The Lost Virtue

It is a horrible factor to lose a advantage.  We want all of the virtues to be a completely ethical particular person simply as we’d like all of the elements of the physique to be working correctly if we’re to be in full well being.  If sure muscle tissue within the legs don’t work, for instance, we could limp.  If an individual lacks the advantage of charity, all his different virtues are in useless.  Unfortunately, it is rather tough to recuperate a advantage as soon as it’s misplaced.

The advantage to which I’m referring is piety.  If it’s used in any respect nowadays, it has been watered right down to a reasonably sentimental type of faith.  Hence, it’s generally seen not as a advantage, however extra as a vice. The street to its restoration is fraught with many obstacles.

The phrase piety is derived from the Latin phrase, pietas, the noun type of the adjective “pious,” which suggests “religious” or “dutiful.”  Virgil refers to Aeneas on the fall of Troy, as “pious Aeneas” for carrying his father, the lame Anchises, to security.  Aquinas cites Cicero who acknowledged that piety “provides each obligation and homage,” “obligation” referring to service, “homage” referring to reverence or honor. Pope Saint John Paul II outlined piety as “the present of reverence for what comes from God.”

A German translator, in an try to supply a phrase that may restore the notion of piety to its fullness, coined the phrase Blutpflichtverbundenheit.  The phrase by no means caught on, nevertheless it does signify the essence of the phrase “piety.”  Literally, it means “blood-duty-connectedness.”  Where there’s a blood connection (inside the household), there over-rides an obligation connection.  We are usually not alienated from our ancestry, however sure by blood to honor and respect them.  By the identical token, we should always respect all the nice issues we’ve acquired from the previous.

When we observe the up to date scene we see a disrespect for custom.  The time period “presentism” has been coined which means that all the things prior to now ought to be judged by the ethical requirements of the current.  Yet these requirements are most unimpressive:  abortion, euthanasia, the LGBT agenda, same-sex marriage, the disintegration of the household, the vandalizing of church buildings and the destruction of spiritual icons.  The absence of piety, a respect for the nice issues of the previous, creates an ethical void that’s stuffed in by the delusion that the current era is the measure of all the things else.

The vital significance of custom has been precisely and dramatically symbolized by the primary Broadway musical to surpass 3,000 performances.  Without custom, Tevya explains in “Fiddler on the Roof,” we have no idea what is predicted of us, and thus we develop into as susceptible as a fiddle precariously perched on a roof.

Tradition is foundational.  It is our platform and our launching pad.  It supplies the momentum that enables us to go ahead with data, knowledge, and a safe footing.  We can not plant our toes in mid-air.  We draw from the nice issues of the previous in order that we may be higher ready for the longer term.  The previous is our life-blood that can in the end serve the longer term.

Our exaggerated perception in progress has distracted us from the glories of the previous.  And, regardless of all its flaws, there was glory, in regulation, drugs, know-how, and human rights.

Piety opens our eyes and hearts to the wealth that we’ve inherited.  It results in appreciation, gratitude, and our personal enrichment. In the absence of piety, we deprive ourselves of this wealth whereas failing to see the issues during which we’re immersed.  The Catholic custom comes alive after we view it by way of the advantage of piety.



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