Choose a topic from Part 2B:
1. Piety is the virtue which disposes a person to show duedeference, honor, and veneration to those who hold a place ofexcellence, and who have conferred benefit upon him. Piety is paidfirst to God, the supreme excellence, the giver of all good gifts.Secondly, piety is honor and veneration shown to parents. Further,piety is due reverence and respect paid to kinsfolk, to superiorsin Church or state, to one's government itself and its alliesand friends.
2. Piety, as the reverent respect and honor paid toparents, is usually called filial piety. It is a virtue,and therefore consists in more than suitable outward conduct; itinvolves the heart and mind and will; it means looking afterone's parents, lending them needed support, making sacrifice togive them care and comfort in their age, and seeing that they arewell attended in illness.
3. Piety is a special virtue which springs from justice.It is specified (that is, given its character as a distinct virtueon its own account) by the fact that a special debt is owed to theprinciple of one's being- God first, and then parents. The samevirtue extends to those that represent the principle of spiritualand political citizenship, that is, leaders in Church andgovernment.
4. Piety and religion are two virtues. They never comeinto conflict, for virtue never clashes with virtue. Yet inperforming the acts of virtues, a person may find himself inconflicting circumstances. In such a case, the essential worship ofGod must not be neglected out of a mistaken notion of piety towardsparents. On the other hand, real neglect of duty to parents cannotbe brushed aside in the name of religion. Thus, a man would dowrong to defer his baptism because ofparental objection. Anda man would do wrong to neglect sick or needy parents so that hemight send an alms to a charitable organization, or have means toenable him to attend a religious convention or congress.
"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
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"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori
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