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Piety: A Gift of the Holy Spirit

The desire to do what is pleasing to God


The Perfection of Religion

When we are infused with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, enumerated in Isaiah 11:2-3, we respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as if by instinct, the way that Christ Himself would. Perhaps in none of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is this instinctual response more obvious than in piety. While wisdom and knowledge perfect the theological virtue of faith, piety perfects religion, which, as Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., notes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, is "The moral virtue by which a person is disposed to render to God the worship and service he deserves." Far from being a drudgery, worship should be an act of love, and piety is the instinctive affection for God that makes us desire to render worship to Him, just as we voluntarily honor our parents.

Piety in Practice

Piety, Father Hardon notes, arises "not so much from a studied effort or acquired habit as from a supernatural communication conferred by the Holy Spirit." People sometimes say that "piety demands it," which usually means that they feel compelled to do something that they don't want to do. True piety, however, makes no such demands but instills in us a desire always to do that which is pleasing to God (and, by extension, that which is pleasing to those who serve God in their own lives).

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
 Fear of the Lord

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