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Eckehart’s Just Man

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Justus in perpetuum vivet et apud dominum est merces eius. (Wisdom 5: 16)

We read a short dictum in today’s epistle spoken by the wise man: “The just [or righteous] man lives in eternity.”

In the past I have spoken on those qualities which constitute a just person, but now allow me to cast this in a different way. A just person is one who has been formed by justice and has become the embodiment of justice. The just person lives in God and God lives in him; and thus is God manifest in each virtue of the just person and refreshed in each virtue of the just. But indeed it is not simply by each virtue, but by each deed of the just, be it as trivial as it maybe, nevertheless as a manifestation of justice, it will bring joy to God. He will be flooded by joy because nothing remains upon his ground save that which is given life by joy. This is a fact which those of more feeble intellectual abilities must simply believe, while the enlightened must know it.

Meister Eckehart of Hochheim, Sermon No. 39 “Justus in Perpetuum Vivet” (ca. 1320) in: Deutsche Predigten und Traktate, p. 267 (J. Quint ed. 1955)(S.H. transl.)

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