Revenge

Fasting in it’s true sense is to forgo a good in order to strengthen your body and spirit toward a greater good.

 

This Friday I ask that we use our fast to help us overcome an attitude of revenge.  

This morning as I was driving in my car, I heard the news of a gunman in Minnesota.  From the reports the gunman may have worked for the company that he entered and shot people at.  I don’t want to speculate or to try to get into details that don’t exist on the case right now, however, I want to address the comment of one of the newscasters.  “Well, thankfully he shot himself, so that is good, we won’t have to pay to have him rotting in jail.”  This is a prevailing attitude among many of us.  This idea that we need to seek beyond justice and really into revenge.  He killed others and so it is great that he is dead.  In America this has truly been a prevailing attitude since 9/11.  We went so far as to “preemptively” strike those who might harm us.  Get that we are getting revenge before they actually harm us.  This is not justice.  

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states of justice: “Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor” (CCC 1807).  What is due to our neighbor is the respect of their dignity before God.  Even though they may sin, they do not loose the dignity they were created with.  they may have tarnished their souls, and may be separated from God, however what we owe them is to respect their dignity.  This does not mean that there is not discipline for their action.  Any, punishment should be disciplinary in nature.  That is discipline in the classical sense, coming from the Latin word disclipina meaning teaching or learning.  When we discipline our own kids we use corrective action so they learn from their actions, do not want to do it again and try to do better in the future.  In what way does death create this atmosphere.  Death creates fear and despair, or resentment and determination to stay firm to the sin.

In order to truly be just, we must desire that each person realize their dignity before God and that they be right with God and with neighbor.  First, and foremost we must seek justice within our own realm.  We need to deal justly with those we have contact with.  We must then seek justice and how we think about situations we see in the news or hear of how others are dealt with.  Finally, we must pray for and promote justice in our laws and in our land.  Today as you hunger for whatever you are fasting from this Friday, pray for an increase of the virtue of justice in your life.

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