Sacramentum voluntatis Dei
The mystery of God’s will
1:8 quae superabundavit in nobis in omni sapientia et prudentia: [n. 22]
1:8 Which has superabounded in us, in all wisdom and prudence, [n. 22]
1:9 ut notum faceret nobis sacramentum voluntatis suae, secundum beneplacitum ejus, quod proposuit in eo, [n. 25]
1:9 That he might make known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he has purposed in him, [n. 25]
1:10 in dispensatione plenitudinis temporum, instaurare omnia in Christo, quae in caelis et quae in terra sunt, in ipso; [n. 28]
1:10 In the dispensation of the fullness of times, to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in him. [n. 28]
21. Positis beneficiis communiter omnibus collatis, hic Apostolus ponit beneficia specialiter apostolis collata. Dividitur autem haec pars in duas, quia
21. Having set down the blessings generally given to all, the Apostle now turns to those favors especially granted to the apostles. This section is divided into two parts:
primo proponit beneficia singulariter apostolis collata;
first, he proposes the special blessings given the apostles;
secundo ostendit causam eorum, ibi in quo et nos sorte vocati, et cetera.
second, he indicates their cause, at in whom we are also called by lot (Eph 1:11).
Circa primum tria facit, quia
In reference to the first he does three things:
primo proponit singularia apostolorum beneficia quantum ad excellentiam sapientiae;
first, he sets down the particular blessings of the apostles as regards the excellence of their wisdom;
secundo quantum ad specialem revelationem sacramenti absconditi, ibi ut notum faceret, etc.;
second, as regards a unique revelation of the hidden mystery, at that he might make known;
tertio exponit quid sit illud sacramentum, ibi secundum beneplacitum, et cetera.
third, he suggests what this mystery is, at according to his purpose.
22. Dicit ergo primo: dico quod secundum divitias gratiae eius omnes fideles communiter, tam vos quam nos, habemus redemptionem et remissionem peccatorum per sanguinem Christi; quae quidem gratia superabundavit in nobis, id est abundantius fuit, quam in aliis.
22. He first states: according to the riches of his grace all the faithful together, both you and we, possess redemption and the remission of sins through the blood of Christ. This grace has superabounded in us who have it more fully than others.
23. Ex quo apparet temeritas illorum (ut non dicam error), qui aliquos sanctos praesumunt comparare apostolis in gratia et gloria. Manifeste enim patet ex verbis istis, quod apostoli habent gratiam maiorem quam aliqui alii sancti, post Christum et Virginem Matrem.
23. Whence the rashness—not to say error—of those who dare equate the grace and glory of some saints with that of the apostles. For this passage openly asserts that the apostles are more fully graced than the other saints, except for Christ and his Virgin Mother.
Si vero dicatur alios sanctos tantum mereri posse quantum et apostoli meruerunt et per consequens tantam gratiam habere, dicendum est quod bene argueretur si gratia pro meritis daretur; quod si ita esset, iam non esset gratia, ut dicitur Rom. XI, 6.
However, should it be claimed that other saints were able to merit as much as the apostles merited, and consequently would have as much grace, it must be said that this would be a good argument if grace was given according to merits—but if that were the case, grace is no more grace (Rom 11:6).
Et ideo sicut Deus praeordinavit aliquos sanctos ad maiorem dignitatem, ita et abundantiorem gratiam eis infudit, sicut Christo homini, quem ad unitatem personae assumpsit, contulit gratiam singularem. Et gloriosam Virginem Mariam, quam in matrem elegit et quantum ad animam et quantum ad corpus gratia implevit; et sic apostolos, sicut ad singularem dignitatem vocavit, ita et singularis gratiae privilegio dotavit; propter quod dicit apostolus Rom. VIII, 23: nos ipsi primitias Spiritus habentes. Glossa: tempore prius, et caeteris abundantius.
Greater dignity was preordained by God to some saints, and hence he infused grace more abundantly into them. For example, he imparted a unique grace to Christ as man when he assumed the humanity into the unity of his person. He endowed with special graces in both her body and soul, the glorious Virgin Mary whom he chose to be his mother. Similarly, those God called to a unique dignity, the apostles, were gifted with a corresponding favor of grace. Thus the Apostle states: ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit (Rom 8:23). And a Gloss comments: their share is first in time and more copious than others.
Temerarium est ergo aliquem sanctum apostolis comparare.
What rashness, therefore, to put some later saint on the same level with the apostles.
24. Superabundavit ergo gratia Dei in apostolis in omni sapientia. Nam apostoli praepositi sunt Ecclesiae sicut pastores. Ier. c. III, 15: dabo vobis pastores secundum cor meum, et pascent vos scientia et doctrina.
24. God’s grace has superabounded in the apostles, in all wisdom. For the apostles are set over the Church to be her pastors: and I will give you pastors according to my own heart: and they shall feed you with knowledge and doctrine (Jer 3:15).
