Justice? What is that?
The class began with a prayer and then a statement came forth from the revered Professor, Fr. Ochio, “In this world there is no perfect justice. We can only strive.” Yet our nature cries out for justice every time someone cheats us, steals from us, utters a false word against us. We want justice and we want it now. So consider the words of our Lord today that “unless our justice exceeds the Scribes and Pharisees we shall not enter the kingdom of God.” Consider three points of justice: what it is, how do we practice it, and when can one get “angry”.
What is justice? Justice is the expression of true charity which gives to God what is due to God and to neighbor what is due to that person. Render to Caesar the things of Caesar and to God that which belongs to God. Justice places charity into action first of all in the divine relationship which exists between God and creature. Then it continues that expression of charity by directing it to our neighbor. Hence the two great laws that summarize our lives. We are to love the lord, our God, with our whole heart, our whole soul and our whole strength and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Justice is the maiden of charity. Consider your own experience in which you are asked to complete a task for said amount of dollars. You complete the work and what do you expect from the one who requested it: your pay! What if the person who should pay you gives you a drink and a dinner and that’s all. You would cry out for what is due to you. Justice first and then the kindness of offering a meal.
How then does the soul practice this justice? First, establish in your life the priority of the divine order. Seek the kingdom of heaven and all else shall be given thee. Order demands justice to the Almighty and so we must seek souls for the glory of God. We have been created to save souls. No matter how rotten the world becomes we are under debt to God to seek and save as many souls as we can. We may not see the souls that God has placed under our charge but we can desire to save every one possible. That is the second point: you must desire to do what God asks of you in this life. Desire then leads us to the third movement of justice in practice: do what you can to implement the seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy, seek to pray the rosary and encourage love of our Lady, many visits to the Blessed Sacrament and make worthy confessions of your sins. Thus you are seeking the narrow way that leads to life everlasting.
Now is there any place for anger in this virtue? Yes, there is. Anger is justified when it seeks to bring a soul to God. It does not fall into an emotional tirade but remains calm in the midst of sin and corrects it with seriousness. Imagine the scene of the Lord cleansing the temple of the money changers who made His Father’s house a den of thieves. So precious is the soul; so significant is worship that we cannot allow anyone to encourage another in sinning. A just anger seeks to emphasize the order due to God. Let us put into practice the great love of our brothers by seeking to sanctify their souls through our good example. Speak up when you are in the midst of sin and condemn it for the sake of holiness. Consider the example of Charles Gare who is at the mercy of a society torn between state control over parental rights. It is wrong to sentence a babe to death because it will happen anyway. God has a say in this whole matter. Justice demands the rousing of temper to protect the right of parents over the needs of their children. We want justice and we want it now but there is no perfect justice in a world poisoned by original sin. Despite that we need to get angry over the lack of justice done to God and to our neighbors.
May God bless you,
Fr. Richard Voigt