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Monday, August 20, 2001

Just and Loving Christians
Took a little rest away from this spot for a while. Needed some thinking and to clear some mush in my head.

So, after consolidating whatever that needs to be consolidated, here are some conclusions (thanks to an inspiring letter of Archbishop Daniel E Pilarczyk):
a. A Christian knows that the worth of his life lies not in success or wealth but in his relationship with the Lord Jesus, a relationship that was conferred on him in baptism and that he is called to develop and deepen throughout the course of his whole life. His relationship with the Lord Jesus must be expressed in his relationship with the people around him. It's not a private thing between him and the Lord.

b. A Christian is an honest man, a man of his word. He doesn't promise more than he knows he can deliver, and when he makes a commitment he keeps it. You never have to worry about whether he means what he says.

c. A Christian is a person who is careful about money. It's not that he is tightfisted but rather that he looks ahead and never allows his obligations to outrun his resources.

d. A Christian expects other people to treat him fairly. Yet he is not the type of person who will move heaven and earth to resolve some petty dispute. He realises that there has to be a sense of proportion in the pursuit of justice and that sometimes relinquishing the fine details of one's rights can be a form of charity. He also works hard because he knows that his work makes a contribution to the development of the world and to the well-being of others in the society in which he lives.

e. A Christian is aware that he bears a measure of responsibility for what goes on in the world around him. For that reason, he makes it a point to inform himself of current social issues. He tries to understand what the various political and social leaders are proposing about these matters and judges the proposals according to his own awareness of human rights and of practical possibilities. If nothing else, somebody has to keep asking the questions. Somebody has to keep saying that there is still more to be done. He wouldn't dream of letting an election go by without voting. He looks on his right to vote as a responsibility more than as a privilege.

f. A Christian does not look on himself as some sort of specialist in justice. There are lots of other things in his life that occupy his interest. Yet he consciously strives to see that everybody has what is coming to them and that things become what they should be. He looks on this as part of his responsibility as a human person. It's an important aspect of being what God made him to be. For a Christian, justice is a matter of consistency.

"Justice is not so much an obligation as a gift. It is a multifaceted opportunity to take part in God's loving care for the world, to assist God in making the world everything it was meant to be, to participate in the development of the deepest aspects of the humanity we share. When justice does not flourish, our human life together becomes impossible. Where there is real justice, our earthly existence is at its best...in the book of the prophet Micah (6:8), God tells us that what is expected of us is to act justly and love tenderly. In Matthew's gospel (1:19), when the evangelist wants to describe the loving and upright spouse of Mary, he says simply that Joseph was a just man. And in Isaiah (42:3), the servant whom God loves above all others responds to God's love by bringing forth justice. Just Christians are just because they are loving."
Bringing Forth Justice, Basics For Just Christian by Archbishop Daniel E Pilarczyk, the archbishop of Cincinnati and the former president of the United States Catholic Conference.

thanks also to Peter C for highlighting this...

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