Fr. Denis Lemieux has a blog series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and today he examines piety. The whole series is worth reading and his blog worth bookmarking for his insightful spiritual encouragement.
The core wound of our humanity, after all, is that we genuinely do not believe that God loves us, or that He is real at all, or that He is with us, or that He is good and desires our good. The wound of original sin at its very heart is a wound of mistrust, an alienation of affections, as that good old fashioned phrase puts it.Out of that mistrust comes a terrible sense of isolation, of abandonment, and out of that comes all sorts of things—hardness of heart, bitterness of spirit, or a plunge into every worldly and sensory pleasure available to us. Piety, then, heals this in us.God wants us to know Him. And to know Him is to love Him. The gift of the Spirit is that which gives us the knowledge of God, not on some intellectual level of theology and doctrine (these are not without value), but on the level of personal encounter and transformation.
And God meets us in our utter spiritual poverty—where His love is totally undeserved, totally a gift. He has given us a new nature, seated in the heavenlies with Him through Jesus Christ. Sadly, most of us live believing lies or out of the identity of our old man, or old fleshly nature which cannot be fixed, only taken to the Cross.
I wish there were more teaching or more focus in the Catholic Church on the promises of God and on the new nature He has given us—because it truly is by believing that we not only receive the Holy Spirit, but also by believing we are sanctified. (Galatians 3).