How do you know if a person is just? Justice resides in the will of every person, yet a truly just person is distinguished by right reason and upright conduct. Exercising, or practicing Justice through means of morally appropriate activity, results in the shaping of the social order. For example, an individual who volunteers his time in the Peace Corps, is giving both God and man their due by working to meet the needs of others in a morally upright manner, using right reason. He assists in the shaping of the social order by working to improve the living status of those whom he assists, whether it is through educating the illiterate, feeding the poor, building necessary infrastructure, etc. He lives for a more noble cause than self sufficiency. He operates not only for himself, but for the common good. His efforts are just.
God has given us an ability to ascertain right from wrong, by giving each of us a conscience. With that ability, He commands us to “follow faithfully what we know to be just and right.” 1 In alignment with the two greatest Commandments, we are expected to give God His due by loving God with our whole heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbor as our self (Matt 22:37-39). This is Justice as defined by God. Therefore, the virtue of Justice is important because all of man’s virtuous actions are to be aligned with these two greatest Commandments. As we seek justice for ourselves and for our neighbor, it is important to consider the need for making amends, restoring reputations and providing recompense when necessary.
How many different forms of Justice exist? We’ll discuss the answer to that question in our next three reflections on the virtue of Justice. Don’t miss it!
1 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd. Ed. paragraph 1778, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997. Print.