Duo autem spectant ad pastores, scilicet ut sint sublimes in cognitione divinorum, et industrii in actione religionis. Nam subditi instruendi sunt in fide, et ad hoc necessaria est sapientia, quae est cognitio divinorum, et quantum ad hoc dicit in omni sapientia. Lc. XXI, 15: ego dabo vobis os et sapientiam, cui non poterunt resistere nec contradicere omnes adversarii vestri.
Two qualities should characterize pastors: a profound knowledge of divine truths and an assiduous fulfillment of religious actions. They must teach those trusted to them the true faith; this requires that wisdom which consists in a knowledge of the divine, concerning which he remarks in all wisdom. For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay (Luke 21:15).
Item, gubernandi sunt subditi in exterioribus, et ad hoc necessaria est prudentia; dirigit enim in temporalibus, et quantum ad hoc dicit prudentia. Matth. X, 16: estote ergo prudentes, et cetera.
They also need prudence to guide their subjects in external and temporal affairs: be therefore prudent as serpents and simple as doves (Matt 10:16).
Sic ergo apparet beneficium apostolorum quantum ad excellentiam sapientiae.
Thus the special blessing of wisdom given to the apostles is clearly expressed.
25. Sequitur eorum beneficium quantum ad excellentiam revelationis, ibi ut notum faceret sacramentum, etc., quasi dicat: sapientia nostra non est ut sciamus naturas rerum et siderum cursus et huiusmodi, sed in solo Christo. I Cor. II, 2: non enim iudicavi me scire aliquid inter vos, nisi Christum Iesum, et cetera. Unde hic dicit ut notum faceret sacramentum, id est sacrum secretum, scilicet mysterium Incarnationis, quod fuit ab initio absconditum.
25. The reception of an uncommon revelation is their next blessing, that he might make known unto us the mystery. As if he had said: our wisdom does not consist in discovering the natures of material realities, nor the course of the stars, or such like; rather, it concerns Christ alone. I decided not to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Cor 2:2). Hence he says that he might make known the mystery, that is, the sacred secret, hidden from the beginning, the mystery of the Incarnation.
Causam autem huius sacramenti absconditi subdit, dicens voluntatis. Nam effectus futuri non cognoscuntur, nisi cognitis causis, sicut eclipsim futuram non cognoscimus, nisi cognoscendo causam eius. Cum ergo causa mysterii Incarnationis sit voluntas Dei: quia propter nimiam caritatem quam Deus habuit ad homines, voluit incarnari, Io. III, v. 16: sic enim Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret, voluntas autem Dei occultissima est, I Cor. II, 11: quae Dei sunt, nemo novit, nisi Spiritus Dei, causa ergo Incarnationis occulta fuit, nisi quibus Deus revelavit per Spiritum Sanctum, sicut Apostolus dicit I Cor. II, 10.
He adds the cause of this hidden mystery when he says his will. Future events are known only if their causes are; for example, we can determine a future eclipse only by knowing what causes an eclipse. Now the mystery of the Incarnation has God’s will as its cause since he willed to become incarnate on account of his intense love for men: for God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son (John 3:16). Yet God’s will is more hidden than anything else: no one knows what pertains to God, but the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:11). So, the cause of the Incarnation was concealed from everyone except those to whom God revealed it through the Holy Spirit, as the Apostle mentions: God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God (1 Cor 2:10).
Dicit ergo ut notum faceret sacramentum, id est sacrum secretum, quod ideo est secretum, quia voluntatis suae. Matth. XI, 25: confiteor tibi, Domine, Pater caeli et terrae, quia abscondisti haec a sapientibus et prudentibus, et revelasti ea parvulis. Item Col. c. I, 26: mysterium, quod absconditum fuit a saeculis et generationibus; nunc autem manifestatum est sanctis eius, quibus voluit Deus notas facere divitias gloriae sacramenti huius.
Hence he affirms that he might make known the mystery which is a sacred secret—a secret because it is of his will. I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the wise and clever and revealing them to little children (Matt 11:25). The mystery, hidden from ages and generations, and now made manifest to his saints, to whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery (Col 1:26–27).
26. Quid autem sit hoc sacramentum, exponit dicens secundum beneplacitum, et cetera.
26. He then explains something about this mystery, at according to his purpose.
Quae quidem sententia intricata est, et debet sic construi: ut notum faceret, etc., quod quidem sacramentum est instaurare omnia in Christo, id est per Christum. Omnia dico, quae in caelis et in terra sunt. Instaurare, inquam, in eo, scilicet Christo, cum dispensatione plenitudinis temporum, et hoc secundum beneplacitum eius. Ubi tria tangit, scilicet sacramenti causam, temporis congruitatem, et sacramenti utilitatem.
His thought is involved and should be construed as: that he might make known unto us the mystery of his will, which mystery is to re-establish all things in Christ, that is, through Christ. All, namely, that are in heaven and on earth. This re-establishment in Christ must be in the dispensation of the fullness of times which, in turn, is according to his purpose. Thus, three aspects of the mystery are touched on: the mystery’s cause, the fittingness of the time of its appearance, and its purpose.
