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

Father Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 15, 2011

2Co 13:11  For the rest, brethren, rejoice, be perfect, take exhortation, be of one mind, have peace. And the God of grace and of love shall be with you.

Be perfect. The Greek word used here denotes to mend a torn garment.  S. Paul is alluding to the vices, evil habits, and especially the lukewarmness of the Corinthians. He says in effect: Make yourselves whole again, correct your old faults, curb the license of your lives, re-knit your severed friendship, union, and concord, so that you may have nothing to correct, nothing calling for punishment at my hands. Or, again, the word used is one bidding them agree amongst themselves and with their head, even as members in a body agree with each other under a common head. Cf. 1 Cor 12:16, note.

Take exhortation. Exhort one another to better things (Latin version). Have consolation in mutual agreement (Vatablus).

Be of one mind. Have the same convictions, the same will: be of one mind and one soul.

Live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you. God is the author and giver of peace, and is well pleased with peace: as its guardian, He will be with you (Anselm). Ediner, in his Life of Anselm, relates that he was wont to say that those who in this life conform their wills to the will of others, so far as righteousness allows, merit at God’s hands to have Him conform Himself after this life to their will, and live at peace with them. On the other, those who quarrel here with the wills of others will hereafter find no one to conform his will to theirs. It is the just rule of God’s justice, that with whatever measure we mete it shall be measured to us again. God acts in the same way in rewarding other virtues and punishing other sins.

2Co 13:12  Salute one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints salute you.

Salute one another with an holy kiss. What was this kiss? Xenophon (Cyropœdia, lib. i.) and Herodotus (Clio) testify that it was a heathen custom to salute one another with a kiss at meeting, in token of friendship. Suetonius says that Tiberius tried in vain to put an end to the practice. The Jews had the same custom. Cf. 2 Sam 20:9. Judas, too, was but conforming to what was usual when he betrayed Christ with a kiss. It was a still more solemn and common custom with the early Christians, both on other occasions, and especially when they met for Holy Communion, to salute one another with a kiss, or other familiar salutation, saying, “Peace be with you.” This was a symbol of goodwill towards those about to communicate, of the forgiveness of all injury, and of pure charity. Cf. Cyril (Cat. Myst. 5). Tertullian (de Orat.) calls this kiss “the symbol of prayer.”

S. Chrysostom gives the mystical meaning to be, that through our mouth enters the body of Christ. We, therefore, kiss it, just as the early Christians, out of reverence for the sacred building, used to kiss the doors of the church. He gives directions how to guard this mouth against all that defiles, and to consecrate it to the praises of God. In some churches, even now, it is the custom for the canons to give this kiss before the Holy Communion. When some men, though the sexes sat apart, secretly crept in among the women and kissed them, the kissing the tablet of peace, as it is called, took the place of the kiss of peace.

A holy kiss, therefore, is not one that is heathen, carnal, fraudulent, but one that is devout, pure, and sincere, as a Christian’s should be (Chrysostom). Cf. S. Augustine (Serm. 83 de Diversis) and Baronius (Annals, A.D. 45). The author of the work “on Friendship,” included among the writings of S. Augustine, gives four reasons why this holy kiss is given: (1.) as a sign of reconciliation between those who have been enemies; (2.) in sign of peace, as in the sacrifice of the Mass; (3.) in sign of joy and of renewed love, as when a friend returns after a long absence; (4.) in sign of Catholic communion, as when a guest is welcomed with a kiss. But in all such matters the custom of the place is to be followed, and care must be taken that this kiss do not degenerate into a merely sensual delight.

2Co 13:13The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the charity of God and the communication of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.

The grace of the Lord, &c. Chrysostom, Ambrose, and Theodoret point out that this passage proves that the Holy Trinity is consubstantial, or of the same nature, power, and operation, especially in the work of our redemption, which is more particularly in the Apostle’s mind. Ambrose says. “In the Trinity there is a unity of power, perfecting the whole of our salvation. For the love of God sent His Son to save us, by whose grace we are saved; and that we might possess this saving grace, He makes us sharers of His Holy Spirit.”

Observe 1. that by the phrase “the love of God,” the name of God is appropriated to the Father. For the Father is the fount of Godhead, and the Origin of the other Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

2. Love is fitly attributed to the Father, grace to the Son, and fellowship to the Holy Spirit: for from the Father and His love our redemption took its rise. “The Father so loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son” to die for us. By the Son came grace, inasmuch as, when we merited nothing but evil, He redeemed us by His death, and merited all grace for us. By the Holy Spirit we are made partakers of grace and of the gifts of grace. Anselm explains “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” to mean that our sins are freely forgiven, and salvation given us; “the love of God” to be the love of the Father in freely giving His Son for us; “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” to be the co-operation of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son in the work of man’s salvation.

3. Fellowship may be taken actively or passively. Passively, it is identical with participation, and the meaning would then be: May the Holy Spirit be given to you, that you may be partakers of His grace and its gifts, may be changed into the Holy Spirit not essentially but participatively (Theophylact). Actively, the meaning is: May the Holy Spirit, who has fellowship with the Father and the Son in essence, in love, in power, and working, also have fellowship with them in communicating to you His gracious love, and, the gifts attached to it. Especially may He cause you to lay aside all divisions, and be joined together in mutual love, inasmuch as He is the bond of union between the Father and the Son, and therefore between all the faithful, who partake of the same Spirit and are united in His love.  S. Paul, therefore, wishes for them the gift of fellowship, to take away all divisions.

4. Grace, love, fellowship may be either created or uncreated. Grace and love uncreate are the loving-kindness of the Father and the Son towards us. Thus we are said to find grace, i.e., goodwill, favour, in the eyes of God. E.g., in Tit_2:11, we read: “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared,” viz., when out of His love for us He condescended to assume flesh for us. Similarly, the uncreated fellowship of the Holy Spirit is that communion or fellow-ship which He has with the Father and the Son, or that participation of Godhead, and of all the Divine attributes which the Father and the Son communicate to the Holy Spirit, and He in him to us. Created grace is that which is infused into us to make us pleasing to God; created charity is that by which we love God; created fellowship of the Holy Spirit is the participation of His gifts given to us.

If, then, firstly we take this verse of uncreated grace, love, and fellowship of the Holy Ghost, the sense is this: May the grace, or the loving-kindness of Christ, and the love that the Father has for us, and the fellowship, or that bond of love by which the Holy Spirit shares all the Divine attributes with the Father and the Son, and then communicates them to us, be and remain with you, to give you, and ever give you, fellowship in that love and all other good gifts of God.

If, secondly, we take it of created grace, love, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit, all of which flow from their uncreated originals, then the sense will be: May the grace which Christ gives, and the love bestowed by the Father, and the gifts communicated by the Holy Spirit be and remain always with you; and especially that mutual and brotherly love, which of all things is the brightest, the most pleasing to God, and the most necessary to you, 0 Corinthians, viz., the fellowship of the Holy Ghost. Similarly, in Rom 5:5 love has both meanings.

Give us ever Thy grace, 0 Jesu Christ, our Redeemer; give us ever thy love, 0 Father, our Creator and Glorifier; give us ever fellowship with Thee, 0 Holy Ghost, our justifier; that, in time and eternity we may love Thee and glorify Thee, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, One God, Divine Trinity, Triune Eternity. What have I in heaven but Thee, and what is there that I can desire on earth in comparison of Thee? God is the Strength of my heart and my Portion for ever.


2 Responses to “Father Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13:11-13”

  1. […] UPDATE: Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Cor 13:11-13 for Sunday Mass, June 19. […]

  2. […] Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Cor 13:11-13. […]

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