Piety Engenders Love of God

Father Guibert writes: “Piety does not leave the heart indifferent, since it is by touching the heart that it moves the will. But the heart is not only capable of being moved: it is, by nature, a power of loving. . . . To the need of love, created by His hands in the heart of man, He has further added the command to love. He has done still more, for, lest the human heart should go astray or lose itself in the void, He has Himself set before it the things to love: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. . . . Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ (Mk 12:30-31) Now, piety is the sovereign means of opening the heart to love God and our neighbour. There is no doubt that piety is doing its proper work in setting the heart towards God, and in carrying it to God under the impulse of love.” Piety “calls us constantly into the presence of God; it requires the eyes of our faith to be abidingly fixed upon His attributes; it leaves us face to face with Him, until we are led on from admiration to intimacy. In order to fix our attention upon Him more effectively, it shows Him to us living in flesh like ours, veiling His splendour enough for us to draw near, and yet allowing enough rays of beauty and goodness to come through to kindle love in our hearts.”

“In mental prayer, at Holy Mass, in Holy Communion, in the depths of our own heart, everywhere piety speaks to us of Jesus, and says: ‘He is there; He loves thee; He calls thee; He is waiting for thee.’ From the time of St. Paul to our own days, what a glow of love has not piety enkindled! What burning words have sprung from the hearts of saints, beginning with the humble confession of St. Peter, ‘Lord, thou knowest that I love Thee’ (Jn 21:17). . . . Whence did St. Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Theresa, St. Vincent de Paul, and so many others, get the feelings that filled their hearts and bosoms, and breathed forth in sighs so full of love, unless it were in exercises of piety, never weary of communion with God? Their piety moulded their hearts to the love of God and of Christ Jesus.”

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

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Sayings of Catholic saints and sages: spiritual food for meditation and reflection.
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