“…Perhaps the first question that we might have from hearing these words from our divine teacher is whether, in a world such as ours, we dare to hope for a truly just society? For Aquinas, justice is twofold; perfect and imperfect. We cannot, Aquinas tells us, have perfect 1 justice in this world, for the structures of injustice are rooted in human sin, and as St John reminds us, ‘…if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’2
So are we doomed to simply thirst and hunger after freedom in a barren wilderness of an unjust world? The hard answer to this is, yes. True justice will, ultimately, elude us in this life, just as true peace and true freedom will too, for as the Apostle tells us, ‘our commonwealth is in heaven.’3 It might be tempting at this point to despair. After all, if we cannot build a just society why bother to try? If the poor will always be with us, why bother to try and clothe and feed them?
Part of the key here, surely, is the thirst and the hunger. It is not enough to simply do the works of justice, to perform acts of mercy and charity, unless you thirst and hunger for justice. We have to work with desire [Ed. need irrepressible]. Just as overcoming lust requires our purification through grace, and the conversion our mind, heart, and sight, so too our deeper conversion helps us to see as Christ Himself sees, and in doing so, our thirst and hunger for justice grows.
If we cannot build a truly just society because of human sinfulness, we can, by God’s grace, build an imperfectly just society. This will require a certain bravery on our part, an openness, and also, sometimes, action. Martin Luther King often spoke out against the reluctance of Christians to act against injustice; ‘I have seen religious leaders stand amid the social injustices that pervade our society, mouthing pious platitudes and sanctimonious trivialities. All too often the religious community has been the taillight instead of the headlight.’
These pious platitudes and sanctimonious trivialities are what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called cheap grace, a Christian life which is reduced to slogans and soundbites, and where grace ultimately does not take root in us. How then can we avoid pious platitudes and sanctimonious triviality? Only by listening to our Lord’s voice, for He not only reveals to us what the world is really like, but shows us also how to respond to these realities. We must speak boldly of God’s justice, and measure the reality of the world around us by His justice, and not by any human standard, for the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.4”
Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, "Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls." —St. Alphonsus Liguori, "God here speaks to souls through…good books“ – St Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, "You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila, "Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me." –St. Augustine, "Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls." —St. Alphonsus Liguori "Never read books you aren't sure about. . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?" -St. John Bosco " To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer." —St. Thomas Aquinas, OP. "Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading." –St. Isidore of Seville “The aid of spiritual books is for you a necessity.… You, who are in the midst of battle, must protect yourself with the buckler of holy thoughts drawn from good books.” -St. John Chrysostom