Where justice is found

In The City of God (XIX, 23), Augustine explained where to find justice:

Justice is found where God, the one supreme God, rules an obedient City according to his grace, forbidding sacrifice to any being save himself alone; and where in consequence the soul rules the body in all people who belong to this City and obey God, and the reason faithfully rules the vices in a lawful system of subordination; so that just as the individual righteous person lives on the basis of faith which is active in love, so the association of righteous people lives on the same basis of faith, active in love, the love of with which a person loves God as God ought to be loved, and loves their neighbor as himself.

A few things to note. Justice is undermined and ultimately rendered impossible where:

  • We worship/sacrifice to other gods (typical gods for us are: money, power, fame, pleasure, self)
  •  The souls of people are not ruling over their bodies

Justice is present when we:

  • Order our lives first around an active, personal relationship with the Divine, trusting in Grace, acting in Love in all things
  • Order our lives second around active, personal relationships with everyone around us, trusting in Grace for each other, acting in Love towards all in all things
  • An active, lived understanding that these two orderings are interrelated and inseparable

Reflect on the ideal Augustine describes versus the reality we see, and even the way average Amercian Christians have ordered their lives and the implicit ideal that implies, and I think you’ll see how far from Justice we are right now. May we find our way back.