The Gift of Piety
Presence of God – O Holy Spirit, Spirit of piety, give to my heart the spirit of filial love.
By means of the gift of piety, the Holy Spirit gives a new touch to our spiritual life, a touch of delicacy and sweetness which perfects and simplifies our relations with God and our neighbor. Basically these relations are regulated by justice, the virtue which inclines us to fulfill every duty and to give to each one his due. But if we were guided in our lives by justice alone, our path would be very arid, and fidelity, difficult. When, however, a sense of filial piety toward our heavenly Father is developed in us by the action of the Holy Spirit—a sense which, in practice, is expressed in ardent desires to please Him in all things—then we pass beyond the limits of justice—always a little rigid—and devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the service of God. Incited by that profound cry of “Father!” (Galatians 4:6) which the Holy Spirit repeats within us, we rise toward heaven, longing to win God’s heart and to behave in all things as His true children; then the most difficult, laborious tasks become easy and sweet. This is how the gift of piety helps the virtue of justice as well as the virtue of religion. By this gift, “the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God” (Romans 8:16); and this truth becomes a living, personal experience, capable of elevating us to God with entirely new filial ardor, ardor which will make our prayer easier, transforming it into an intimate heart-to-heart talk with our heavenly Father.
Therefore, if we aspire to live in close union with God, it is right for us to desire and pray for this gift. Under its influence our prayer will become more affectionate, more filial, and we shall attend with greater facility to all that concerns divine worship. Let us ask for this gift, especially when we seem to be very dry and cold, so that in times of trial and interior suffering by its help we shall go to God as a child to its Father. Furthermore, our diligent, constant application to prayer, notwithstanding the lack of sensible devotion, is one of the best dispositions for bringing upon us the life-giving breath of the gift of piety.
“O Holy Spirit, guide my soul, because all who are led by the Spirit of God, are truly the sons of God. You teach me that I have not received the spirit of bondage to live in fear, but the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby I can cry to God: ‘Abba, Father!’ You Yourself give testimony to my spirit that I am a child of God and a joint-heir with Christ: because, if we suffer with Him, we shall also be glorified with Him” (cf. Romans 8:14-17).
“My God, send forth Your light and Your truth, that they may shine upon the earth: for I am like land that is dry and barren, awaiting Your light. Pour forth Your grace from above; water my heart with the dew of heaven; send down the waters of devotion to wash the face of the earth, to bring forth good and perfect fruit. Lift up my mind oppressed with the weight of my sins, and raise all my desires toward heavenly things, that having tasted the sweetness of supernal happiness, I may have no pleasure in dwelling on the things of this earth.
“Draw my heart to You, and deliver me from all vain human consolations, none of which can fully satisfy my desires or make me happy. Unite me to Yourself by the inseparable bond of Your love; for You alone are sufficient for the soul that loves You, and without You, all is vain and of no value” (Thomas à Kempis Imitation of Christ III, 23:9, 10).
O Holy Spirit, create in me the heart of a child toward its heavenly Father, a heart that seeks Him always, loving and serving Him with good will. Create in me the heart of a brother toward all my neighbors, so that I may overlook all differences and be kind, gentle, and meek with all.
Note from Dan: This post on the gift of piety is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on the gift of piety: Mirror of Thomas von Kempen (Thomas à Kempis), 1380-1431, author unknown, date unknown, PD-US author’s life plus 70 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.