Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sometimes piety is not enough

foto taken in hallway of Trinity (Anglican) Cathedral, Cleveland.
“In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.” — Dag Hammarskjöld

Jesus taught the Beatitudes. It is a programme of action. Jesus was not crucified for personal piety. He was crucified because of his radical, and revolutionary teachings. The powers that were then, and are now, are threatened by justice, mercy, love and equity.

We have divisions in Christ's Church. It is apparent in Catholic Christianity. Some people are only interested in personal piety. If Jesus limited himself to this, there would have been no christianity.

Calling for (and, hopefully, practising) personal piety is efficacious. Calling only for personal piety, and not christian practice is hypocritical and, possibly, duplicitous. One can see christian practice, and its fruits; personal piety — not so much. A charlatan, a scoundrel, or worse can elicit this campaign. To allow evil, or just the practice, to continue, and do nothing to remedy it can be a part of this programme. One may have no belief, and feign, or speak of great faith. He may advise this in others, while preventing good to be done, so that evil can be done.

What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him? And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food: And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself. But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith. Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? —James ii. 14-20.

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