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Piety, Gift of


The gift of the Holy Spirit that perfects the acts of the infused virtues of religion and piety. By religion, one worships God as the Creator; the gift of piety moves the soul to venerate God as the Father of mankind. Thus the gift elevates the soul to approach God more perfectly than religion does. The infused virtue of piety prompts the soul to acts of respect for the members of one's own family. But the gift of piety raises this tendency to a higher plane, moving a person to acts of respect for those who belong to his spiritual family, all his fellow children of God. Three Beatitudes flow from the gift of piety: meekness, because it removes the obstacles to piety; justice, because piety perfects its work; mercy, because piety is exercised in its works. Goodness and benignity are piety's direct fruits, because it causes them; piety's indirect fruit is meekness, which removes impediments to acts of piety.

See Also: holy spirit, gifts of; religion, virtue of.

Bibliography: b. froget, The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Souls of the Just, tr. s. a. raemers (Westminster, Md. 1950). a. royo, The Theology of Christian Perfection, ed. and tr. j. aumann (Dubuque, Iowa 1962) 447454. r. cessario, Christian Faith and the Theological Life (Washington, D.C. 1996). s. pinckaers, The Sources of Christian Ethics, tr. m. t. noble (3d rev. ed.; Washington, D.C. 1995).

[p. f. mulhern]

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