Growing in Justice

The word justice comes from a Latin word (jus) meaning “right.”

“A just man is one who habitually wills such a relation of equality, always, constantly, consistently, wherever and whenever there is a debt or something owing.” –Doug McManaman

What is justice?

“Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor.” –CCC 1807

Living with justice

“Justice toward God is called the ‘virtue of religion.’ Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor” (CCC 1807).

Justice also concerns judgment. At the end of time, God’s perfect justice will be revealed so that all will be made “right” or just.

Three ideas to help you increase in justice

  1. Increase your worship. Think of prayerful worship as one way to give God His due. Consider attending daily Mass if you don’t already, or trying go more often if you do.
  2. Volunteer in the pro-life movement. Justice toward the most innocent of our neighbors—the unborn—is being fatally infringed upon in our culture today. Abortion also leaves the parents hurting and in need of mercy, grace, and healing. Helping work for the pro-life cause by volunteering for a prayer event, for example, or helping out at a women’s help center, can positively govern our relationships with our neighbors, which is what justice is all about.
  3. Be honest on your taxes. It may sound silly, but as Fr. William Saunders writes, “General justice concerns the individual’s relationship to the whole community. Every person has the duty to uphold and obey the just laws that ensure the common good. For instance, every citizen has a duty to support the common good through the defense of the country or through the payment of taxes (too bad, but true).”

What do the experts say?

“Even if we are praised for it, not all we do is right. Justice is present. Our deeds will be judged. We can avail ourselves of punishment, forgiveness, and charity. If we do not, and we need not, what is left is transcendent judgment in justice.” –Fr. James Schall

“You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” –Lev 19:15

“When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers.” –Proverbs 21:15