I think I am too English to embrace public displays of piety — a tasbih always in hand, salutations always on the tongue, eyes glazed over, intoxicated by the presence of the One.

But I know it is wrong of me. Theirs is a faith more courageous than mine, more willing to be seen in the world. God alone knows what hearts contain; only He knows our intentions. As to us mere mortals: our mission is to think the best of our companions.

I regret that when I meet the outwardly pious one, my initial feelings are of aversion. But that is a disease of my heart. And so the inward mutterings begin. “He is better than you,” I tell myself, recalling my many sins. “He doesn’t care what people think,” I whisper, remembering my shy and timid faith. “His character and actions speak volumes,” I remind myself, “while yours are just like dust.”

Faith comes in many forms, revealing itself in many ways. I regret that I have become so judgemental and so intolerant, when it is my words, thoughts and deeds which fall so short. May the One purify our hearts and grant us the best of character.