Ordo corporis Christi
Order of Christ’s body
4:14 ut jam non simus parvuli fluctuantes, et circumferamur omni vento doctrinae in nequitia hominum, in astutia ad circumventionem erroris. [n. 219]
4:14 That henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive. [n. 219]
4:15 Veritatem autem facientes in caritate, crescamus in illo per omnia, qui est caput Christus: [n. 221]
4:15 But doing the truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in him who is the head, even Christ: [n. 221]
4:16 ex quo totum corpus compactum et connexum per omnem juncturam subministrationis, secundum operationem in mensuram uniuscujusque membri, augmentum corporis facit in aedificationem sui in caritate. [n. 225]
4:16 From whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly joined together, by what every joint supplies, according to the operation in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in charity. [n. 225]
218. Posita donorum spiritualium diversitate et fructu eorum, hic ostendit Apostolus quomodo ad fructum illum perveniamus.
218. Having spoken of the diversity of spiritual gifts and their fruit, now the Apostle describes how we attain to that fruit.
Circa quod duo facit.
Concerning this he does two things:
Primo duo impedimenta removet;
first, he removes two obstacles;
secundo modum veniendi docet, ibi veritatem facientes, et cetera.
second, he teaches the way of gaining access to them, at doing the truth.
219. Dicit ergo: bene dictum est, quod hic est fructus ultimus istorum donorum, quod scilicet occurramus Domino in virum perfectum, etc., ergo oportet nos videre ut iam non simus parvuli, sed certe viri perfecti; quia quamdiu aliquis est puer, non est perfectus vir. Oportet ergo quod deserat pueritiam, qui Domino debet occurrere. Sic faciebat Apostolus. I Cor. XIII, 11: quando autem factus sum vir, evacuavi quae erant parvuli.
219. It was well said, he says, that the ultimate fruit of these gifts is for us to meet the Lord as a perfect man unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ. We are obliged henceforth to cease being children and become mature men; for as long as a person is a boy he is not a perfect man. Whoever is to meet the Lord must leave his childhood behind. The Apostle did just that: when I became a man, I put away the things of a child (1 Cor 13:11).
Conditio autem pueri est, quod non est fixus vel determinatus in aliquo, sed credit omni verbo. Si ergo volumus exhibere nos ut viros perfectos, oportet quod deseramus cogitationem fluctuantem, id est instabilem. Et hoc est quod dicit fluctuantes. I Cor. XIV, v. 20: nolite pueri effici sensibus, sed malitia parvuli estote.
It is a quality of the child never to be fixed or determinate in anything; he rather believes whatever is told him. To act like grown men we have to abandon a fickle oscillation and instability in our judgments. That is why he says tossed to and fro. Do not become children mentally; in malice be children but in your mind be mature (1 Cor 14:20).
Dicuntur autem fluctuantes a fluctu, quia tales ad modum fluctus non sunt firmi in fide. Iac. I, 6: qui enim haesitat, similis est fluctui maris, qui a vento movetur et circumfertur. Nunc autem necesse est nos stabiles esse et non fluctuare.
Those who waver are called such from the word wave; like a wave tossed to and fro they are not firm in the faith. He that wavers is like a wave of the sea, which is moved and carried about by the wind (Jas 1:6). But now it is imperative for us to stand firm and not fluctuate.
220. Et quia ventus est prava doctrina, de qua merito dicitur Prov. XXV, 23: ventus Aquilo dissipat pluvias. Matth. VII, 25: descendit pluvia, venerunt flumina, flaverunt venti, et irruerunt in domum illam, et cecidit, et fuit ruina eius magna ideo dicit et non circumferamur omni vento doctrinae, etc.; quasi dicat: nulla doctrina perversa perflante ad commotionem cordis et ruinam spiritualis aedificii debemus moveri, quia non est bona doctrina; quod patet ex tribus. Primo ex eius principio, quod est in nequitia hominum; ideo non est bona doctrina, sed falsa et nequam, quam dogmatizat aliquis ad perditionem animarum, ut obtineat principatum, sicut doctrina Arrii nequissimi, qui crepuit medius, ut de ipso possit exponi illud Eccli. XXXI, 29: testimonium nequitiae eius verum est. Item, talis doctrina perversa est quod patet.
