instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

For example

Yesterday's Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 112, is a good example of what Scripture teaches about truth prevailing. The NAB translation begins:
Hallelujah! Happy are those who fear the LORD, who greatly delight in God's commands.
The psalm goes on to mention how those who fear the LORD will have mighty descendants, and wealth and riches in their homes, and eternally enduring prosperity (literally, "justice"; the translators seem to have been a bit playful with this psalm).

Sounds like a pretty good deal, right?

The problem is, we know from experience that those who fear the LORD don't always have the familial and material success the psalm describes. We know that this spiritual sense of verse 5 --
All goes well for those gracious in lending, who conduct their affairs with justice.
-- cannot be that all worldly affairs go well for everyone who is gracious in lending. In some circumstances, conducting your affairs with justice is is a good way to wind up broke at best.

The psalmist goes on to say that those gracious in lending "shall never be shaken," and that the just "shall not fear an ill report" and "their hearts are tranquil, without fear." These, I'd say, are the sort of near-term blessings those who hope in the LORD obtain, with their hope eventually being fulfilled on the Last Day.

Note that talk of mighty descendants and prosperity enduring forever are essentially future blessings. The triumph of the just over the wicked, whose "desires come to nothing," is final and absolute, but it is also eschatological, not temporal, much less political.