Pure in heart…that’s a tough standard, and when I think about what purity meant in Jesus’ time, the rigorous standards for internal and external cleanliness in order to be acceptable God, it seems like Jesus is setting the bar pretty high. Most days I’ve been angry, irritated, annoyed, grumpy, mean-spirited, and downright cranky before eight o’clock in the morning (and anyone who’s ever tried to get a six-year-old to school on time will know exactly from whence I speak). A pure heart seems like a dream.
But then I start thinking about what pure of heart might mean to God, not to me. According to Jesus, those who are pure of heart “see God”. Since the idea of being pure of heart is making my head hurt, I tried working at this backwards by asking myself what helps me see God.
This question completely changes the Beatitude for me. Much easier.
I see God most consistently when I align myself, as best I can, with God’s purpose for me, and when I stray from that path, returning to it. Again and again, daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute, seeking to understand how I, with my own unique God-spark, am put to best use in the world, and then trying to do it. Not beating myself up when I fail, but turning back to prayer with a willing heart, and beginning again.
The more I get quiet and strive to discern the Spirit in my life, the more frequently I’m able to see God in my prayer life and in the world around me, so…maybe a pure heart is a willing heart, a heart that yearns to listen and struggles to obey. What do you think?