The Thirst for Justice
1. Jesus commands us in the Beatitudes to seek justice, that is, perfection in the fulfilment of our obligations to God, to ourselves, and to our neighbour. He commands us, moreover, to hunger and thirst for this justice, which is identical with holiness.
When Christ tells us to hunger and thirst for justice, He imposes on us the obligation of doing our very best to acquire the virtue of Christian justice which is the synthesis of all the virtues. We must beware, therefore, of laziness, apathy, tepidity, or mediocrity, for our advance in spiritual perfection must be continuous. There must be no hesitation or backsliding. The high target which God has set for us demands hard work and boundless generosity on our part. Jesus Christ loved us so much that He gave Himself entirely for us and shed His Precious Blood to the last drop for our redemption. How can we possibly be niggardly or half-hearted in our relations with Him?
Whenever God's cause is at stake, whether in our efforts to achieve our own spiritual perfection or in the fulfilment of our obligations towards our neighbour, we should never refuse anything, but should display absolute dedication to God and to our fellow-man. "Let us hunger," said St. Catherine of Siena, "for God's honour and for the salvation of souls." (Brev. di perfezione, p.81) The hunger and thirst for justice, nourished by the love of God and of our neighbour, should exclude all mediocrity and selfishness from our lives. It should urge us on, as it did the Saints, towards the highest pinnacles of sanctity.
2. Many people, unfortunately, hunger and thirst for wealth, for pleasure, and for honour. In practice, if not in theory, they forget all about their personal sanctification and the welfare of their neighbour. They pray, certainly, and they go to church, give alms, and carry out the duties of their station in life conscientiously from morning until night. They may even engage in many external works of charity on their neighbour's behalf. But what is their dominant thought and their principal ambition? To keep up appearances, to be praised and esteemed, to be successful in their career… This, however, is not justice or Christian perfection, but corresponds to the attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees, who did not seek the kingdom of Heaven, but their own interests. (Cf.Mt. 5:46-47) Of these it is written that “they have received their reward.” (Mt. 6:2) They have not sought God, but themselves. Therefore they can never have God or His everlasting happiness as their reward. They must be content with the insignificant and passing glory of this world. Indeed, on many occasions they will be unable to gain even this much and will find that they have laboured in vain.
The envious man will even find cause for personal sorrow and unhappiness in the welfare and in the success of others. He would have nobody wealthy, respected, or happy in the world but himself. Even when the zealous man is working for a good cause, he is not concerned with it, but only with himself. He identifies his own ego with the cause for which he is fighting.
3. Let us think deeply about our own secret ambitions. Let us examine our thoughts, affections, desires, and actions in order to make sure that their primary object is the glory of God and the triumph of His reign in the universe. If we find blemishes, distortions, or tepidity, we must revive and purify our love of God.