The Cardinal Virtues // Justice

Father, you have given all peoples one common origin. It is your will that they be gathered together as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love and with the desire to ensure justice for all. By sharing the good things you give us, may we secure an equality for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. May there be an end to division, strife and war. May there be a dawning of a truly human society
built on love and peace. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord Amen

I said to myself, "God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man," for a time for every matter and for every deed is there.” Ecclesiastes 3:17

Have you ever felt like people never get what they deserve or heard people justify their actions by saying “Only God can judge”? The fact that God will eventually judge our actions is something that should actually put the fear of God in our hearts, not act as an excuse for leading scandalous lives. It never seems like justice can ever be served properly in the real world, only in movies and TV shows. 

How exactly can we give each person what they are due? It starts by treating everyone fairly. This includes what Jesus said about loving our enemies. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey recounts how he chose to act nice towards a coworker who was always rude to him. Over a few months, the coworker stopped acting rude and started treating Sean with respect. Eventually, the two of them became friends.

Even when other people are bragging about things that we consider to be wrong, we cannot yell or condemn them. If they are close friends or family, we have room to admonish, but we have to do so tactfully. When we yell or condemn at others, our words just become noise and the opportunity to help will just close up. Instead, we need to wait and listen and lead by example in the meantime. Pray for those who don’t know that they’re doing wrong, no matter how long it takes for that person to change. Just ask Saint Monica about waiting and hoping for an errant child to come back home.

When we practice the virtue of justice, we treat everyone fairly instead of taking vengeance or reacting like animals. We may not realize it, but by loving our enemies and doing good to those we don’t like, we are actually rendering to everyone what they are due. In the end, everyone deserves to receive mercy, but mercy can be delivered through an act of kindness as well as a gentle, tactful criticism. Justice helps us decide how we need to act towards others.

To Jesus through Mary-Monique Ocampo