Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:8
A good dictionary will define pure as “conforming absolutely to a standard of quality; faultless.” When a thing is pure, it is unmixed, unalloyed, unadulterated, uncontaminated or undefiled by anything foreign to itself. Depending upon the context, it can take on such senses as clear, entire, true, perfect, sterling, chaste, immaculate, spotless, untainted, good, moral, impeccable, honorable, principled, ethical, guiltless, flawless, sincere and many more. St. Augustine explains that, “the eyes by which God is seen are within the heart.” Indeed how we see God, depend on the condition of the heart. The heart is central to this because in the Bible the heart stands for the seat, source, reservoir and instigator of our thoughts, attitudes, desires, character and motivation. Matthew 15:16-20 declares, “…But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” Obviously, the quality of the heart is the issue in this beatitude. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart of man is desperately wicked.” The first thing we learn from this beatitude is that Jesus is concerned with our heart. It is not enough to clean up our act on the outside. The heart is what you are, in the secrecy of your thought and feeling, which nobody knows, but God. Beloved in Christ, what you are at the invisible root matters as much to God as what you are at the visible branch. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). So the heart is utterly crucial to Jesus. What we are in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what He cares about most. Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some bad habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because we have such dirty hearts that need to be purified. A pure heart is a heart that has nothing to do with falsehood. It is painstakingly truthful and free from deceitfulness. Purity of heart is no deception, no double-mindedness, or divided allegiance.
As such true conversion is a change of heart. Little wonder the Psalmist would pray “Create in me a new heart.” To be “born again” means regeneration of the heart, that is, to be born anew in the heart. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
Let us conclude today’s reflection with the word of God in Jeremiah 4:14, “O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?” Blessed are those who have been purified from the inside, for they will see God.
- Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me according to your word in Psalm 51:10 in the name of Jesus (Take seriously).
- Dear Lord, inflame my hearts and my inmost beings with the Fire of Your Holy Spirit that I may serve you with chaste body and pure mind, in the name of Jesus.
- Purify the eyes of my heart and help me to keep the focus of my mind on You O Jesus – and develop in me I pray, thoughts, words, deeds and motives that are pure in Your sight and that will honour Your Holy name.
Exercise: Take the prayer against evil thoughts in Section B.
Memory Verse: Proverbs 22:11