220. Evil teachings are like the wind which is spoken of with merit: the north wind brings forth rain (Prov 25:23). And the rain fell, and the floods came and the winds blew; and they beat upon that house. And it fell; and great was the fall thereof (Matt 7:27). Hence he warns against being carried about with every wind of doctrine. As though he said: we must not be shaken by these wicked doctrines that buff about seeking to agitate hearts and ruin spiritual accomplishments. Three qualities demonstrate that it is not good doctrine. First, its source is the wickedness of men. Not being sound doctrine, but false and wicked, someone will concoct dogmas out of it in order to wield dominion over others, even though souls are lost. Such were the teachings of that most wicked Arius whose abdomen burst asunder. He could be made the subject of what is written: the testimony of his wickedness is true (Sir 31:29).
Secundo, ex eius processu, qui est astutia, quia cum dolo, id est unum intendit et aliud simulat; propter quod Apostolus dicit II Cor. XI, 3: timeo ne sicut serpens Evam seduxit astutia sua: ita ut corrumpantur sensus vestri et excidant a simplicitate, quae est in Christo Iesu.
Second, its methods are by cunning craftiness to mean one thing and pretend to hold some other opinion. On this account the Apostle wrote: I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3).
Tertio patet hoc idem ex effectu, quia effectus talis doctrinae est ad circumventionem erroris, non ad denarios vel alia temporalia acquirenda, sed ad seminandos errores seducunt et circumveniunt tales doctores; de quibus dicitur II Tim. III, 13: mali homines et seductores proficient in peius errantes, et in errorem alios mittentes.
Third, this is also evident from its effects, for such doctrine lies in wait to deceive. Its teachers seduce and lie in wait, not to rob money or temporal goods, but to spread errors. Evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse; erring, and driving into error (2 Tim 3:13).
221. Deinde cum dicit veritatem autem facientes, etc., ostensis impedimentis per quae a fructu donorum spiritualium impeditur quis, hic ostendit qualiter ad fructum debitum pervenitur. Et arguit sic: statim dictum est quod si volumus ad spiritualium donorum fructum pervenire, oportet ut iam non simus parvuli, et cetera. Sed tamdiu sumus parvuli, quamdiu virilem statum non attingimus, nec crescimus: ergo nobis necessarium est, ut crescamus. Et hoc est quod dicit veritatem autem facientes, et cetera.
221. Next, when he says doing the truth, having pointed out the impediments which prevent one from acquiring the fruit of spiritual gifts, he discloses here how that fruit can be attained. He argues this way: it was said just now that to obtain the fruit of these spiritual gifts we must stop being children and grow up into mature adults. As long as we are childish we have not reached a mature state, neither do we grow. Hence, it is necessary for us to grow up. This is what he says about doing the truth in charity.
Duo ergo facit.
Hence he makes two points:
Primo ostendit in quo debemus crescere;
first, he shows in what areas we ought to grow up;
secundo per quem, ibi in illo per omnia, et cetera.
second, through whom we are to grow, at in him who is the head.
222. Dicit ergo quantum ad primum veritatem facientes crescamus, et hoc in duobus, scilicet in bono opere et forma boni operis, quae duo sunt veritas et caritas.
222. With respect to the first he states doing the truth in charity, we may grow up in good works and the form of good works, which two are truth and charity.
Veritas autem quandoque dicitur omne opus bonum, ut Tob. I, 2: in captivitate tamen positus viam veritatis non deseruit. Faciamus ergo veritatem, scilicet omne opus bonum, vel veritatem doctrinae: quia non sufficere nobis debet audire vel docere veritatem, sed oportet facere; propter hoc dicebat Apostolus I Tim. IV, 16: hoc enim faciens, et teipsum salvum facies, et eos qui te audiunt. Estote ergo factores, etc., ut dicitur Iac. I, 22; quia factores iustificabuntur, ut habetur Rom. c. II, 13. Et hoc si fiat in caritate, quae est forma boni operis. I Cor. XVI, 13 s.: viriliter agite, et confortetur cor vestrum, et omnia opera vestra in caritate fiant: quia certe aliter nihil valerent. I Cor. XIII, 3: si tradidero corpus meum, ita ut ardeam, caritatem autem non habuero, nihil mihi prodest.
