Brethren: We give thanks to God, the Father, Who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins; Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature for in Him were all things created in Heaven and on earth visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and in Him. And He is before all, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body of the Church, Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He may hold the primacy: because in Him it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, making peace through the Blood of His Cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in Heaven, in Christ Jesus Our Lord.
Verse 14. It is through the blood of Christ, and not by the law of Moses, that we are freed from the power of death. If the law could have saved us, the coming of Christ would have been useless. See then, he says, if it be proper to engage under a law which is so inefficacious. Calmet. — From this verse and from v. 12, et alibi passim, we are taught that we are not only by imputation made partakers of Christ’s benefits, but are by his grace made worthy thereof, and deserve our salvation condignly, ex condigno. B.
Verse 15. The first born of every creature. S. Chrys. takes notice against the Arians, that the apostle calls Christ the first-begotten, or first-born, not the first created, because he was not created at all. And the sense is, that he was before all creatures, proceeding from all eternity from the Father; though some expound the words of Christ as man, and that he was greater in dignity. See Rom. viii. 29. Wi.
Verse 16. Thrones, &c. are commonly understood to refer to the celestial hierarchy of Angels, though as to their particular rank, &c. nothing certain is known. We may here observe, that the Holy Spirit proportions itself and speaks according to our ideas of a temporal kingdom, in which one authority is subject to another. In the same manner the Angels seem subordinate to one another. S. Dionysius in Calmet. — All things were created by him, and in him, and consist in him. If all things that are were made by him, he himself was not made. And his divine power is also signified, when it is said all things consist or are preserved by him. Wi.
Verse 18i. He is the head of the body, the church. He now speaks of what applies to Christ as man. — The first-born from the dead; i.e. the first that rose to an immortal life. Wi.
Verse 19. In him it was pleasing, that all fulness should dwell. The greatest plenitude of graces was conferred on him as man, and from him, as he was our head, derived to all the members of his Church. The Prot. translation, followed by Mr. N. by way of explanation adds, it hath pleased the Father; but, as Dr. Wells observes in his paraphrase, there is no reason to restrain it to the Father, seeing the work of the incarnation, and the blessings by it conferred on all mankind, are equally the work of the blessed Trinity, though the Second Person only was joined to our nature. Wi.
Verse 20. To reconcile all things unto himself, . . . through the blood of his cross, (i.e. which Christ shed on the cross) both as to the things on earth, and . . . in heaven: not that Christ died for the Angels, but, says S. Chrys. the Angels were in a manner at war with men, with sinners, as they stood for the cause and glory of God; but Christ put an end to this enmity, by restoring men to his favour. Wi. — In heaven. Not by pardoning the wicked angels did Christ reconcile the things in heaven, but by reconciling good Angels to man, who were enemies to him before the birth of Christ. S. Austin.
THE VATICAN COUNCIL 1869-1870 Ecumenical XX (on Faith and the Church) SESSION III (April 24, 1870) Dogmatic Constitution concerning the Catholic Faith Chap. 3
[The divine external aid for the fulfillment of the duty of Faith]. For, to the Catholic Church alone belong all those many and marvelous things which have been divinely arranged for the evident credibility of the Christian faith. But, even the Church itself by itself, because of its marvelous propagation, its exceptional holiness, and inexhaustible fruitfulness in all good works; because of its catholic unity and invincible stability, is a very great and perpetual motive of credibility, and an incontestable witness of its own divine mission.
[The divine internal aid to the same].By this it happens that the Church as “a standard set up unto the nations” [Isa. 11:12], both invites to itself those who have not yet believed, and makes its sons more certain that the faith, which they profess, rests on a very firm foundation. Indeed, an efficacious aid to this testimony has come from supernatural virtue. For, the most benign God both excites the erring by His grace and aids them so that they can “come to a knowledge of the truth” [ 1 Tim. 2:4], and also confirms in His grace those whom “He has called out of darkness into his marvelous light” [1 Pet. 2:9 ], so that they may persevere in this same light, not deserting if He be not deserted [see n. 804 ]. Wherefore, not at all equal is the condition of those, who, through the heavenly gift of faith, have adhered to the Catholic truth, and of those, who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for, those who have accepted the faith under the teaching power of the Church can never have a just cause of changing or doubting that faith [can. 6]. Since this is so, “giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light” [Col. 1:12], let us not neglect such salvation, but “looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith” [ Heb. 12:2], “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” [Heb. 10:23].
PAUL III 1534-1549 COUNCIL OF TRENT 1545-1563 Ecumenical XIX (Contra Novatores 16 cent.) SESSION III (Feb.4, 1546) The Creed of the Catholic Faith is Accepted Chap. 3. Who are Justifed Through Christ
But although Christ died for all [2 Cor. 5:15], yet not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated. For, as indeed men would not be born unjust, if they were not born through propagation of the seed of Adam, since by that propagation they contract through him, in conception, injustice as their own, so unless they were born again in Christ, they never would be justified [can. 2 and 10], since in that new birth through the merit of His passion, the grace, whereby they are made just, is bestowed upon them. For this benefit the Apostle exhorts us always to “give thanks to the Father who has made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light” [Col. 1:12], “and has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption and remission of sins [Col. 1:13 ff.].