27. Causam quodam modo tangit, cum dicit secundum beneplacitum. Licet autem quidquid Deo placet, bonum sit, hoc tamen beneplacitum Dei anthonomastice bonum dicitur, quia per ipsum ad perfectam fruitionem bonitatis perducimur. Ps. CXLVI, 11: beneplacitum est domino super timentes eum, et cetera. Rom. XII, 2: ut probetis quae sit voluntas Dei bona, et beneplacens, et perfecta.
27. According to his purpose briefly sums up the cause. Although whatever pleases God is good, God’s pleasure in making known this mystery is autonomastically said to be good because through it we are led to perfectly enjoy goodness. Yahweh is pleased with those who fear him, who rely on his strength (Ps 147:11); that you may prove what is the good and the acceptable and the perfect will of God (Rom 12:2).
28. Congruitas temporis fuit in dispensatione plenitudinis, de qua dicitur Gal. c. IV, 4: at ubi venit plenitudo temporis, misit Deus Filium suum factum ex muliere.
28. The suitable time was in that dispensation of the fullness of times. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that he might redeem them who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons (Gal 4:4–5).
Unde Apostolus hic excludit quaestionem frivolam, quam gentiles quaerere consueverunt. Ut enim dicitur Iob XXIV, 1, ab Omnipotente non sunt abscondita tempora, unde sicut omnia ordinat et dispensat, ita et tempora, dispensando et accommodando ea effectibus quos producit secundum congruentiam eorum. Sicut autem aliis effectibus ab eo productis tempora ordinata sunt, ita et certum tempus praeordinavit ab aeterno mysterio Incarnationis. Quod quidem tempus, secundum Glossam, existens fuit postquam homo convictus fuit de sua insipientia ante legem scriptam, dum scilicet creaturas colebat ut Creatorem, ut dicitur Rom. I, 22: dicentes se esse sapientes, stulti facti sunt; et de impotentia per legem scriptam, quam implere non poterat. Ut sic homines adventum Christi, de sua sapientia et virtute non praesumentes, non contemnerent, sed, quasi infirmi et quodammodo ignari, Christum avidius affectarent.
The pointless problem pagans used to raise is thus brushed aside by the Apostle. Times are not hidden from the Almighty (Job 24:1). He orders and arranges everything, including time; for he manages and accommodates the passage of time to those events which he wills to exist at the right moment. Just as other events effected by him had their specified time, likewise he eternally preordained a time for the mystery of the Incarnation. This time, a Gloss points out, occurred after man was convinced of his own stupidity before the written law, when he worshiped creatures instead of the Creator—for, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (Rom 1:22)—and of his own absolute inability to live up to the prescriptions of the written law. Thus men, no longer trusting in their own wisdom and power, would not consider Christ’s advent as unimportant. Weak, and to a certain extent ignorant, they would eagerly desire the Christ.
29. Et effectus huius sacramenti est instaurare omnia. Nam inquantum facta sunt propter hominem, omnia instaurari dicuntur. Amos IX, 11: suscitabo tabernaculum David quod cecidit, et reaedificabo aperturas murorum eius, et ea quae corruerant, instaurabo.
29. The mystery’s purpose is to re-establish all things. Inasmuch as everything was made for mankind, everything is said to be re-established: in that day I will raise up the booth of David that had fallen; I will close up its breaches and rebuild it as long ago (Amos 9:11).
Omnia, inquam, quae in caelis, id est angelos: non quod pro angelis mortuus sit Christus, sed quia redimendo hominem, reintegratur ruina angelorum. Ps. CIX, 6: implevit ruinas, et cetera. Ubi cavendus est error Origenis, ne per hoc credamus angelos damnatos redimendos esse per Christum, ut ipse finxit.
Everything that is in heaven, namely, the angels. Christ did not die for the angels, but in redeeming mankind he shall fill the ruins (Ps 110:6) left by the sin of the angels. Beware of the error Origen fell into, as if the damned angels were to be redeemed through Christ; this was only a figment of his imagination.
Et quae in terris, inquantum caelestia terrenis pacificat. Col. I, 20: pacificans per sanguinem crucis eius, sive quae in terris, sive quae in caelis sunt; quod est intelligendum quantum ad sufficientiam, etsi omnia non restaurentur quantum ad efficaciam.
And what is on earth insofar as he reconciles heavenly and earthly realities: making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth and the things that are in heaven (Col 1:20). This must be understood in reference to the sufficiency of the redemption, even though, with respect to its efficacy, everything will not be re-established.
Praedestinati ad gloriam
Predestined for glory
1:11 in quo etiam et nos sorte vocati sumus praedestinati secundum propositum ejus qui operatur omnia secundum consilium voluntatis suae: [n. 31]
1:11 In whom we also are called by lot, being predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. [n. 31]
1:12 ut simus in laudem gloriae ejus nos, qui ante speravimus in Christo; [n. 35]
1:12 That we may be for the praise of his glory: we who before hoped in Christ: [n. 35]