: devotion to God
: fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents)
: dutifulness in religion : Devoutness
: a conventional belief or standard : Orthodoxy
Piety (n.): early 14th c., “mercy, tenderness, pity,” from Old French piete “faith, pity, compassion,” (12c.) from Latin pietaem “dutiful conduct, sense of duty; loyalty, patriotism; faithfulness in natural ties,” in Late Latin “gentleness, kindness” from pius “kind” (related to pious)
Pious (adj.): mid-15c., from Latin “dutiful, devout, conscientious, religious; faithful to kindred; inspired by friendship, prompted by natural affections,” perhaps related to Latin purus “clean” (related to pure)
Pure (adj.): c. 1300, “unmixed” also “absolutely, entirely” from Old French pur “simple, absolute, unalloyed.”
“Saying of the Prophet
Humility and courtesy are themselves a part of piety.”
Idries Shah (1924-1996, also known as Idris Shah, ne Sayed Idries el-Hashimi and by pen name Arkon Daraul, was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition. He wrote over three dozen books translating key works of Eastern Sufi classical literature and adapting them to the needs of the West.)
“Piety is not a goal but a means to attain through the purest peace of mind the highest culture.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832, German writer, poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist)
“The Catholic wisdom of the people... provides reasons for joy and humor even in the midst of a very hard life.”
The Catholic Church
“For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first.”
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC, Greek philosopher, writer, and scientist, who made contributions to logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre. He was a student of Plato, who in-turn studied under Socrates.)
“Piety is a discipline of the will through respect. It admits the right to exist of things larger than the ego, of things different from the ego.”
Richard M. Weaver (1910-1963, American scholar and philosopher who taught English at the University of Chicago. He was primarily known as an intellectual historian, political philosopher and mid-20th century conservative and as an authority on modern rhetoric.)
“I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe, that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction.”
George Washington (1732-1799, First U.S. President, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and on the Founding Fathers of the United States)
“There are pretenders to piety as well as to courage.”
Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 1622-1673, known by his stage name, Moliere, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature.)
“Superabundant piety/righteousness (and its practices) is that form of life that enhances the individual and the community simultaneously.”
Michael Joseph Brown (Director of the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN)
“For many, the hijab [traditional covering for the hair and neck that is worn by Muslim women] represents modesty, piety and devotion to God, and I truly respect that. But the hijab should not be used as a means of applying social pressure on people.”
Queen Rania of Jordan (born Rania Al-Yassin in August 1970, age 45, Queen consort of Jordan, business leader, women’s rights activist, and a powerful female voice in the Arab world. She is best known for her advocacy work in public health, education, and is an outspoken opponent of the practice of “honor killings.”)
“In a society which is structured the wrong way, piety has no effect.”
Friedrich Durrenmatt (1921-1990, Swiss playwright and novelist, and a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected experiences of World War II)
“The hypocrisy and false piety of the deniers aside, the relationships of gays have no effect on heteros. Especially all the heteros who’ve done such a marvelous job of debasing marriage on their own all these many years.”
John Ridley (b. 1965, age 50, American screenwriter, film director, novelist, television showrunner and writer known for “12 Years a Slave,” for which he won an Academy Award in 2013 for Best Adapted Screenplay.)
We have been enduring a lot of new energies in light of Pope Francis’s visit, the Autumn Equinox, and the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse. We were being introduced and initiated into a great deal of divine grace.
Caroline Myss, a spiritual teacher, mystic, and author of the book, Defy Gravity: Understanding Your Seven Graces, which includes: Reverence, Piety, Understanding, Fortitude, Counsel, Knowledge and Wisdom. Of piety, she writes:
The classic meaning of piety is devotion to God. Piety seeks that which is divine in others. Piety is a grace that brings out our spiritual instincts, such as sensing that someone is in need of kindness or nurturing. It is a grace that draws us to interact with those in need to give generosity to those who in an earlier time would have viewed as competitors.
Another expression of the grace of Piety is to want to give the best of your inner resources to help “illuminate” another who turns to you for guidance.
As Pope Francis was visiting Cuba and the U.S. we all could see that he was practicing the Seven Graces, particularly piety. We witnessed grace when he looked deep into a person’s eyes. That’s why so many of us were seeking him out. We were learning from his many examples of kindness and compassion. The pope was teaching us how to demonstrate kindness and to nurture others, but also how our “beyond limits” exuberance charged him up. There were vortexes of positive energy that appeared in every place he visited.
When we practice kindness, courtesy, and respect we also have the capacity to create infinity cycles of love and build bridges to openness and meaningful connections.
Years ago, while working at a NYC college and before stepping onto the elevator to go up to my office, I would say good morning to the security guard that stood by and he would graciously hand me copies of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Daily News, newspapers I subscribed for my work.
One morning there were no newspapers, so the guard suggested I go to the security office just across the lobby to see if they were there.
At that office I was delighted to see a number of security officers whom I also knew. I smiled and said, “Good morning!” But instead of responding in-kind like they normally did, their eyes looked askance at their superior officer, a strong and unfriendly woman, who was standing there and staring at me. I was a little hesitant, but I also said good morning and asked for my newspapers. She looked at me very suspiciously and handed the papers over.
Well, every morning I had to go to that office. But, as I always did, I smiled and cheerfully greeted everyone before retrieving the newspapers. And every morning I got the same noncommittal responses from the woman captain and the other security officers. That went on for about 2 weeks.
After a while I thought maybe it was unwise to say anything and just quietly grab my newspapers and leave. But, when I was about to do so, the captain yelled, “Good morning! How are you today?”
I was absolutely dumbstruck and could barely respond. But I did, smiled, said good morning, and left.
The next time I went the office everyone was very warm and cheerful, including the captain. I even saw her once with other women security officers, while were they were on patrol. And again I was shocked to see how friendly and joyous they all were in greeting me. The illusion of competition had vanished.
To this day, I remain in awe of the miraculous power of grace, particularly piety, especially to those who can be resistant and suspicious of kindness.
My children and closest friends who walk with me always laugh, because they know I have to always say hello and talk to folks wherever I go. These are my small acts of piety and the sowing of some seeds, those I am privilege to be able to do. It’s my spiritual practice of spreading love, whenever, wherever, and however I can.
Warmth, Kindness, and Blessings Always, Tonya