More from The Mountain of Silence, by Kyriacos C. Markides
(Fr. Maximos): I remember in high school reading an argument in a religious textbook that stated that logic leads us to the conclusion that there must be a God so that justice may be dispensed. It saw God as some kind of supreme justice. Given that there are so many injustices in the world, sooner or later they must be dealt with by God, who will punish those who commit injustices.
This just goes to show...the kind of ethos that is being cultivated and how far removed it is from the spirit of God. Do you know what an old saint once said? "Never call God just because God is not just," according to human measures of justice, that is. The saint reasoned: "How could God be just when He requests of us that when someone comes to grab our possessions, we do nothing but let him take them? And if he asks of us to go one mile with him, we go two? And if he gives us a slap on one cheek we turn the other also? Is this justice?" He died for the sake of those who hated Him, who spat and kicked Him, for the sake of the entire World. When Christ was in human form and was about to die, he did not pray for his apostles but for those who were crucifying Him. He did not tell the disciples, "Just you wait and you shall see what I'll do to them once I get resurrected!" We have so many examples of martyrs and saints who demonstrated this form of Christian love. When the young martyr Stephanos was being stoned to death, he prayed for his assailants. He knelt down while his last words were, "Please, Lord, do not hold this sin upon them"' ...the justice of God is not the justice that we entertain in our minds. It is important for people to realize this so that they may not lose faith and become cynical when they are confronted with difficulties.
(Markides): There is so much injustice around us...so much disease, so much death and destruction, so many tragedies of all sorts. Good people suffer, even saintly people, and then the question naturally comes to mind, "Where is God? Where is His justice?"
(Fr. Maximos): God's justice...works in mysterious ways, beyond the reach of our intellects. Real justice...is for God to help us through His Grace to rectify that which truly wronged us. And what is that? Our estrangement from our Divine nature. Real justice means the attainment of Theosis, the reunification with God who created us in His own image. We are endowed with the potential of becoming gods through Grace. Our ultimate goal is reunion with our Maker, our real homeland and final destination. It is exactly at the core of our being, ontologically speaking, that we have been wronged through the Fall.
(Markides): If I understand you well...that means justice ultimately implies our reentrance into Paradise, the return of the Prodigal Son to the palace.
(Fr. Maximos): Precisely.