Last week I talked about how envy can take over our lives and control us with a sadness for what we do not have. To fight envy, God gives us the virtue of Justice to strive towards instead.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, justice is the “constant and firm will to give their due to God and heaven. It disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relations the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good.” (1807). So what does that mean?
When we give what is due to God, we are giving him are thanks for everything we have. Nothing we have has come to us because of our own works. Every gift we have received was a gift given to us by God. We are called to not only thank God everyday for these gifts but also to show our appreciation by using these gifts for God’s purposes.
The second part talks about respecting the rights of others. This means understanding that sometimes, other people do deserve something we don’t because they worked for it while we didn’t. An example of this is the story I shared last week (Green with Envy). I was jealous of people I knew who seemed to have more friends than me. I didn’t realize that the reason they had more friends or were closer with certain people was because they hung out with those people. They had worked on establishing and maintaining friendships with these people while I had sat on the sidelines thinking I would make friends just by sitting there.
I realized that this isn’t how life works. God gave me amazing talents, including being able to easily relate to other people. I was wasting this talent by not using it. I then practiced the virtue of justice and went out and made my own friends. It was a hard realization to come to but one that has changed my life.
I often get envy of pretty much anything but I try to remember to practice justice and realize that maybe they have something I don’t because I’m not supposed to have it. I then look at my own life and work to get the things I want and need.