Blessed are the Pure in Heart

Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart1348985481

If you have been following these pages the last few weeks, you know that I have been preaching through the Sermon on the Mount found in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.  This is a summary, if you will, of the entire teaching of Jesus and a road map for how we should be living our lives.  Blessed are the Pure in Heart might just be the most difficult one of all of the teachings.

I remember as a child growing up in Quincy, that every so often one could smell the Ivory soap being made at the nearby Procter and Gamble plant just across the harbor in Weymouth.  Ivory soap is 99 44/100th percent pure that’s not bad for soap but what about us Christians is being 99 44/100th percent pure enough?

I believe this passage is pointing us in two directions there is spiritual purity and there is theological purity.  As an Orthodox Christian I believe that our theology has come to us from the Apostles and that is has not been comprised, as so many others have, along the way to make it easier for people.  The positions of the Church today are influenced by her past and not dictated to by the future or what the world wants.  In other words the faith is pure and undefiled.

Spiritual purity comes from our devotion, complete devotion, to the worship and service of God and also to accept no compromise.  The Pure of Heart are to practice all virtue, they are to have no conscious evil in themselves, and they are to live lives of temperance and obedience to the will of God.  This is not easy and some would even say it is impossible.  But nothing is impossible with God!

If our desire is only to walk in the will of God and to follow His commandments as have been revealed to us through His Church, then a person will be able to see God in everyone and everything but this takes work and practice.  We must confess our sins as the Church provides for us to do and not just actions but thoughts.

We turn to a latter portion of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew, verse twenty-eight where we read, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Now this would apply to women who look upon men as well.  Jesus is not talking about the natural attraction between a man and woman, for that is God given, but this is when it is taken to the next level and the other is seen merely as an object that can be used for our own purpose and desire.

Thoughts that come into our minds involuntarily are not sinful but temptations.  These thoughts only become sinful when we hang on to them and allow them to fester in our minds and hearts.  These thoughts normally lead to actions.

Confession is the place where these thoughts should be revealed to one’s Spiritual Father where guidance can be given on how to deal with them.  Confession is not a time to make excuses confession is a time for repentance and reconciliation and a willing heart is needed when one confesses and a willingness to change.

What is required of us and our spiritual life is the willingness to keep going and not to give up.  We start each day with the possibility to stay on the right path, but if we stray the Church provides us the ability to get back on that path, confession.

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