What is ungodliness? A vice contrary to piety.
What is piety? A virtue, or gift of the Holy Spirit, by which we regard God, and worship Him, and venerate Him as our Father.
We are therefore commanded so to deny ungodliness, that we may “live piously in this world;” or, what amounts to the same thing, so to live piously in this world, that we may deny all ungodliness. But why are these two mentioned, since one would be sufficient?
The Holy Spirit was thus pleased to speak, in order to make us understand that if we wish to please God, we must be so in love with piety as to admit of no impiety. For there are many Christians who seem pious by praying to God, by assisting at the adorable sacrifice, by hearing sermons, but, in the meanwhile, they either blaspheme God, or swear falsely, or break through their vows. And what else is this, but to pretend to be “pious” towards God, and yet be impious at the same time?
Wherefore, those who desire to live well that they may die well, so to worship God as to deny all ungodliness. Even the very shadow of it. For it will be of little profit daily to hear Mass, and to adore Christ in the holy mysteries, if, in the mean time, we impiously blaspheme God, or swear by His holy name. But we must deny all ungodliness, not only the more heinous sort, but even the slightest.