The armor of God
6:13 Propterea accipite armaturam Dei, ut possitis resistere in die malo, et in omnibus perfecti stare. [n. 360]
6:13 Therefore, take unto you the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect. [n. 360]
6:14 State ergo succincti lumbos vestros in veritate, et induti loricam justitiae, [n. 362]
6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of justice: [n. 362]
6:15 et calceati pedes in praeparatione Evangelii pacis, [n. 364]
6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. [n. 364]
6:16 in omnibus sumentes scutum fidei, in quo possitis omnia tela nequissimi ignea extinguere: [n. 365]
6:16 In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. [n. 365]
6:17 et galeam salutis assumite, et gladium Spiritus (quod est verbum Dei), [n. 366]
6:17 And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). [n. 366]
359. Supra exposuit Apostolus, quod dictum est de insidiis diaboli, hic monet nos de armatura sumenda. Et
359. The Apostle explained the devil’s snares previously, and here he advises us to take up arms.
circa hoc facit duo.
In reference to this he does two things:
Primo concludit ex praemissis armaturae necessitatem;
first, he concludes from the foregoing that arms are necessary;
secundo, armorum diversitatem describit, ibi state ergo, et cetera.
second, he describes the variety of weapons, at stand therefore.
360. Dicit ergo: habetis hostes malos, nequissimos et potentes, et pro re ardua pugnantes, quia pro caelestibus, propterea accipite armaturam Dei, id est armamini spiritualibus armis. II Cor. X, 4: arma militiae nostrae non sunt carnalia, sed potentia Deo ad destructionem munitionum, et cetera. Et hoc ut possitis resistere. I Petr. V, 9: cui resistite fortes in fide, et cetera. Iac. IV, 7: resistite diabolo, et fugiet a vobis. Quanto magis enim ei ceditur, tanto plus insequitur. In die malo, et hoc propter mala, quae in die fiunt. Supra V, 16: redimentes tempus, quoniam dies mali sunt. Eccle. VII, 15: diem malam praecave, et cetera.
360. Thus he says: you have evil enemies who are powerful and most wicked, and the struggle is for an exacting object since it is for heaven. Therefore, take unto you the armor of God, that is, be armed with spiritual weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to God unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels (2 Cor 10:4). And this that you may be able to resist. Resist him, strong in faith (1 Pet 5:9). Resist the devil; and he will fly from you (Jas 4:7). For the more is conceded to him, the more will he press in upon you. In the evil day indicates that a day is evil from what occurs in it. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Eph 5:16). Beware beforehand of the evil day (Eccl 7:15).
Item accipite non solum ad resistendum, sed etiam ad proficiendum, et in omnibus perfecti state, id est in adversis et prosperis immobiliter state. Iac. I, 4: sitis perfecti, in nullo deficientes. De hoc I Petr. I, 13: perfecti, sperate in eam, quae offertur vobis, gratiam, et cetera.
Take up these weapons not only for defense, but also to make progress: and to stand in all things perfect, that is, stand firm in both adversity and prosperity. That you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing (Jas 1:4). Trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you in the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:13).
361. Sed numquid omnes debent perfecti esse?
361. However, must everyone be perfect?
Respondeo. Triplex est perfectio. Una sufficientiae, quam habet homo, secundum quod habet quod sibi est necessarium ad salutem, sicut illud: diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo; quasi dicat: ut nihil sit in corde tuo, quod sit contra Deum. Et hoc est de necessitate salutis. Iac. I, 4: ut sitis perfecti et integri in nullo deficientes, et cetera.
I reply that there are three types of perfection. There is one of sufficiency when a man has what is necessary for his salvation; for instance, you shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, as if to say: let there be nothing in your heart which is contrary to God. This much is necessary for salvation. That you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing (Jas 1:4).
Alia est perfectio totalis abundantiae, quae est perfectio patriae, quae est consummata gloria, in hoc quod perfectus totaliter inhaereat Deo. Matth. XXII, 30: in resurrectione neque nubent, neque nubentur, sed sunt sicut angeli Dei in caelo. Et de hac loquebatur Apostolus Phil. III, 12: non quod iam acceperim, aut quod iam perfectus sim. Et paulo post: fratres, ego non arbitror me comprehendisse.
