Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God.

Purity of heart, and seeing God, are grand old themes in the Bible. Even coupling them as Jesus does here is not new, for we find in Psalm 24:3-4 that the pure in heart alone have the ability to “ascend the mountain of the Lord” which implies “seeing” God. Moses is the premiere example of this in Ex. 33 where he makes the ultimate request, “Show me your glory!” The response is ambiguous, for “no man can see God and live,” but on the other hand, Moses saw more of God than anyone else did, and this vision made him different from all others. In the Hebrew mind, not only do we become what we eat, but we are/become what we see.

Purity of heart opens the interior eyes of our souls so that we “see” Jesus. Our interior eyes work together with our physical eyes so that we see Jesus in so many ways through the world around us; in the faces of other people, in nature, and in many diverse places where others cannot see the One in whom “all things consist” (Col. 1:18). But for all of us in this life these are just glimpses, momentary flashes, because the impurities that still linger in our hearts impede our sight. Indeed, to see God fully, face to face, would destroy us, for mortal flesh cannot see God. However, the more pure we become, the more we see, and the more we see, the more we become like Jesus. The spiritual life is one of spiraling upward. This is why purity of soul is the apex of Christian virtue in the world of Christian mysticism, because it brings on the beatific vision.

What verse is more wonderful than St. John’s encouragement in I John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it is not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (NKJV). We become what we see, and we see when we are purified from that which clings to us from the world. This is another plug for a good Lenten observance. We are not speaking of “works righteousness” here. We are speaking about God’s invitation to purify our hearts through His grace, motivated purely by love, so that we can see Him! Jesus wants to be seen!

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