HomeSaint JosemariaTalking to GodMercy, Pity and Piety
Saint Josemaria
Quotations from Saint Josemaria

Mercy, Pity and Piety

Tags: Joy, Love of God, Holy Spirit, Piety, mercy
The Pope is holding some special audiences for the Year of Mercy. On May 14 he recalled that “True piety is a sign of God’s mercy and one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, which the Lord gives to his disciples so that they may be docile and follow his divine inspirations.”

Audience with Pope Francis, May 14, 2016

“Jesus is attentive to people’s plea for mercy. He is sensitive to their needs, and he responds with sympathy and love.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In our continuing catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider piety, which is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. When we hear this word, we think of a certain religiosity or devotion, but its meaning is much richer; like our word “pity”, it has to do with compassion, with mercy.

One of the aspects of mercy is taking pity on those who are suffering. Piety (pietas) is a concept that in the Graeco-Roman world indicated due devotion to the gods, as well as due respect of children for their parents. Today we should be careful not to confuse piety with “pietism”, which is mere superficial emotion and is not concerned with one’s neighbour. Nor should true pity be confused with compassion for animals if that is taken to extremes while the suffering of our neighbour leaves us indifferent.

True piety is a sign of God’s mercy and one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, which the Lord gives to his disciples so that they may be docile and follow his divine inspirations. In the Gospel we hear the spontaneous cries that many sick, possessed, poor, or afflicted people raised to Jesus, expressing their faith in him. Jesus responded with eyes of mercy and the comfort of his own presence, inviting them to trust in him and in his Word, because, for Christ, taking pity on others means sharing their sadness in order to turn it into rejoicing and happiness, by healing them from evil.

We are called to imitate the Lord’s “piety” towards those who cry out to him by rising above our indifference and isolation, and becoming more concerned for the needs of all our brothers and sisters. Mary, Mother of mercy, is the icon of this loving concern and our model of “piety”. May she obtain for us the grace to live this Year of Mercy by growing in compassion and by imitating the infinite “piety” of Jesus her Son.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England and the Philippines. In the joy of the Risen Lord, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!
“In Christ’s teaching we learn that our existence does not belong to us”
“In Christ’s teaching we learn that our existence does not belong to us”

Texts for meditation by St Josemaria

Talking and listening to the Holy Spirit

Through the gift of piety, the Holy Spirit helps us to realise with certainty that we are children of God. And, being children of God, how can we be sad? Sadness is the end product of selfishness. If we truly want to live for God, we will never lack cheerfulness, even when we discover our errors and wretchedness. Cheerfulness finds its way into our life of prayer, so much so that we cannot help singing for joy. For we are in love, and singing is a thing that lovers do.
Friends of God, no. 92

Let us describe, at least in general, the way of life which will lead us to get on familiar terms with the Holy Spirit, and together with him, the Father and the Son. We can fix our attention on three fundamental points: docility, life of prayer, and union with the Cross.
First of all docility, because it is the Holy Spirit who, with his inspirations, gives a supernatural tone to our thoughts, desires and actions. It is he who leads us to receive Christ’s teaching and to assimilate it in depth. It is he who gives us the light by which we perceive our personal calling and the strength to carry out all that God expects of us. If we are docile to the Holy Spirit, the image of Christ will be formed more and more fully in us, and we will be brought closer every day to God the Father. “For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God.”
Christ is Passing By, no. 135

Get to know the Holy Spirit, the great Stranger, on whom depends your sanctification.
Don’t forget that you are God’s temple. The Advocate is in the centre of your soul: listen to him and be docile to his inspirations.
The Way, no. 57

“We ought to answer, one by one, Here I am, Lord, because you have called me”
“We ought to answer, one by one, Here I am, Lord, because you have called me”
Coming closer to God means being ready to be converted anew, to change direction again, to listen attentively to his inspirations – those holy desires he places in our souls – and to put them into practice.
The Forge, no. 32

We must be convinced that God hears us, that he is concerned about us. If we are, we will feel completely at peace. But living with God is indeed a risky business, for he will not share things: he wants everything. And if we move toward him, it means we must be ready for a new conversion, to take new bearings, to listen more attentively to his inspirations – those holy desires that he provokes in every soul – and to put them into practice.
Christ is Passing By, no. 58

At Christ’s School
Let us get used to speaking sincerely to our Lord when he comes down to the altar, an innocent Victim in the hands of the priest. Confidence in the help of God will give us a sensitivity of soul which is expressed in good works: charity, understanding, tender sympathy for those who suffer, and for those who pretend to be happy while enjoying false and empty joys, which soon turn to sadness.
In Love with the Church, no. 47

The Master passes very close to us, again and again. He looks at us... And if you look at him, if you listen to him, if you don’t reject him, He will teach you how to give a supernatural meaning to everything you do... Then you too, wherever you may be, will sow consolation and peace and joy.
The Way of the Cross, 8th Station, point 4.

Every generation of Christians needs to redeem, to sanctify its own time. In order to do this, we must understand and share the desires of other men – our equals – in order to make known to them, with a gift of tongues, how they are to respond to the action of the Holy Spirit, to that permanent outflow of rich treasures that comes from our Lord’s heart. We Christians are called upon to announce, in our own time, to this world to which we belong and in which we live, the message – old and at the same time new – of the Gospel.
Christ is Passing By, no. 132

In Christ’s teaching we learn that our existence does not belong to us. He gave up his life for all and, if we follow him, we must understand that we cannot take possession of our own lives in a selfish way, without sharing the sorrows of others. Our life belongs to God. We are here to spend it in his service, concerning ourselves generously with souls, showing, through our words and our example, the extent of the Christian dedication that is expected of us.
Christ is Passing By, no. 93

Now that I am confiding in you as a friend, as a priest and as a father, I would like to remind you that in every circumstance of our lives we are, by God’s mercy, children of our almighty Father, who is in heaven but who also dwells in the intimacy of our hearts. I would like to engrave upon your minds the conviction that since “your Father well knows what you need”, we have every reason to be optimistic on our journey through this life, with our souls completely detached from those earthly things that seem so very necessary. God will provide. Believe me, this is the only way to be lords of creation and to avoid the pitiful slavery into which so many people fall, because they forget that they are children of God, and spend their time worrying about tomorrow, or a future that they may never see.
Friends of God, no. 116

To take advantage of the grace which our Mother offers us today and to second at any time the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, the shepherd of our souls, we ought to be seriously committed to speaking with God. We cannot take refuge in the anonymous crowd. If interior life doesn’t involve a personal encounter with God, it doesn’t exist – it’s as simple as that. There are few things more at odds with Christianity than superficiality. To settle down to routine in our Christian life is to dismiss the possibility of becoming a contemplative soul. God seeks us out, one by one. And we ought to answer him, one by one: “Here I am, Lord, because you have called me.”
Christ is Passing By, no. 174

Related articles


Pope explains gift of piety during General Audience

Video. (Rome Reports) During his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis talked about the gift of piety. He explained that this gift of the Holy Spirit is deeper than mere 'outward religiosity.' For the Pope, the gift of piety, means experiencing 'ever anew, with joy and gratitude, the loving relationship with God.' It also helps recognize the others as 'brothers and sisters, members of God’s family'. That's why, the Pope concluded, those who have a deeper relationship with God usually pay more attention to their neighbors.


Two men of courage

Video. Rome Reports. Pope Francis homily for canonization Mass.



Tags on Saint Josemaria