Another is the total and overflowing perfection proper to the fatherland; there glory is consummated in this, that the perfect totally inhere in God. For in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the angels of God in heaven (Matt 22:30). The Apostle speaks of this elsewhere: not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect . . . brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended (Phil 3:12–13).
Alia est media, scilicet consilii, qua homo nititur se abstrahere ab his, et ire ad illas.
The third perfection is between the above two, which is that of the counsels by which a man strives to withdraw himself from the things of this life and make progress towards those of the next.
362. Deinde cum dicit state ergo, etc., describit diversitatem armorum. Est autem triplex genus spiritualium armorum, ad similitudinem corporalium: quorum quaedam sunt similia indumento ad tegendum, quaedam vero ad protegendum, et quaedam ad impugnandum.
362. Then, at stand therefore, he goes on to describe the variety of weapons. There are three kinds of spiritual armor, paralleling bodily arms. Some are like clothes and are meant to cover one; others are to protect him; and still others are for fighting.
363. Indumento autem tria sunt necessaria. Primo quod cingatur; et quantum ad hoc dicit state ergo succincti lumbos vestros, et cetera.
363. Three things are necessary for clothing. First, it must be bound with a belt; regarding this he says stand therefore, having your loins girt about.
Sed prius induit se homo quam se cingat. Apostolus autem accipit haec secundum ordinem armaturae spiritualis. In bello autem spirituali prius est necesse concupiscentias carnis restringere, sicut vicinus hostis est prius vincendus: hoc autem fit per restrictionem lumborum, in quibus viget luxuria, quod fit per temperantiam, quae gulae et luxuriae contrariatur. Lc. XII, 35: sint lumbi vestri praecincti, et cetera. Iob XXXVIII, 3: accinge sicut vir lumbos, et cetera.
However, a man clothes himself before he puts his belt on. Here the Apostle follows the order of spiritual armor. In spiritual warfare it is first necessary to check carnal desires, just as the nearest enemy must be conquered first. This is done by bridling the loins in which sensuality thrives; such girding is done through temperance which is opposed to gluttony and sensuality. Let your loins be girt (Luke 12:35); gird up your loins like a man (Job 38:3).
Sed in veritate, id est in rectitudine intentionis, et non simulate. Alia littera habet: in caritate. I Cor. ult.: omnia vestra in caritate fiant.
But this must be done with truth, that is, with the right intention and not with pretense. A variant reading gives with charity. Let all that you do be done in charity (1 Cor 6:14).
364. Secundo monet vincere cupiditates rerum. Duplex autem invenitur armatura contra eas, scilicet iustitia, et abrenuntiatio rerum temporalium. Et ideo primo praecipit ut eas non iniuste usurpemus, quod facit iustitia. Et ideo dicit induti loricam iustitiae, scilicet propter quam homo abstinet a rebus alienis. Dicitur autem iustitia lorica, quia sicut lorica tegit membra, ita iustitia virtutes omnes. Sap. V, 19: induet pro thorace iustitiam, et accipiet pro galea iudicium certum.
364. Second, he warns them to overcome greed for created things. Two weapons can be found against it: justice and the renunciation of temporalities. First, he commands us not to usurp these unjustly; justice will look after this. Thus he says and having on the breastplate of justice, on account of which a man keeps out of other people’s property. Justice is referred to as a breastplate because it covers all the virtues just as a breastplate does the members of the body. He will put on justice as a breastplate, and will take true judgment instead of a helmet (Wis 5:19).
Secundo praecipit ut rerum temporalium curam superfluam deponamus, quia dum his nimis intendimus, non habemus pedes paratos ad divina negotia et mysteria annuntianda. Et propter hoc dicit et calceati pedes, id est affectus dispositi sint supple, in praeparatione Evangelii pacis. In signum huius misit apostolos Dominus, Mc. VI, 9, calceatos sandaliis, quae habent subtus soleas, per quod significatur elevatio mentis a terrenis: et aperta sunt superius, per quod significatur promptitudo ad divinam sapientiam. Dicit autem pacis, quia per Evangelium pax nobis annuntiatur. Matth. X, 12: in quamcumque domum intraveritis, dicite: pax huic domui.
