Reflection for the 2nd week of Lent ‘Soul Institute’ Gift Piety Virtue Justice/Temperance Beatitude Blessed are the Meek

St Thomas links the Holy Spirit gift of Piety to the virtues of Justice and Temperance. These lead to us to live the Beatitude, ‘Blessed are the meek.’ Again we need the gifts of the Holy Spirit to perfect the virtues.

Father Bransfield in his book, ‘The Human Person’ writes, ” The gift of piety is a habitual disposition that makes the soul receptive to the movement of the Holy Spirit by which we show affection to God the Father. Meekness removes the obstacles to piety. The person who is transformed from worldly fear to filial fear is no longer at the mercy of the things of this world…This gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to be less driven by appetites for worldly things, and to become more temperate. More and more our lives and relationships are overtaken by poverty of spirit, which rejoices in freedom from the things of this world.”

Father Antonio Marin OP in his book ‘The Great Unknown. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts’ writes about piety, ” the gift of piety is a supernatural habit infused with sanctifying grace to arouse in the will, through the motion of the Holy Spirit, a filial affection for God considered as Father, and a sentiment of universal brotherhood for all men as our brother and as children of the same heavenly Father.

The gift of piety is absolutely necessary in order to perfect to a heroic degree the matter that falls under the virtue of Justice and the other other virtues related to justice….And as regard one’s association with other men…we realize that we are all brothers and sisters of the same Father…Even as regards material things, the gift of piety can change one’s outlook completely. For those who are governed by the gift of piety, the world and all creation are the ‘house of the Father’ where everything that exists speaks of Him and His infinite tenderness. Such person are able to discover with out effort the religious meaning in all things, for those- including the wolf, the trees, the flowers and death itself-are our brother, as Saint Francis tells us.”

The effects of Piety, “It places in the soul a truly filial tenderness towards our Heavenly Father. This is the primary and fundamental effect of the gift of Piety.” St Paul tells us, “For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba Father.”

St Therese the little flower had the gift of piety in a sublime degree. We read, “Upon entering her cell one day, a novice stopped, surprised at seeing the heavenly expression on her face. She was sewing busily, yet nevertheless seemed absorbed in profound contemplation. ‘What are you thinking about?’ The young sister asked. “I am meditating on the Our Father.’ She answered. ‘It is so sweet to call God Father!’ Saying this. tears glistened in her eyes.”

Father Bransfield says this about Justice, ” Instead of a self centered justice and overt concern for one’s own rights, a just person begins to see justice as other-centered. Justice is ordinarily understood as giving another his due. The Holy Spirit’s gift of piety strengthen us to render to God, neighbor, self, and the created world.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines temperance this way, ” Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instinct and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetite towards what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: ‘Do not follow your inclination and strengths, walking according to the desires of your heart.’ Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: ‘Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.’ In the New Testament it is called ‘moderation’ or ‘sobriety.’ We ought ‘to live sober, upright, and godly lives in the world.'”

Raniero Cantalamessa in his book, ‘Beatitudes Eight Steps to Happiness’ writes, ” The promise tied to the beatitude about the meek- ‘they shall inherit the earth’ is actualized on different levels, ending with the definitive Promised Land of eternal life, but certainly one of the levels is the human one. The ‘earth’ represents the hearts of human beings. The meek win people’s trust: They attract souls. The saint of meekness and mildness par excellence, St Francis de Sales used to say. ‘One can catch more flies with a sponful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar.'” Jesus tells us, “Learn from me: for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Mat 11:29)

St Paul tells us, “Put in them as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience.” The above book ends it chapter on this beatitude with these beautiful words,” Kindness and meekness are like a robe that Christ has won for us and with which, by faith we can clothe ourselves.”

The Prayer for the day is the Our Father
Before you recite this prayer slowly ask for the Holy Spirit gift of Piety

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