc verbum. Is. XXIV, 16: secretum meum mihi est, et cetera. Quod absconditum fuit a saeculis, id est, a principio saeculorum, et omnibus generationibus hominum, qui hoc scire non potuerunt. Eph. III, 9: quae sit dispensatio sacramenti absconditi a saeculis in Deo.
66. But God arranged that this be accomplished by Paul’s ministry, and so Paul says, that I may fulfill the mystery, i.e., it is called a mystery insofar as it is hidden, because this mystery which has been hidden is this word: my secret to myself (Isa 24:16). Which has been hidden from ages, that is, from the beginning of the ages, and it was hidden from all the generations of men, who were unable to know this: the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God (Eph 3:9).
Nam et si philosophi antiqui quaedam de Christi deitate videantur dixisse vel propria, vel appropriata, sicut Augustinus invenit in libris Platonis: in principio erat verbum, etc., tamen quod verbum caro factum est, nullus scire potuit.
For even though the early philosophers seem to have said something about Christ’s divinity, either as being his own or appropriated (as Augustine found in the works of Plato, such as that in the beginning was the Word, and things like that), yet none could know that the Word was made flesh.
Sed dicis: nonne fuit scitum per prophetas? Respondeo. Dicendum est quod sic, tamen inquantum pertinebat ad Evangelium, vel non ita aperte sicut apostoli sciverunt.
But you ask if this was not known by the prophets? I reply that it was, insofar as it pertained to the Gospel; but it was not known as explicitly as the apostles knew it.
67. Deinde cum dicit nunc autem, etc., agit de manifestatione eius, et
67. Then when he says, but now is manifested, he deals with the revelation of this mystery.
primo ostendit quibus manifestatum est;
First, he shows to whom it was revealed;