Second, he commands us to get rid of an excessive care about temporal realities. When we are too caught up in these, our feet are not ready to carry out divine pursuits and proclaim its mysteries. For this reason he says and your feet shod—understand by this that one’s inclinations should be determined—with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. As a symbol of this the Lord sent the apostles (Mark 6:9) shod with sandals. These have soles underneath, by which the raising of the mind from earthly matters is signified; and they are open above, in which an eagerness for divine wisdom is signified. He adds of peace since through the Gospel peace is proclaimed to us. When you come into the house, salute it, saying: peace be to this house (Matt 10:12).
365. Item secundo, sunt arma ad protegendum. Duo autem in nobis sunt protegenda, quae sunt principia vitae, scilicet pectus in quo est cor et caput in quo est cerebrum. Pro pectore autem est scutum. Et ideo dicit in omnibus sumentes scutum fidei, quia sicut scutum supponitur omnibus armis, ita fides omnibus aliis virtutibus.
365. The second function of weapons is to protect. Two areas which contain the mainsprings of our life must be guarded: the chest in which the heart is situated, and the head which contains the brain. The chest is protected by a shield; thus he states in all things taking the shield of faith because faith is presupposed to all the other virtues just as a shield is basic to all weapons.
Alia sunt enim arma virtutum moralium, scilicet temperantiae, id est succinctio lumborum, et iustitiae, id est induitio loricae: et hoc genus armorum, scilicet scutum, est virtutis theologicae, scilicet fidei: quia sicut per scutum repelluntur tela, ita per fidem omnia contraria et habetur victoria. Hebr. XI, v. 33: sancti per fidem vicerunt regna, sicut per virtutes morales vincimus potestates terrenas. Et ideo ait in quo possitis omnia tela ignea nequissimi extinguere, scilicet diaboli, cuius tela sunt quaedam immissiones per angelos malos. Ignea sunt, quia adurentia pravis concupiscentiis. Ps. LVII, 9: supercecidit ignis, et cetera. Haec autem per fidem extinguuntur: quae tentationes praesentes et transitorias extinguit per bona spiritualia et aeterna, quae promittit Sacra Scriptura. Unde Dominus diabolo tentanti producebat et opponebat auctoritates Sacrae Scripturae. Et sic debemus facere, si tentat de gula, secundum illud Deut. VIII, 3: non in solo pane vivit homo, vel illud: non est regnum Dei, esca et potus. Si de luxuria: non moechaberis. Si de furto: non furtum facies; et sic de aliis.
For there is a difference between the armor of the moral virtues, such as temperance which is to gird one’s loins and justice which is to put on a breastplate, and this type of armament—the shield—which consists of the theological virtue of faith. Just as a shield wards off the arrows, so faith repels what is aimed against it and gains the victory. The saints by faith conquered kingdoms (Heb 11:33), whereas we conquer the powers of darkness by the moral virtues. Thus he says wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one, the devil, whose arrows are certain interferences from evil angels (Ps 78:49). They are fiery since evil desires burn: fire has fallen on them, and they shall not see the sun (Ps 58:9). These are extinguished through faith; it quenches present and transitory temptations with the eternal and spiritual blessings promised in Holy Scripture. Thus the Lord brought forward authoritative texts of Holy Scripture to oppose the devil’s temptations. We ought to do the same; if tempted to gluttony, counter it with: not in bread alone does man live (Deut 8:3), or the kingdom of God is not meat and drink (Rom 14:17). If tempted to sensuality, you shall not commit adultery (Exod 20:14); if to theft, you shall not steal (Exod 20:15) and so on with any others.
Dicitur autem scutum fidei, quia sicut scutum protegit totum pectus, ita fides debet esse in pectore. Spes autem dicitur galea, quia sicut galea est in capite, ita caput virtutum moralium est finis; et de hoc est spes, scilicet de fine. Et ideo dicitur et galeam salutis assumite.
Faith is called a shield since, as a shield protects the entire chest, so faith must be in our heart. Hope, on the other hand, is referred to as a helmet because, as a helmet is on the head, so the head of the moral virtues is the end, and hope is concerned with this end. Hence he states: and take unto you the helmet of salvation.
