Piety Is Generous

Father Guibert writes: “This feeling of loving-kindness, this intimacy of a God who is like ourselves, transforms our religious impulse. We go to God, not urged by fear, but won by love; we are less at His feet than in His arms. And hence it is piety that springs up in our hearts.”

“The impulse of love is generous by nature. . . . When it is love that brings us to God, we come to Him with all that we have and are: our possessions, our powers, our time, our life, our mind and our heart. We put all in His hands. And, as He makes us feel that His arms are only open to receive souls that are worthy of Him, and who spend themselves in His service, our love lays upon us the high obligation of working at our own improvement, and on expending in an apostolic manner the gifts that we possess for service.”

Piety “imprints upon the religious impulse of our souls the twofold seal of love and generosity that characterize it. In the heart in which it has its birth, it is a feeling of filial affection towards God and an earnest desire for union with Him. It carries us along the path that leads to God, full of cheerfulness and zeal, in the direction of the object of our love. It does not expect that meeting with God will bring it the slumber of an idle repose, but a fresh activity for more fruitful work. Piety, then, is a form of religion, but it is also its highest, most intimate and active form. To religious adoration it joins love.”

“Religion suffices for salvation assuredly, because it gives the grace that is needed for the goodness that is indispensable. Piety is the best of Divine treasures; it is the portion of souls touched by the shaft of the love of God, and it uplifts souls to the higher regions of moral life.”

“But we must take care not to mistake some of the externals of piety for piety itself. The exercises of it are only, as it were, its outer bark — a necessary covering, no doubt, but only required to keep in the sap which circulates within the pith. However unbroken the integument may be, there is no real piety if real, intense love is absent from the heart, and if faithful and active service is wanting in the hands.”

Quotations from Jean Guibert, On Piety (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1911).

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