THE GIFT OF PIETY.
Consideration and prayer.
WHAT IS PIETY?
What is piety? “The word piety may first bring to mind the piety of a person who prays much and devoutly. Unlike the ancient Romans, we do not immediately think of piety (pietas) as being devotedness to one’s country.
The gift of Piety here means a supernatural disposition of the soul, which inclines it, under the action of the Divine Spirit, to behave in its relations with God, as a most loving child acts towards its father and mother who, the child knows, love it intensely.
The principal object of Piety, therefore, is God himself, not so much as he is the Sovereign Lord of all things, but as being an infinitely loving Father and infinitely worthy of our love. “Just as the virtue of Piety (on the human family level) has for its first object the father, in the order of nature, so does the gift of Piety refer to God, as being the Father” (S.T. 1-2,2. 121; a. 1, ad 1).
A person who is animated by the spirit of Piety can no longer have a fear of God, by which is meant here the way one fears a judge or a master. No doubt such a person continues to have a certain filial fear, which we shall examine later on, but servile fear is wholly excluded. In the latter, there is a dread of a severe master.
The attitude of such a “pious” person towards God is truly that of a child towards its parents who, it realizes, love their child. No trace of servile fear remains. Love takes its place.
The secondary object of the gift of Piety is everything which has relationship with God. First of all, there are the saints and holy things. A person, under the influence of the gift of Piety, has for such persons and things very great respect and profound veneration. Just as a child, unless spoiled by bad example, naturally is inclined to venerate and love everything that is revered and loved by father and mother, he who is animated by the spirit of Piety spontaneously and in a filial way clings to everything which he knows to be dear to the heart of his heavenly Father.” (A. Riaud, The Holy Spirit Acting in our Souls).
This filial disposition of the gift of piety is seen in our readiness to ask again and again like needy children until we are granted what we want. In prayer, our will is identified with the Will of our Father, who always wants the best for his children. This trust in prayer makes us feel secure, unwavering, daring; it dissipates anxiety and the unease that comes from depending solely on our own strength, and helps us to be serene in the face of difficulties.
The Christian who is moved by the spirit of piety understands that our Father God wants the best for each of his children. He has everything arranged to our best advantage. That is why happiness consists in finding out what God wants for us in each moment of our lives and putting it into effect without delay. From this confidence in God’s fatherliness we get serenity, because we know that even what seems to be unmitigated evil can contribute to the good of those who love God (cf Rom 8:28). Our Lord will teach us one day the necessity for such and such a humiliation, this or that financial collapse, or sickness
This gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to carry out promptly and easily our obligations of justice and charity. It helps us to see, as children of God, the people whom we live with and meet every day, individuals who have an infinite value because He loves them with a limitless love and has redeemed them with the Blood of his Son shed on the Cross. The gift of piety moves us to have a great respect for our neighbours, to share their sufferings and try to help them. Moreover, the Holy Spirit makes us see Christ in our fellow men for whom we perform these services: Truly I say to you: as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me (Matt 25:40).
This gift of the Holy Spirit causes us to have a filial love for our heavenly Mother, for whom we have a most tender affection; and moves us to have great devotion to the angels and saints, particularly to those who have a special charge over us (cf St Thomas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, 121), as well as for the souls in Purgatory, beloved souls who have need of our suffrages. It makes us love the Pope, the common Father of all Christians … The virtue of piety, which is perfected by this gift, inclines us also to render honour and reverence to persons in positions of lawful authority — in the first place to our parents. SOURCE: ICWG, vol. 2, n. 91
“Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Son who never ceased to animate during their earthly pilgrimage, the Hearts of Jesus and his Blessed Mother with the purest love towards the Father, deign also to fill our hearts with the same tender and filial love.
Holy Spirit, through whom we have received the right to call God by the sweet name of Father and to be truly his children, help us in our endeavor to become ever less unworthy of having so good and merciful a Father. May we, after loving him with all our hearts in this world, through you, glorify him eternally in his only Son. (A. Riaud, The Holy Spirit Acting in Our Souls).”
SEE AS WELL
- THE GIFT OF WISDOM (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF COUNSEL (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF FORTITUDE (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF FEAR OF THE LORD (click HERE)
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