Justice and Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

–John 13:34-35.

Sometimes, it is important to get back to first principles. For all people, Christ’s “new command” is the fundamental principle of our existence. We are called to love “as I have loved you.” In other words, we are called to a Divine love.

What we know of Divine love is daunting. We know that His love proceeds from an “infinitely intense life: a life of infinite truth comprehended and infinite goodness wholly embraced.” Confraternity of the Precious Blood,My Way of Life, p. 29. This love is “roaring flame warming all of the halls of eternity.” Id. This love continues even when spurned:

Love cannot be forced, nor will it use violence; in His image, He made us free and His love refuses to take back any of that original gift, refuses to violate our freedom. If we love Him, we do so freely, for love is a gift or it is nothing.

Id. at 30. That love also compels us to return His love with our love. “It would be a poor kind of love that made us in His image and left us nothing to do ourselves; it is a divine love that sets out a man’s work for a man’s life and stands by a man’s own decisions.” Again, this is how Christ loves us and the measure of whether we love “as I have loved you.”

Justice is love’s minimum demand. As My Way of Life summarizes:

An unjust lover is as impossible as a vicious saint. How can we lay claim to the name of love if we will not give this dear one what is his due? Love’s fortifications tumble in ruins when injustice breaches any part of them. While it is true that justice may endure for some time without love, not a single stone of love’s mansion can be raised without the solid rock of justice as its foundation. The soft sand of sentimentality or of passion can shift in a moment to an unfairness that totally undermines love’s whole-hearted dedication to the happiness of another. It is not a reflection on God’s eager love of men but rather a defense of it to insist that “God is just and loves justice.”

If justice is love’s minimum demand and its solid foundation, we should see it in terms of som of love’s allure, a precious thing calling forth our heart’s loyalty and a strong refuge against the threats levelled against love. . . Love and justice are not implacable enemies but inseparable friends.

If we love one another as God has loved us, seeking justice is not optional. Calling it “economic” or anything else does not change the command — “love one another as I have loved you.” Seeking justice through love is essential: by seeking justice, we expand our hearts more and more to the divine life that is the infinitely fervent love that we seek. By seeking justice, we also expand our ability to understand the bits of divine life that God’s gives to us as guidance.

The Bishop’s statement of principles provides that guidance. But, sadly, the terms and the way of thinking have been taken over by secular ideologies that seek to build a perfect world cut-off from God and therefore from the source of life. Many of these secular ideologies either through sentimentality or, worse, through a will to power, betray justice because they reject God will and its only command – to return His love with our love.

As forcefully stated in the comments to the Bishop’s statement, there is only one justice. And there is only one justice because there is only one love.