The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 8, 2012

1Co 10:31  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.

1. This is a matter of counsel, not of precept, for we are not bound in every act nor in every virtue to seek the glory of God, though to do so is very meritorious. In the same way he says in 1 Cor 15:14: “Let all your things be done with charity.” 2. If any one, with Anselm, Ambrose, and Cajetan, thinks that it is a precept, he must explain it to mean that all our works must be of such a character that they are likely to promote the glory of God, such that God may be glorified because of them, no one be offended, and the glory of God not injured, but all edified, and the glory of God therefore spread abroad. This second meaning is more suitable here, as appears from what has gone before, where S. Paul has been dealing with the duty of avoiding giving offence, and also from what follows in the next verse. For S. Paul is opposing the glory of God to the glory of devils, who are served by those who eat things offered to idols, in their honour, or when offence is caused to our neighbour; on the other hand, they serve the glory of God who abstain from idols, and eat of such things and do such things, as help to promote the honour and worship of God and the salvation of their neighbors.

S. Thomas (iii. qu. c. art. 1o ad 2) explains it differently; he says that it is a precept bidding us always refer ourselves and everything in general to the glory of God as their final cause. But the Apostle is speaking here, not of this or that act, but of that which we ought to do continuously.

3. The sense will be more comprehensive if the verse is explained in this way: Study to promote the glory of God (which is a matter of counsel) in all things so carefully that you keep strict watch against doing anything which may be against God’s glory, against giving in anything cause of offence, as, e.g., in eating of things offered to idols, lest God be reproached: this last is a matter of precept. For although this saying and counsel of the Apostle’s is positive, it nevertheless includes a negative precept. Hence it does not follow from this that all the works of unbelievers are sinful because they do not do them to the glory of God, of whom they know nothing; for, as I have said, to do all our works, and to refer them in act to the glory of God, is a matter of counsel, not of precept.

Tertullian (de Corona) and S. Jerome {ad Eustochium) gather from this the explanation of the custom of the Christians of that time, to sign themselves with the sign of the Cross at the beginning of every work, which was as good as saying: “Let this work be done to the glory of God. in the name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” S. Basil (in Regul. Brev. Reg. 196) asks, “How does a man eat and drink to the glory of God;” and his answer is, that this is done when a man is mindful of the benefits bestowed on him by God, when he is so well-disposed as not to eat at all carelessly, but with the recollection that God searches him out; when he makes it his purpose not to eat merely for the pleasure of satisfying his appetite, but as God’s workman, that he may have strength to serve Him better, and to perform the commands of Christ. This surely would become not only religious, but all Christians and true worshipers of God. S. Basil again (Hom, in julittam Mart.), quoting this verse, says beautifully: “When you sit at table, pray; when you eat your bread, give thanks to the Giver; when you drink wine, think of Him who gave it to you to gladden you, and to strengthen your weakness; when you put on your coat, give thanks to the kindly Giver; when you look up at the heavens and see the beauty of the stars, fall down before God and worship Him, who by His wisdom made all these things. Similarly, when the sun rises and sets, whether in sleeping or waking, give thanks to God, who created and ordained all these things for your good, thatyou might know, love, andpraise the Creator.”

1Co 10:32  Be without offence to the Jew, and to the Gentiles and to the church of God:
1Co 10:33  As I also in all things please all men, not seeking that which is profitable to myself but to many: that they may be saved.

As I also in all things please men.I do all I can to please them, that I may edify them and give no offence to anyone, even though I may actually displease some who are ignorant, or jealous, or perverse. I please means here the desire of pleasing, the inchoate act; and the Apostle therefore adds, “not seeking mine
own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

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One Response to “Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1”

  1. […] Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 10:25-11:1). […]

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