139: Grace of God
Council of Ephesus The Catalog or the Authoritative Statements of the Past Bishops of the Holy See Concerning the Grace of God Chap. 8
But besides these hallowed ordinances of the most blessed and Apostolic See, in accordance with which the most pious Fathers, after casting aside the pride of pernicious novelty, have taught us to refer to Christ’s grace both the beginnings of good will, and the advances in commendable devotions and the perseverance in these unto the end, let us be mindful also of the sacraments of priestly public prayer, which handed down by the Apostles are uniformly celebrated in the whole world and in every Catholic Church, in order that the law of supplication may support the law of believing.
For when the leaders of the holy nations perform the office of ambassador entrusted to them, they plead the cause of the human race before divine Clemency, and while the whole Church laments with them, they ask and pray that the faith may be granted to infidels; that idolaters may be delivered from the errors of their impiety; that the veil of their hearts may be removed and the light of truth be visible to the Jews; that heretics may come to their senses through a comprehension of the Catholic faith; that schismatics may receive the spirit of renewed charity; that the remedy of repentance may be bestowed upon the lapsed; that finally after the catechumens have been led to the sacraments of regeneration, the royal court of heavenly mercy may be opened to them. Moreover, the effect of these prayers shows that these are not sought from the Lord perfunctorily and uselessly, since indeed God deigns to attract from every kind of error very many whom,torn from the power of darkness, He transfers into the kingdom of the Son of his love [ Col. 1:13], andfrom vessels of wrath He makes vessels of mercy [Rom. 9:22 f.]. This is felt to be so completely a divine work that the action of the graces and the acknowledgement of praise on account of the illumination or correction of such [persons] should always be referred to God who effects these things.
938: The Institution of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Council of Trent Session XXII (Sept. 17,1562)
Since under the former Testament (as the Apostle Paul bears witness) there was no consummation because of the weakness of the Levitical priesthood, it was necessary (God the Father of mercies ordaining it thus) that another priest according to the order of Melchisedech [ Gen. 14:18 ;Ps. 109:4;Heb. 7:11] arise, our Lord Jesus Christ, who could perfect [ Heb. 10:14] all who were to be sanctified, and lead them to perfection. He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once to God the Father upon the altar of the Cross by the mediation of death, so that He might accomplish an eternal redemption for them [edd.: illic,there], nevertheless, that His sacerdotal office might not come to an end with His death [Heb. 7:24, 27] at the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, so that He might leave to His beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice [can. 1] (as the nature of man demands), whereby that bloody sacrifice once to be completed on the Cross might be represented, and the memory of it remain even to the end of the world [ 1 Cor. 11:23 ff.] and its saving grace be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit, declaring Himself constituted “a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech” Ps. 109:4; offered to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine, and under the symbols of those same things gave to the apostles (whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament), so that they might partake, and He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood in these words to make offering: “Do this in commemoration of me, etc.” [ Luke 22:19;1 Cor. 11:23], as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught [can. 2]. For, after He had celebrated the ancient feast of the Passover, which the multitude of the children of Israel sacrificed [Exod. 12:1 ff.] in memory of their exodus from Egypt, He instituted a new Passover, Himself to be immolated under visible signs by the Church through the priests, in memory of His own passage from this world to the Father, when by the shedding of His blood He redeemed us and “delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into His kingdom [Col. 1:13 ].
50: The Trinity and the Incarnation
ST. DIONYSIUS 259-268 Fragment from epistle against the Tritheists and Sabellians, about the year 260
But why should I treat further about these matters with you, man full of the Spirit, and especially who understand what absurdities follow from that opinion which asserts that the Son was made? It seems to me that the leaders of this belief did not consider these at all, and thus have completely strayed from the truth, when they explain differently from what the divine and prophetic Scripture wishes, the passage: “The Lord created man in the beginning of his ways” [Prov. 8:22: LXX]. Certainly there is not, as you know, only one meaning of the word “created.” For in this passage “created” is the same as “he set him over works made by Him,” made, I say, by the Son Himself.
But here “created” ought not to be understood exactly as “made.” For " to make” and “to create” differ from each other. “Is not he thy father that hast possessed thee, and made thee, and created thee?” [Dt. 32:6:LXX] said Moses in the great canticle of Deuteronomy. And so who can rightly refute them: O rash and inconsiderate men, was he then a made thing “the first born of every creature” [Col. 1:15], “begotten from the womb before the daystar” [Ps. 109:3:LXX] of whom as Wisdom says, “before all the hills he brought me forth”? [Prov. 8:25:LXX]. Finally anybody may read in many passages of the divine statements that the Son was “begotten,” but nowhere “made.” By reason of this they who dare to call His divine and inexplicable begetting a making, are clearly proved to speak falsely about the Lord’s generation.
124: The Incarnation
The Anathemas of the Chapter of Cyril (against Nestorius)
Can. 12. If anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh, and tasted death in the flesh, and was made the firstborn from the dead [Col. 1:18] according to which as God He is both the life and the life-giver, let him be anathema.