Any good work is at times referred to as truth: even in his captivity he forsook not the way of truth (Tob 1:2). Let us, therefore, do the truth, namely, every good work. Or, put true doctrine into practice since it is not enough simply to hear or teach the truth, it must be acted on as well. Thus the Apostle counsels Timothy: take heed to yourself and to doctrine; be earnest in them. For in doing this you shall both save yourself and them that hear you (1 Tim 4:16). Be doers of the word and not hearers only (Jas 1:22) since doers shall be justified (Rom 2:13), that is, if they act out of charity, the form of good works. Do manfully and be strengthened. Let all your actions be done in charity (1 Cor 16:13–14); otherwise they will be useless: if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing (1 Cor 13:3).
223. Sed quia in via Dei non progredi, est regredi, ideo subdit Apostolus ut crescamus in illo, etc., ubi tria facit.
223. Because not to make progress in the approach to God is itself a retrogression, the Apostle adds that we may grow up in him, where he states three points by explaining:
Primo ostendit auctorem nostri augmenti;
first, the author of our development;
secundo eius veritatem;
second, the truth about him;
tertio modum augmenti.
third, the manner of the development.
Secunda, ibi ex quo totum corpus. Tertia, ibi secundum operationem in mensuram uniuscuiusque membri.
He describes the second at from whom the whole body, and the third at according to the operation in the measure of every part.
224. Dicit ergo crescamus in illo, scilicet in Christo, de quo I Petr. II, 2: in eo crescatis in salutem. In illo, inquam, qui est caput nostrum Christus et in Ecclesia, quae est corpus ipsius, ut dicitur Col. I, 24. Crescamus, inquam, non in possessionibus, sicut dicitur Iob I, 10: possessio eius crevit in terra, sed in spiritualibus. Nec in uno tantum, sed per omnia, id est in omni bono, fructificantes et crescentes. I Cor. X, 31: omnia in gloriam Dei facite, et cetera. Et ibi sequitur: sicut et ego per omnia omnibus placeo. De hoc commendat Corinthios Apostolus, dicens I Cor. XI, 2: laudo vos, fratres, quod per omnia mei memores estis, et sicut tradidi vobis, omnia praecepta mea tenetis.
224. He asks that we may grow up in him, namely, in Christ, of whom it is written: in him may you grow unto salvation (1 Pet 2:2). In him, I repeat, who is the head, Christ, and in the Church which is his body (Col 1:24). Let us increase, not in wealth as was said of Job that his possession has increased on the earth (Job 1:10), but in spiritual goods. Nor in one area only, but in all things, that is, being fruitful and increasing in every good. Whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God . . . as I also in all things please all men (1 Cor 10:31; 33). The Apostle commends the Corinthians on this score: now, I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you (1 Cor 11:2).
225. Consequenter cum dicit ex quo totum corpus, etc., ostendit veritatem Christi per quem crescere debeamus.
225. Next, when he says from the whole body, he speaks about the truth of Christ through whom we ought to grow.
Ubi sciendum est, quod corpus naturale tria habet, scilicet compactionem membrorum ad invicem, ligationem per nervos et mutuam subministrationem. I Cor. XII, 16 s.: si dixerit pes: quoniam non sum manus, non sum de corpore; num ideo non est de corpore? Et si dixerit auris: quoniam non sum oculus, non sum de corpore, et cetera. Si totum corpus est odoratus, ubi auditus?
Three points concerning an organic body are to be kept in mind: its organs are interrelated, they are bound together by tendons, and each member serves the rest. If the foot should say: because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say: because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were the eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? (1 Cor 12:15–17).
Spiritualiter ergo, sicut unum corpus efficitur ex multis his tribus modis, scilicet per compactionem seu adunationem, per ligationem et per mutuam operationem et subventionem: ita et omnia, quae sunt a capite corporali, scilicet compactio, nervorum ligatio, ad opus motio, fluunt a capite nostro Christo in corpore Ecclesiae.
Therefore, one body is composed of many members in these three ways: through its structured whole or unity, through its connective bindings, and through its reciprocal actions and assistance, just as all these actions of interrelating organs, the connecting of tendons, and movements take their initiative from the body’s head, so the spiritual counterparts of these flow from Christ, our head, into his body, the Church.
226. Et, primo, compactio per fidem; unde dicit ex quo, scilicet Christo, qui est caput nostrum, ut modo dictum est, totum corpus compactum est, id est, coadunatum. Ps. CXLVI, 2: dispersiones Israel congregabit. Abac. II, 5: congregabit ad se omnes gentes, et coacervabit ad se omnes populos. De hoc dicitur Col. II, 19: caput ex quo totum corpus per nexus et coniunctiones subministratum et constructum crescit in augmentum Dei.
