The Piety of Saints

Father Guibert states: “The Saints, who are the true heirs of the ancient fervour, are also the readiest for joy: happy in conscience, whatever their external trials may be, they have the power to create peace and the feeling of happiness in others.”

“And the race of such souls is not extinct. It lives still in our midst amongst those Christians who are entirely subject to the sway of piety. . . . They are neither harsh, nor sad, nor morose, but engaging and kindly. In the limpid clearness of their looks, in the calm repose of their features, you have a pure expression of their interior peace. The deep joy that shines through their words and on their faces is the fruit of their living piety.”

“Piety, in fact, has both brought peace and stirred up life in their souls. It has shed the light of faith on the problems that usually fill men with anxiety, and their minds rest in the calm possession of truth. It has kept their hearts from those swervings that trouble one’s existence for ever, and if it has entered into a heart that has strayed, it has brought it back from far-off exile and purified it from defilement and degradation. It has given these hearts such high and certain hopes that they are strong enough to bear disillusionment and separation—not, indeed, without suffering, but without flinching. It cures souls wounded with grief, or which have been deeply rent. It has the gift of turning the bitterest cup into sweetness. It is, above all, an invaluable tonic for the will, and, by means of it, the will triumphs over the temptations of the evil one, and over despondency. By it, too, the conscience keeps or recovers its peace, because, by its means, conscience avoids moral falls or raises itself from them.”

“The soul that lives by piety, as may be seen by observation, is full of activity, enterprising, intrepid and influential, and all the more energetic outwardly, the more it is at liberty within. Its strength, like its peace, come from the fact that piety imparts to it a keen and profound sense of the presence of God. What joy is found in the feeling of the possession of God, which fills the soul with an anticipation of heaven! What strength there is in the conviction that God is there in all His power and loving-kindness, that He will overcome all temptations, that He will wipe away all tears, that He will make good all losses, and that He Himself will be the spring of all our actions! What eagerness there will be to abandon oneself to His influence, and to make oneself the free and conscious instrument of His grace!”

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

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