Piety Enlightens the Mind

Father Guibert writes: “The mind itself, a citadel impregnable against any power of man, participates in turn in the benefits of piety; for, through piety, it is thrown open to God, who floods it with His light.” Piety is “a valuable aid to intellectual cultivation, both by the recollection which it prescribes, and by the supernatural light which it sheds upon the soul.”

“Piety does, indeed, encourage habits of recollection; it recalls the soul from the things that distract it, and forces it to turn its attention within. Now, there is nothing so hurtful to intellectual work as the scattering of one’s faculties; nor is there anything more favourable to study than the capacity for living within oneself. For it is not enough to see everything, nor to read everything, in order to know everything. What is of importance is to understand, and to ponder in one’s soul what is said by books and men. Piety, by creating in the mind conditions which are favourable to meditation, co-operates in developing it.”

“It gives further help by the supernatural illumination which it throws upon the objects of human knowledge. How many truths of the highest order, which reason alone would only discern in a dim twilight, are clearly outlined by faith, which is sustained by piety. Amongst these truths are the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, the two which are of the greatest interest for us to know.”

“To use the language of St. Paul, the heart has eyes which are able to penetrate the mysteries of God and of Christ, as well as those of our destiny (Eph 1:18-19). Jesus Himself tells us that the heart can see, but only on condition that it is pure: ‘Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God’ (Matt 5:8). And therefore Pascal was right when he wrote: ‘The heart has reasons that the reason cannot apprehend: we know it in innumerable ways. . . . It is the heart that perceives God, and not reason. This is what faith is: God known by the heart, and not by reason.'”

“By faith the eyes are opened to supernatural truths; by piety the look becomes keen and piercing, and is filled with illuminating splendours.”

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

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