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Quotes of the Day for September 22, 2023 – Thoughts on the danger of misguided piety

“You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal Yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’” When the Lord Jesus visits his hometown of Nazareth (vss. 4:16-30), He proclaims a salvation that requires our total repentance: a profound admission of personal failure, a sustained inward cleansing, and a conviction that God alone can deliver us eternally. The salvation of our Lord is a gift wondrous beyond words, but it comes at a high cost. We should not be surprised, then, that the Lord’s neighbors seem guarded, even angry, when they hear Jesus’ message. Nazareth appears to be a pious community; its residents attend services at the synagogue regularly. Their resistance to the Lord Jesus’ message deserves our close attention lest we, too, use piety as an excuse to resist life-saving change.” (Dynamis 9/22/2023)

“…piety embraces the notion that you have to make yourself worthy to receive Christ in Communion. The reality is it is Christ who takes away our sins/guilt and it is He who makes us worthy of heaven, not our pious activities. We don’t make ourselves worthy of Christ, rather Christ makes us worthy of heaven/paradise. For this, we are thankful (eucharistic). It is God who freely gives us the coal, the Body of Christ, which takes away our iniquities and pardons our sins. And God does this in His love for us, while we are still sinners. We don’t make ourselves righteous or worthy to partake of Christ, rather we humbly accept what Christ has done for us and offers to us. Christ doesn’t react to us sinners, rather He loves us and draws us near to Himself. He acts towards us in love, rather than reacting to our sins.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“[For those] whose piety is manifest in social action, the face of those who seem “only to pray but do nothing” seems grotesque and distorted. So for those whose piety is expressed in social action such piety can be very hard for them to see through to appreciate the good under construction in the other person’s life. Or there are some whose piety is expressed in ways that are largely influenced by monasticism and who find it difficult to see through the disfigured face of those whose piety is not so influenced by monasticism. And then there are those whose piety is expressed through their strong support of or opposition to a certain political position or party or candidate… The offence we create for ourselves when we give ourselves permission to think in this way is huge.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“…pietism which has corroded our worship more than we ever imagined and which tends to deprive our Liturgy of its resurrectional and festive character or to turn it into a medium for individual piety and psychological compunction and an instrument of mission or pastoral work.” (Metropolitan John Zizioulas)

“Let us take care never to use our religious devotion as a way to hide from God! Confronted with the Gospel’s demands, we may gradually shift from faith in God to faith in mere devotional practices.” (Dynamis 9/22/2023)


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