This is the second installment in a four-part series exploring the four Cardinal Virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. You can read more on what the Cardinal Virtues are, and learn how to practically implement the virtue of prudence here. Today, let’s take a look at the cardinal virtue of justice.
Justice, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (“CCC”) is twofold; it is a “constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor” (CCC1807). The CCC further states that justice towards God is called the “virtue of religion,” and justice towards our neighbor is willing the good of the other. Let’s take a look at five ways we can accomplish justice towards God and neighbor.
1. Go to Church.
There’s no greater justice towards our Heavenly Father than to worship Him in the Sacrifice of the Mass. St. Pio of Pietrelcina said that if we understood how God regards the Sacrifice of the Mass, we would give our everything to be present at a single Mass. Sunday Mass is obligatory (CCC2180), but why stop at Sunday? Daily masses are about 30 minutes long and most churches have at least one daily mass.
Prayer is the language of God. In 1 Kings 19:4, Elijah is so overwhelmed that he prays for the Lord to take his life, he says “I have had enough, Lord.” Elijah’s honesty and vulnerability, is what we should emulate every time we turn to God in prayer. The Lord knows your heart. His hand is already reaching towards you, and in prayer you lift your hand to take His.
3. Read the Bible, and refer to the CCC.
The CCC has a comprehensive answer (backed by Scripture and Tradition) to everything we believe in as Catholics. When I first read the Bible, I started with the New Testament, specifically the Gospels. There you’ll find the very words of our Lord Jesus.
4. Be honest.
In Proverbs 6:16-19, we are told that “there are six things the Lord hates [and] seven that are detestable to him,”, two of which are “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who pours out lies” that are antithetical to honesty.
5. Be fair.
The CCC cites St. Paul in Colossians 4:1 where he urges masters to treat their “slaves justly and fairly.” We live in times where we may dismiss this advice from St. Paul. After all, who do you know that’s either a slave or master? Yet when we look at the relationship between a “master” and “slave” we realize that this is still applicable to us today. This is a relationship between employer and employee or patron and server. The point here is that whether you are a business owner or are ordering a meal from your local restaurant, treat those that work for you, directly or indirectly, fairly. Pay your employees a fair wage, tip generously and act kindly remembering, as St. Paul reminds us in the same verse from Colossians, that you have one Master in heaven.
Come Holy Spirit, make us just in all our actions towards God and man.
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