The Gift of Piety

Novena to the Holy Spirit (Introduction+Nine Days)

[Note: Since the introductory remarks to this Novena I've witnessed quite a few 'hits' but no comments. I would certainly love to here if the Holy Spirit is whispering anything in your ears.]

Day Three – 7th Sunday of Easter

I used to regard 'the gift of piety' as a reward or an outcome of my relationship with God, especially when things were going well. If that were actually so, 'piety' would not have been titled a 'gift', but rather one of the 'fruits' of the Holy Spirits…love, joy, peace, etc. [cf. Gal 5:19-26]. Let's remember that these gifts are meant to assist us, not serve as consolation.

I may experience feelings of love, peace, and joy as I serve and worship God…or I may not, especially when true sacrifices are called for. Piety is often referred to as the gift of making the 'bitter turn sweet'; especially when it comes to matters of worship and devotion towards the Church. To obey God: to surrender our wills to His Holy Will is anything but 'sweet' (at least in the beginning). To do so even when it is hardship and pain is my understanding of the meaning of Piety as a gift of assistance. Piety is best displayed by Jesus and Mary in The Passion.

Piety is the gift of steadfast desire to keep in contact with God through thick and thin. If we continually move towards God because of our needs, and become lazy when we're satisfied; then we are experiencing a lack of Piety.

Some spiritual writers have divided the 'seven gifts' into two categories: those involving the heart (Holy Fear, Piety, Fortitude) and those involving the mind (Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Wisdom). In this sense Piety is directed to the heart. It falls in between Holy Fear (as giving honor and obedience to the Father) and Fortitude (which is perseverance and a gathering of spiritual strength).

This seems like a good place to bring up the issue of worshiping God as a people. Again for those who are not practicing faith in a community of believers, you are missing out on one of the vital elements that must be in place for the Christian. Staying home and reading the bible or climbing a mountain to experience peace, as wonderful as they are, is simply not a substitute to worshiping and serving God in community. Most people who have 'fallen away' and later returned can attest to this. I mentioned in an earlier reflection that we can have our 'gifts' dry up or even have them 'withdrawn' simply because we are not approaching God in community. To approach him alone is a most serious disadvantage.

"Again, truly I tell you, if two of you join your voices together on earth to pray for anything whatever, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." [Matthew 18:19-20]

Whatever obstacles or barriers keep you from worshiping together with the people of God must be overcome; and they are ultimately overcome with 'the gift of piety'. So ask for this 'gift', in particular.

Reflection questions: Do we take the 'gift of the Church' for granted or see it as optional? Are we prone to 'going it alone' with God? What are practical ways that we can stir up this gift of piety: in ourselves, our children, our spouses?

Come Holy Spirit; fill the hearts of your faithful people. Enkindle in us the fire of your divine love.


Hope T. said...

Though I have not commented, I am following along each day with the prayers and reading your thoughts on the gifts. I appreciate your work here.

This gift of piety is something I sorely lack. I do not fall away from God when I am satisfied but rather when I am so confused by the myriad of opinions about the right way to believe, think, draw close to God, etc. It has my head spinning and right now I feel like giving up seeking, not only because of confusion but also because of the venom with which I see Christians arguing with one another. I wonder at how some actually seem to hate their fellow Christians.

I have all but given up worshiping with other Christians. You have really given me something to think about in this post. Maybe through this novena, the Spirit will grant me insight on how I could begin to remove some of the obstacles that keep me away.

Tausign said...

If you recall the opening scripture passage of day one - we simply can’t do this by ourselves and the Spirit helps us in our weakness, which in your particular circumstance you have labeled 'confusion'.

The Christian Way becomes less confusing as we recall that Christ himself provided for this dilemma by forming a Church. St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians speaks of 'The Body of Christ' having many members who serve varying functions. One of those functions is the ability to teach faithfully and with assurance so that we are not subject to confusion. Try these verses: 1 Corinthians 12:27-31. Actually all of Chapter 12 is enlightening.

Not to be overlooked is the importance of approaching God within a parish community. It's absolutely indispensible and so you must present yourself to a loving and caring community that you can see is showing Christ's love. Don't look for God alone, look for his community and there you will find Him.

The’ venom of arguing’ is not of Christ. Christ said emphatically; ‘Love you enemies, and pray for those who persecute you’. It’s not always easy, but that’s why we need Fortitude as discussed in the next post. Stick with the Novena as others are praying for you.

Cow Bike Rider (alias, Chris Sagsveen) said...

This is good. Exactly what I need right now. Thank you!

God bless you brother


Jennifer F. said...

Let's remember that these gifts are meant to assist us, not serve as consolation.

This is such a great point.

I've also been really enjoying this series. I've been reading each post (although sometimes I haven't been able to check in each day) and think you're doing great work. I often don't comment simply because I'm lost in thought after reading each post. :)