The Sixth Beatitude: Pure in Heart
We All Sin
How can I be pure in heart? By myself, it's impossible. Firstly, I need to be aware of the fact that I sin, that we all sin. That reminds me of a friend who once said,
"Sin? I never sin! I've never stolen anything, well, nothing big, anyway. I believe in God and go to church a couple of times a year, and I've certainly never killed anyone!"
She was thinking of the Ten Commandments. But Jesus said that even if we think those things we sin. I wondered if she thought of the Ten Commandments when she was wangling a business deal to her own advantage or when she shared more than her farm with her share-farmer. That led me to think of Jesus' saying that if we see a splinter in another's eye, we probably have a log in our own!
Yes, we all sin, so how can we be pure in heart?
Purity is the Ideal
The ideal is to be pure, but how can we achieve that? Can we make ourselves like an impregnable castle and put a moat around ourselves? Even that will not prevent the assault of the Enemy. The sin is within, and yet Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that the pure in heart are blessed (Matthew 5.8).
Can we reach the ideal by emulating the purity of a white flower that has a golden heart? No, it's impossible. We all sin and can only be made pure through accepting the precious gift of forgiveness for our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Simplicity and Duplicity
What is purity?
My dictionary tells me it means freedom from contamination; it is innocence and moral goodness. Way back in history, St. Augustine explained purity of heart with the Latin word, simplex, from which we get the words 'simple' and 'simplicity.' So the pure in heart are open, simple, honest and sincere.
The opposite of simplex is duplex, from which we get the word 'duplicity.' One explanation I read once was: simplex means 'folded once,' it is straightforward, while duplex means 'folded twice', or that something i is hidden inside.
When the heart is duplicitous, it is dishonest and deceives; it becomes contaminated. Even if the sin is small, if it is left there, it grows and spreads like a cancer and takes over the whole life.
We have the choice of which path to follow, but it's something that we can't do by ourselves. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Pure are Blessed
When we are forgiven and made clean, we are blessed. Because we take that step in faith through Jesus, we are favoured by God. It is His gift to us.
Often, when I want to thank God for His blessings, I turn to Psalms. Many were written long ago by King David but he says it so much better than I can. Like us, he was not without sin, but how beautiful is his prayer for cleansing and pardon in Psalm 51. We can use his words:
"Have mercy on me...blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me...my sin is ever before me. Against you alone, have I sinned."
David does not try to blame others for his wrong doing, he admits to God that the sin is his own and our sins are of our own doing, too.
However, we can pray with David, "Create in me a new heart, O God, and put a right spirit within me."
Then comes that wonderful sense of release, of a heart being made pure. In gratitude we can cry out, "O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise!"
And those who are made pure in heart know they are truly blessed.
They Shall See God
It is the pure in heart who will be blessed to see God, and what joy that will be!
Our 'heart' is our very centre, the most essential part of our inner being. And in that depth, through God's grace we are blessed to see the divine glory of Almighty God. He created the vastness of the universe and yet He can make the smallest and most insignificant perfect.
Through our faith in God He will reveal Himself to us, so that when at last we go to dwell in His Heavenly Kingdom in eternity, our joy will be complete.
Blessed are the pure in heart
For they shall see our God.
Follow the Saviour, come apart
And see where He has trod.
Forgiven to live The Way
Freed from all sin's alloy
'Til in Heaven one blessed day
Our hearts o'erflow with joy.
© 2014 Bronwen Scott-Branagan