Friday, March 18, 2011

There is an unbreakable bond between piety, devotion and spirituality on the one hand, and the love of justice and charity on the other.

To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of sin”. (Saint Thomas Aquinas)

A point must be made about the love of justice in a believer on the way towards spiritual illumination. One of the infused moral virtues, justice is often overlooked by the devout. Spiritually oriented people often suffer a bit of injustice because of the envy of others. Since they themselves try to be fair and giving, they lose sight of the fact that we live in a wicked world. Frequently, they cannot cope with injustice so they do not see it; when they do see it, they remain silent. A tendency to silence is hardly an expression of the infused virtue of justice.

We have a sad example of this in the two members of the Sanhedrin, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who had the courage to ask for Christ’s body but not to defend him against an unjust sentence. We must not condemn them; they would have accomplished little or nothing by protest. We must, however, find a warning to ourselves in their actions, since they had to live with their silence for the rest of their lives.

Sometimes silence is the best, or only, course, but sometimes it is not. A person interested in spiritual growth must overcome the tendency to remain aloof from things of material concern. He or she should nourish a constant, dedicated interest in those who suffer from injustice. The more one can directly associate with the victims of injustice, share their lot, plead their cause, and defend them, the more one will grow spiritually.

One of the revelations of the way of spiritual illumination is one’s own absolute poverty and dependence on God. A quiet, loving, respectful sharing of the lot of the poor and identification with them will bring that message home to us and at the same time control the tidal wave of sorrow that begins to well up in our being as the illuminative way draws to a close. The joy of God has a sharp counterpoint: the tragedy that we do not love Him. The realization that God is the greatest victim of injustice, that “Love is not loved,” begins to grow in the soul. We must, therefore, recognize the oppressed, the poor, the defrauded and trapped as our only hope of finding God in this world.

(From Benedict Groeschel, "Spiritual Passages")

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)