226. First, there is a structured unity through faith. Whence he says from whom, namely Christ, who is our head, as was already mentioned, the whole body, being compacted is joined together in a unity. He will gather together the dispersed of Israel (Ps 147:2). He will gather together unto him all nations, and heap together unto him all people (Hab 2:5). Christ is the head, from which the whole body, by joints and bands, being supplied with nourishment and compacted, grows unto the increase of God (Col 2:19).
227. Secundo, fluit a Christo capite in corpus Ecclesiae suae mysticum connexio et colligatio, quia oportet adunata aliquo nexu vel vinculo necti, vel colligari. Et propter hoc dicit et connexum per omnem iuncturam subministrationis, id est per fidem et caritatem, quae connectunt et coniungunt membra corporis mystici ad mutuam subministrationem. Eccli. XXXIX, 39: omnia opera Domini bona, et omne opus hora sua subministrabit.
227. Second, a connecting and binding force emanates from Christ, the head, into his body, the Church, since whatever is united must be held together or bound by some nexus or bond. On this account he says fitly joined together, by what every joint supplies, that is, through the faith and charity which unite and knit the members of the mystical body to one another for their mutual support. All the works of the Lord are good: and he will furnish every work in due time (Sir 39:39).
Unde ipse Apostolus, confidens de ista mutua subministratione quae est inter membra Ecclesiae per divinam coniunctionem, dicebat Phil. I, 19: scio enim, quia hoc proveniet in salutem per vestram orationem et subministrationem Spiritus Iesu Christi.
Thus the Apostle himself, confident of this mutual being-of-service which reigns among the members of the Church due to the divine unifying action, had said: I know that this shall happen to me unto salvation, through your prayer and the assistance of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:19).
228. Tertio, a capite Christo in membris, ut augmententur spiritualiter, influitur virtus actualiter operandi. Unde dicit secundum mensuram uniuscuiusque membri, augmentum corporis facit; quasi dicat: non solum a capite nostro Christo est membrorum Ecclesiae compactio per fidem, nec sola connexio, vel colligatio per mutuam subministrationem caritatis, sed certe ab ipso est actualis membrorum operatio sive ad opus motio, secundum mensuram et competentiam cuiuslibet membri. Unde dicit, quod facit augmentum corporis secundum operationem et mensuram uniuscuiusque membri, debite mensurati; quia non solum per fidem corpus mysticum compaginatur, nec solum per caritatis subministrationem connectentem augetur corpus; sed per actualem compositionem ab unoquoque membro egredientem, secundum mensuram gratiae sibi datae, et actualem motionem ad operationem, quam Deus facit in nobis. Unde Is. XXVI, 12: omnia opera nostra operatus es in nobis. Idem vero Deus, qui operatur omnia in omnibus, ut dicitur I Cor. XII, 6.
228. Third, from Christ the head there is infused into his members the power to act in order that they may grow spiritually. For this reason he states according to the operation in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body. As if he said: not only is the structured unity of the members of the Church through faith, and their connection or being joined together through the mutual service of charity, from Christ the head. Indeed, from him comes the actual operation or movements of the members needed for action, and this according to the measure and competency of each member. Thus he asserts that Christ accomplishes the increase of the body according to the operation and in the due measure of every part. Therefore, the body not only grows through the faith which compacts it into a structured whole and through charity’s mutual assistance, but also through the actual binding force which flows out from each member according to the degree of grace given him; and also through the actual impulse to act which God effects in us. You have wrought all our works for us (Isa 26:12). He is the same God who works all in all (1 Cor 12:6).
Et haec expositio concordat glossatori.
This interpretation accords with that of the glossator.
229. Sed ad quid augmentat Deus unumquodque membrum? Ut corpus aedificet. Supra II, 21: in quo omnis aedificatio constructa crescit in templum sanctum in Domino, in quo et vos coaedificamini, et cetera. Unde I Cor. III, 9: Dei aedificatio estis. Et haec omnia fiunt in caritate, quia, ut dicitur I Cor. c. VIII, 1: caritas aedificat.
229. But why does God make each member grow? To build up the body. In whom all the building, being framed together, grows up into a holy temple in the Lord. In whom you also are built together into a habitation of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:21–22). You are God’s building (1 Cor 3:9). All this occurs in the charity of which it is said that charity edifies (1 Cor 8:1).