On Justice

I will thank the LORD in accordance with his justice;

I will sing the name of the LORD Most High. -Psalm 7: 18

 

What is justice? St. Augustine of Hippo defines it thus: “justice is love serving only the loved object, and therefore ruling rightly” which is helpful in considering the above excerpt from the 7th Psalm.

Singing (praising) the name of the Lord most high would be a right and proper thing to do when we realize that the Lord is capable of perfect justice. Love (God) serving the loved object (us), allows Him to “rule rightly.” It’s a beautiful balance of what is right and what is deserved.

Now none of us deserve God’s love. And yet He extravagantly pours love upon us. What is the ‘right’ course of action for the sinner? Probably we would say punishment for sins. Because sinning against God is hurting ourselves, God, and others who make up the Body. But what does God do? He sends us His Son who will suffer and die (be punished) for our sins. So the consequences of our sinful actions do have a proper reaction in punishment. But Jesus took our sin on Himself and so the punishment is on Him. Jesus is then “crushed for our iniquities,” to quote the words in the 53rd chapter of the book of Isaiah.

Justice is found in the Passion and Death of our Lord. But then Resurrection comes so that we all might have everlasting life. And that resurrection to everlasting life that we may experience occurs because Love (God in the form of Jesus Christ) serves only the loved object. That’s God’s mercy, by the way. Ruling rightly is the only thing God can really do. He is all good, all powerful, all knowing. He can only ‘rule rightly,’ yes?

And so we should never take the sacrifice of Jesus lightly and, once we are aware of what the God-man does for us, we should only rejoice, give thanks, and live a life worthy of His sacrifice. It’s funny, but I have often said that we should live our lives worthy of the sacrifices of the thousands of Soldiers who’ve died on battlefields far away from their loved ones but for them and so many others they never knew. If I want us to live our lives worthy of another man or woman’s sacrifice, imagine how much great that desire is when God makes the ultimate Sacrifice for the salvation of our very souls.

That’s a reason not to sin or to certainly strive with God’s help not to. But it cannot end there for us. We need to act out of love for the good of others’ physical and spiritual well-being and, wonderfully, with the love of God, our perfect, Triune God, inside of us, we are able to act and we find we want to act. We yearn to be God’s hands, feet, God’s voice. It’s justice personified, using St. Augustine’s definition above. We serve the beloved in our brothers and sisters out of our love of God and of them so justice is “rightly served.” And then we give thanks for all of it, and we praise God’s name because of the amazing love which we cannot fathom that God has for us and that remains within us. The more we give it away, the more we have to give because God’s love is limitless!

May we always “sing the name of the Lord Most High!”

 

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