On Piety

«Makes us meek, tranquil, patient, at peace with God»

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Here is a translation of Pope Francis’ address during the General Audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square.



Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning.

Today we want to pause on a gift of the Holy Spirit which is often misunderstood and considered in a superficial way; instead it touches in the heart our identity and our Christian life: it is the gift of piety.

It is necessary to clarify immediately that this gift is not identified with having compassion for someone, having pity for one’s neighbor, but it indicates our belonging to God and our profound bond with Him, a bond that gives meaning to the whole of our life and which keeps us firm, in communion with Him, also in the most difficult and trying moments.

1. This bond with the Lord is not intended as a duty or an imposition. It is a bond that comes from within. It is a relation lived with the heart: it is our friendship with God, given us by Jesus; a friendship that changes our life and fills us with enthusiasm and joy. Therefore, the gift of piety arouses in us, first of all, gratitude and praise. This is, in fact, the motive and the most authentic meaning of our worship and of our adoration. When the Holy Spirit makes us perceive the presence of the Lord and all his love for us, He warms our heart and moves us almost naturally to prayer and to celebration. Piety, therefore, is synonym of authentic religious spirit, of filial confidence in God, of that capacity to pray to Him with love and simplicity which is proper of persons who are humble of heart.

2. If the gift of piety makes us grow in our relation and communion with God and leads us to live as His children, at the same time it helps us to pour this love also on others and to recognize them as brothers. And then yes we will be moved by sentiments of piety — not of pietism! — in our dealings with those around us and those we meet every day. Why do I say not pietism?

Because some think that to have piety is to close one’s eyes, to make an imaginary face, and feign to be like a saint. In Piedmont we say: to make a ”Mugna Quacia” This isn’t the gift ofpiety. The gift of piety means to be truly capable of rejoicing with those in joy, to weep with those who weep, to welcome and help those who are in need. There is a very close relation between the gift of piety and meekness. The gift of piety that the Holy Spirit gives us makes us meek, it makes us tranquil, patient, in peace with God, and at the service of others with meekness.

Dear friends, in the Letter to the Romans the Apostle Paul affirms: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God, for you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship, when we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:14-15).

Let us pray to the Lord that the gift of his Spirit may conquer our fear, our uncertainties, also our restless, impatient spirit, and be able to render us joyful witnesses of God and of his love, adoring the Lord in truth and also in the service of our neighbor, with meekness and with the smile that the Holy Spirit always gives us in joy. May the Holy Spirit give all of us this gift of piety.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

Summary of the Catechesis in English:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, we now turn to the gift of piety. Through this spiritual gift, we experience ever anew, with joy and gratitude, the loving relationship with God our Father which has been granted us in Jesus his Son. It is this loving relationship which grounds and perfects our authentic worship of God. The love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit leads us to perceive the Lord’s presence and love in our lives, and moves us to respond joyfully in prayer and adoration. Piety is not mere outward religiosity; it is that genuine religious spirit which makes us turn to the Father as his children and to grow in our love for others, seeing them as our brothers and sisters, members of God’s family. Let us ask that, through this gift of the Holy Spirit, we may always be ready to offer a helping hand to others, in the joyful awareness of that solidarity which is born of our communion with God in the unity of Christ’s body, the Church.

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England and Wales, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States. Upon all of you, and upon your families, I invoke the peace of the Risen Lord and the manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit. God bless you all!

[Original text: English]

Greeting in Italian:

I give my cordial welcome to the Italian-speaking faithful. I welcome the pilgrims of the diocese of Como, led by the Bishop, Monsignor Coletti, and those of Bergamo, who have come to thank God for Saint John XIII. I greet the Sistersof Saint John the Baptist and Saint Catherine of Siena, and the Ministers of the sick of Saint Camillus, gathered here on the occasion of their respective General Chapters, as well as the priests of the Secular Institute of the Sacred Heart. I greet the numerous parish groups, in particular the faithful of Paderno Dugnano and of Canepina. I greet the military men, the young athletes of the Macerata-Loreto pilgrimage with the “torch of peace,” accompanied by Bishops Giuliodori and Vecerrica, and the “Little Sunflower” group of Pieve di Soligo. I hope that this meeting will arouse in all a renewed commitment to peace and fraternity.

A special thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. We are preparing for the Solemnity of Pentecost: dear young people, I invite you to make room for the initiative of the Spirit of God in your life; dear sick, may the Holy Spirit grant you in abundance the gifts of fortitude and piety; and you, dear newlyweds, particularly the participants in the Congress organized by the Focolare Movement, invoke Him often in your conjugal life.

[Original text: Italian}

[Translation by ZENIT]
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