Piety Fortifies Faith

Father Guibert elaborates upon the vital role of piety. He writes: “It is, properly speaking, in the region of things supernatural that piety enlightens the mind. Beyond the vast field of Nature, the phenomena and laws of which have been given over to the patient investigation of man, opens out the profound domain of mysteries. Left to itself, the mind of man cannot enter into it; but faith takes him by the hand and introduces him thereto. It says to him: ‘See thy God who has created thee; He fills the universe with His presence, while, at the same time, He is in the depths of thy heart. Thy reason perceived the unity of His nature; now contemplate the Trinity of His Persons. He has created thee in His own image, and thy soul bears His imprint. Thou comest from Him, and thou returnest to Him. Therein know thy destiny, and learn the meaning of thy life. This present life is thy wealth; take care not to lose any part of this gift. Every moment of it is precious, since it enables thee to act rightly and to purchase the life that has no end. Thou wast fallen, it is true; but God took pity on thee, and stretched out His hand to thee in giving thee His Son; by Jesus Christ He has saved thee from slavery; He is saving thee from ignorance and vice, and He will save thee from death eternal. In the present, and in the hereafter, He is thy life.'”

“These beautiful and consoling prospects, which are revealed by faith alone, exactly reply to all the questions that torment the hearts of men. Science satisfies our superficial curiosity, but the serious anxieties of the spirit are only dissipated by faith. What am I? Whence come I? Whither am I going? These are the things that interest men of all climates and centuries; once enlightened on these points, they are at peace about the rest. Faith gives us firm, definite, and clear replies. Apart from faith, the mind of man is ever in hesitation and liable to error, like a person walking in the dark.”

“If faith is a gift so precious that the Apostle was able to say, ‘The just man liveth by faith’ (Gal 3:11), the vitality of a man’s faith will be the measure of his life; the more you believe, the more you will live. And here it is that piety comes in, for it contributes vitality and activity to the whole-hearted faith that accepts all the articles of the Creed. While faith continues slumbering, although entire, in many Christians, it is wide awake and ardent in those who are given to piety.”

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

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