PSALM 112:1-10

Praise the Lord!
    Happy are those who fear the Lord,
    who greatly delight in his commandments.
Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
    and their righteousness endures forever.
They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
    they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
    they will be remembered forever.
They are not afraid of evil tidings;
    their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn is exalted in honor.
10 The wicked see it and are angry;
    they gnash their teeth and melt away;
    the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

As the Reformation and Counter-Reformation (the Roman Catholic response and parallel development) established  generally pessimistic views of human nature at the center of their respective orthodoxies, the societies under their influence became increasingly anxious, discontent, avaricious, and self-absorbed – conditions that would soon be incorporated into the new capitalism of modern market economies.

If there’s nothing of inherent worth inside you and the world around you is fallen and condemned, then what’s left but to store up for yourself treasure in heaven? Eternal life is out there, after this, in some other place.

But that’s precisely not where eternal life is to be found. Rather, and as Jesus would make more clear in his gospel of the kingdom of God, life above the mortal conditions of temporal existence is available here and now. All that is needed is to pass through the “narrow gate” of present awareness.

After all, it’s always and only here and now that we can enter and enjoy our communion with God. “The righteous” have long known this truth: their “hearts are steady” and “they are not afraid,” for they are rooted in the grounding reality of God’s peace, power, grace and love. This is the first principle of mystical spirituality: Reach deep enough within yourself and you will eventually pass into the Divine Mystery, where you and that Other are One.

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