30. Dec, 2014


"Justice is brighter than the Northern Star'. Thomas Aquinas' image of the potential firepower built into both the concept as well as the action of the Cardinal Virtue, that is Justice, is particularly relevant at the present time. We have experienced in England a sudden closure of a large company just before Christmas, with many workers left penniless, or with minimum compensation. Yet its owner is wealthy and only offers sweet words of regret. The Common Good entails a requirement on each of us, in every action, to ensure that we firstly have good intentions, which primarily means being a 'servant to others': then ensuring that our decisions focus on the consequences for the community. At this point our use of the Virtues comes into play: Justice (Are my actions such that my conscience does not reprimand me, however subtly? ): Temperance ( Are my thoughts and actions excessive ?): Fortitude (Do I have the courage to do the right thing?) : Prudence ( Wisdom, the holistic embrace of all the considerations involved in the decision).  Then, each of us, in our different ways, can fire the cannon !!  Aquinas emphasises that to do justice, we do need emotion and reason working in harmony.  Justice therefore, is essentially a spiritual virtue. The current problem with politics,finance, commerce, is one of a spiritual desert, where little light of reflection and care for the Common Good is alive. Love is the root of our actions, but if it is oriented towards ourselves , separating others, or without a  thought for what God might think, then we will err seriously.

'When equality exists, the work of justice is done. For that reason the goal of justice is equality, and the starting point of friendship' Aquinas highlights the necessity for a real care of others. This is exemplified also by a quote from the Jesuit, Teilhard de Chardin (1881- 1955) - 'Borne out of a cosmic stream, ours is a cosmic responsibility'.

Let us all hold firm to these images to strengthen us.

A HAPPY NEW YEAR..  Thank you. Tom Baxter