By means of the gift of piety, the Holy Spirit gives a new touch to our spiritual life, a touch of delicacy and sweetness which perfects and simplifies our relations with God and our neighbor....Under its influence our prayer will become more affectionate, more filial, and we shall attend with greater facility to all that concerns the divine worship. Let us ask for this gift, especially when we seem to be very dry and cold, so that in times of trial and interior suffering by its help we shall go to God as a child to its Father. Furthermore, our diligent, constant application to prayer, notwithstanding the lack of sensible devotion, is one of the best dispositions for bringing upon us the life-giving breath of the gift of piety. ~ Divine Intimacy, pp.910-911So genuine piety is a precious gift, something to cultivate and pray to God for. I think what many people may react against is not piety but the "pietism." Pietism is, according to Dictionary.com:
- Stress on the emotional and personal aspects of religion.
- Affected or exaggerated piety.
Piety, however, can counteract pietism, but it requires some participation on the part of the free will. To quote Fr. Gabriel once more:
The gift of piety perfects justice in our relations with others by helping us smooth over differences and overcome feelings of reserve and coldness which, in spite of ourselves, may remain in our conduct, particularly to those who are disagreeable and unfriendly. The gift of piety inspires a sense of the divine paternity, not only in respect to ourselves, but in respect for others....Share
If we wish to respond to the inspirations of the gift of piety, we must make every effort to be kind and gentle, and to form the habit of seeing in everyone, even in those who may be opposed to us, a child of God and our brother. ~Divine Intimacy, p. 911