366. Item tertio, sunt arma ad impugnandum, quia non solum sufficit se defendere, sed etiam oportet adversarium impugnare. Hoc autem sicut fit per gladium materialem corporaliter, ita per verbum Dei, quod est Spiritus Sancti gladius, spiritualiter. Et propter hoc dicit et gladium Spiritus, quod est verbum Dei, scilicet assumite. Hebr. c. IV, 12: vivus est sermo Dei et efficax, et penetrabilior omni gladio ancipiti, pertingens usque ad divisionem animae et spiritus. Et praedicatio dicitur gladius Spiritus, quia non penetrat usque ad spiritum, nisi ducatur a Spiritu Sancto. Matth. X, 20: non enim vos estis, qui loquimini, sed Spiritus Patris vestri, qui loquitur in vobis.
366. Finally, the third function of weapons is for attack. It is not enough to simply defend one’s self, it is also necessary to assault the enemy. Physically, this is done with a material sword; it is done spiritually through the word of God which is the sword of the Holy Spirit. On this account he affirms and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. For the word of God is living and effectual and more piercing than any two-edged sword and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit (Heb 4:12). Preaching is called the sword of the Spirit because it will not penetrate to the spirit unless it is disposed by the Holy Spirit. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you (Matt 10:20).
367. Sic ergo habemus arma quibus defendamur a carnalibus hostibus, scilicet a gula et luxuria, quod fit per temperantiam, ibi state ergo succincti lumbos vestros, et cetera.
367. Therefore, we possess weapons to defend ourselves against carnal adversaries, namely, gluttony and sensuality, through temperance: stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.
Item, quibus vincamus cupiditates terrenas, scilicet arma iustitiae, quae abstinere nos faciunt ab illicitis, ibi induti loricam iustitiae. Et puritatem affectus seu paupertatem, quae nos retrahit etiam a licitis, ibi calceati pedes, et cetera.
By the arms of justice, which make us refrain from what is unlawful, we can conquer also earthly greed: and having on the breastplate of justice. This is aided by purity of heart or poverty which withdraw us even from things which are lawful: and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.
Item, habemus arma quibus protegamur ab erroribus, scilicet arma fidei, ibi in omnibus sumentes scutum fidei, et etiam ab hostibus generis humani, ibi quo, scilicet scuto fidei, possitis omnia tela nequissimi ignea extinguere.
Moreover, we have weapons by which we are guarded from error, the armor of faith: in all things taking the shield of faith; and also protected from the enemies of the human race: wherewith, meaning the shield of faith, you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.
Item, habemus arma quibus in bonis spiritualibus confirmamur, scilicet arma spei, ibi et galeam salutis assumite. Galea ponitur in capite, sic spes in fine. Nunc autem caput virtutum moralium est ipse finis, de quo est spes. Unde nihil est aliud galeam salutis assumere, quam spem de ultimo fine habere.
We likewise possess armor by which we are strengthened in spiritual blessings, the armor of hope: and take unto you the helmet of salvation. A helmet rests on the head, and so does hope in its end. Now the head of the moral virtues is the very end with which hope is concerned. Thus, to take up the helmet of salvation is nothing other than to have hope in the ultimate end.
Item, habemus arma ad impugnandum ipsos daemones, scilicet gladium Spiritus, quod est verbum Dei: quod fit frequenter in sermonibus, in quibus verbum Dei penetrans corda peccatorum expellit congeriem peccatorum et daemonum.
Finally, we have weapons to assault the demons themselves: the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This happens frequently during sermons when the word of God, penetrating into the hearts of sinners, thrusts out the chaos of sins and demons.
Oratio et valete
Prayer and farewell
6:18 per omnem orationem et obsecrationem orantes omni tempore in Spiritu: et in ipso vigilantes in omni instantia et obsecratione pro omnibus sanctis: [n. 369]
6:18 By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the Spirit: and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints: [n. 369]
6:19 et pro me, ut detur mihi sermo in apertione oris mei [n. 370] cum fiducia, notum facere mysterium Evangelii: [n. 371]
6:19 And for me, that speech may be given me, that I may open my mouth [n. 370] with confidence, to make known the mystery of the Gospel, [n. 371]