The word justice, by its very definition, states a fortitude of exact adherence to be impartial at times, while administering the law when no other means can be followed. The Catholic Catechism (CCC # 1807) simply states; “Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor”. “Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion”. “Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and the common good”.
Divine Justice, therefore, is that which relegates the mystery of respect to man in spite of man’s own consciousness as a blatant act of turning from God and following his own direction, ignoring the Divine and creating for himself a misconception of self-indulgence, removing himself away from God’s Love and eventual union with Him.
Of the many mysteries that surround our understanding of God, the very tenets of His Mercy, and the reasons why He would even consider overlooking our direct faults, this mystery can be classed as the prime example of how much God cared for us before time began.
Look back at the Paschal Mystery (excerpted from my reflection on the Paschal Mystery) and read where “God created a world and saw how man would quickly turn away from all God wanted to share with us”. “It is no mystery that God always wanted us to share the Beatific Vision for all eternity. Man would have to struggle because of sin and without Christ would never have the opportunity to realize that vision”.
This may be an answer to the Why of God’s intervening in man’s reckless behavior and seeking to change the direction man was about to plummet into, eternal death and lasting emptiness with no hope of ever sharing God’s Life and Love with us.
The Essence of this Mystery by far supersedes any logical reasoning a human mind can conceive. How could God create man knowing he would reject all that is meant for him and still turns away from the Creator, sets up for himself gods that please his fancy and pleasures that satisfy his very indulgence in self-gratification. Could this be the very Divine Person that is totally Just in His Realm, Just by the fact that justice must be served.
But now, how will Divine Justice be meted out and who will pay the debt that man has incurred upon himself? We now enter into the very depth of a payment that must be paid back, not in installments or maybe it’s too high of a debt that cannot be paid. But, who will become the payee and what is the final calculation of an irretrievable commitment?
Enter the mystery financier who astounds the debtors with a proposal that floors even the most astute portrayers of good judgement and planners of high-ranking thinkers. Man is too finite to repay God for anything he has done, and falls short of God’s countenance and genuine forbearance because of his lack of esteem and integrity. Then who, the question looms, could be and will actually step forward to pay this outstanding debt against the Almighty Lord of heaven and earth?
Can you imagine taking care of someone close to you, a good friend, your sibling, or even one of your children, and suddenly realize they owe you such a tremendous debt that there is no possible way they could even begin to think about paying you back. All the hours of care spent in taking them everywhere their safety and health depended on, or the large amounts of financial assistance you handed to them realizing after a long period of time they could never begin to repay. Finally, the day of reckoning comes and you let them know the expense incurred by you has now become a deficit and they will need some way to pay back what you have given, out of love, but still it is a debt that needs repaid.
Look at the face of that person who knows that it is an impossible task to even think about giving even a tiny amount back. Their situation is such that there is no possible way to begin repayment. Then look at their expression when you hand them a check showing the total amount they owe you, and you then take the check back and tell them the debt is now paid, in full. You end up paying the total debt back to yourself, with no sign that they will ever need to pay you.
Step forward God! He is the one who declared through the Old Testament via Prophets, Kings, and Patriarchs that He would redeem the world through a new king who would pay the ransom. Jesus took on humanity and through the Incarnation began a ministry that revealed His Father’s Mercy and Forgiveness and went to Calvary to ensure the payment was procured by the shedding of His Precious Blood. “It is Finished” (Jn. 19: 30) and the debt was paid.