Presence of God – Teach me, O Lord, to love justice and to hate all that is opposed to it.


When with clever astuteness, the Pharisees asked Jesus if it were lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, He replied: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God, the things that are God’s” (Mt 22,21). By this simple reply, Jesus gave us clearly and precisely a description of the virtue of justice: to give to everyone what is his due. “Justice,” says St. Thomas, “is the perpetual, constant will to give to everyone what is due to him” (IIa IIae, q.58, a.1, co.). To God, we give the worship which is due Him as our Creator, Lord, and Father: adoration, honor, glory, gratitude, faithful observance of His laws, and humble, devout service. To our neighbor, we owe respect for his rights, taking into account our various obligations toward him, according to whether He is our superior, equal, or inferior.

Certainly, a soul striving for perfection, cannot be satisfied to remain within the limits of justice; charity will urge it to give and do more. However, justice is always the necessary foundation of charity, without which charity itself could not subsist. Charity toward God can and ought to incite us to do something more than what is strictly prescribed; but this more will not be pleasing to God if it causes us to neglect some duty of obligation. Thus a professional man cannot devote himself to apostolic works to the prejudice of his professional duties, nor can a religious undertake works of supererogation, if they prevent him from observing some point of his rule. In the same way, charity toward our neighbor can and should urge us to give alms, but this will not be pleasing to God if it is done with money which rightfully belongs to someone else, as for instance, money which should be used as wages for workmen, or for the paying of debts. A failure in justice—that is, in what is of obligation—cannot be considered an act of charity, either toward God or toward our neighbor. Only by starting from the solid, indispensable foundation of justice, will charity be able to mount to sure and lofty heights.



“O justice, thou art the precious pearl which makes the soul shine brightly; thou givest peace and light to creatures; thou keepest them in holy fear and dost unite their hearts. If thy light failest, we are immediately plunged into confusion and surrounded by the darkness of injustice” (St. Catherine of Siena).

O God, Thou alone can infuse true justice in me, for Thou alone art infinite Justice, “Thou who art just in all Thy ways and holy in all Thy works” (Ps 144,17).

“Thou art just, O Lord: and all Thy judgments are right. Justice and fidelity are in Thy testimonies. Thy justice is justice forever; Thy law is an eternal law. Give me understanding of Thy commandments, and I will live by them. Teach me to keep Thy law and to observe it with all my heart. Lead me by the paths of Thy laws, for they are my delight. Incline my heart to Thy precepts, and not to the love of money. Teach me to love justice and to hate iniquity, that I may enjoy Thy blessings for all eternity” (cf. Ps 118-44).



Note from Dan: These posts are provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contain one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.

Art:  Aquinat [St. Thomas Aquinas], Sandro Botticelli, PD-US; Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.

About Dan Burke

Dan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. Beyond his “contagious” love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN’s Journey Home program and numerous radio programs. If you have an interest in having Dan come speak at your parish or Catholic event or group, contact us at rcspiritualdirection@gmail.com or call 818-646-7729.

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction.

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