Choose a topic from Part 2B:

101. Piety

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.

"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "
Thomas á Kempis

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