Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The truly pious

Piety is the direct opposite of selfishness. Living as he does in the vision of the unutterably pure, the pious man turns his back on his own human vanity, and his longing is to surrender the forces of egotism to the might of God. He is aware of both the shabbiness of human life and the meagerness and insufficiency of human service, and so, to protect the inner wholesomeness and purity of devotion from being defiled by interference from the petty self, he strives toward self-exclusion, self-forgetfulness, and an inner anonymity of service. He desires to be unconscious that it is he who is consecrating himself to the service of God. The pious man lays no claim to reward. He hates show, or being conspicuous in any way, and is shy of displaying his qualities even to his own mind. He is engrossed in the beauty of that which he worships, and dedicates himself to ends the greatness of which exceeds his capacity for adoration.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 308

<idle musing>
True piety is very much absent from the world, isn't it? People seem more interested in trumpeting their relgiousness from the street corners than in being quietly faithful. But, not much has changed from Jesus's day, has it? He castigated the Pharisees and others for their public displays then.
</idle musing>

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