The Gifts of the Holy Ghost (6): The Gift of Piety

Source: FSSPX News

The Magnificat of the Virgin, Rosary Basilica in Lourdes

While the Church and her children celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Ghost during this octave of Pentecost, FSSPX.News offers an opportunity to discover a little better these seven gifts granted by God’s goodness to our souls in order to sanctify them. After meditating on the gifts of understanding, wisdom, knowledge, and counsel, we continue with the gift of piety.

St. Thomas says that the gift of piety regards God as Father. He explains in his Commentary on the Sentences: “Although the virtue of religion is directed toward God, nevertheless it is measured by something human--namely, the benefits received from God. But the gift of piety is measured by something divine: it gives honor to God because He is worthy of all honor, being Himself all glorious.”

The virtue of infused religion is based in a way on the notion of debt: we will consider the beneficence of God, and what we owe Him for such benefits (cf. Ps. 115:12, “What shall I render to the Lord, for all the things he hath rendered unto me?”).

The gift of piety, leaving aside this measure of God’s generosities, and of what we owe Him in return, honors and glorifies God for His own sake, whether He bestows upon us good or evil; and stripped of all other considerations, it sees only the divine grandeur in itself.

The soul regards God Himself as its eternal inheritance, unites itself to Him immediately, renders Him worship, and venerates Him in Himself. This soul honors God through the gift of piety--because adhering to God is the end toward which the gift of piety tends, according to St. Thomas. It honors Him in good and bad fortune.

The Most Blessed Virgin says in her canticle: “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid” (Lk. 1:46-48). The reason for glorifying God and exulting in Him is no other than the very grandeur of God regarding this very deep humility, rather than the sublime graces which were granted to Mary.

To What Objects Does the Gift of Piety Extend?

The matter to which the gift of piety extends is firstly what concerns the filial worship of God: “you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father)” (Rom. 8:15). We are His adopted sons through grace and we await the inheritance of glory. And because in the order of human things, the virtue which leads to honoring parents is called piety, the gift which corresponds to it in the supernatural order also receives the name of piety.

The gift of piety also extends to all creatures with which the soul can communicate in grace--what the virtue of religion does not do. Piety considers in parents the very fact that they are source and origin, and it leads to venerating the father, insofar as he has dignity on principle. This is why, wherever this original character is found, piety must be practiced.

Through piety we honor not only our parents, but all those of the same blood, which concerns the character of origin and generation. From whence it follows that the gift of piety requires extending itself to men inasmuch as they are children of God, because of the immensity of His glory.

Yet the glory of God is to be considered not only inasmuch as it is communicated to the sons of God, made participants in the divine nature; and it belongs to the grandeur of the Father, Author of grace, to bring to glory a great number of His sons. But spiritual creatures, except the damned, are children of God, or can become so: this is why the gift of piety extends to all these creatures.

According to John of St. Thomas, The Gifts of the Holy Ghost