Saturday, March 27, 2010

Purity of Heart

Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” So, since I want to see God, I want to be pure in heart; I want to actualize this Beatitude in my life. The heart is a major emphasis in the Bible. The heart the Bible speaks of is not the emotional center spoken of in contemporary culture. Rather it is the spiritual center of the human being; the Bible recognizes the heart as the preeminent human dimension. It integrates all the other human faculties. Reason, intuition, and the will are all informed by the heart. Although the heart radiates throughout us, permeating our entire being, it has mysterious depths beyond the reach of our everyday thinking. “Who can understand it?” Jeremiah asked about the heart. God replied, “I, the Lord, search the heart and examine the mind….” God penetrates both our conscious and unconscious mind and knows the depths of our heart. It is in these depths that the essence of the human being is rooted.

This is why I believe we are called to practice some form of the “prayer of the heart” such as the Jesus Prayer or Centering. Such prayer takes us into the depths of our heart beyond our mental reasoning and emotional variations, opening us to the presence of God there. Over time, this kind of deep prayer stabilizes us in our awareness of and connection to the Spirit and enables us to respond to God’s unfolding action in the present moment. We are able to see God's presence and action in our daily lives and live lives that more and more express our growing unity with him.


living stones said...

Rickey, I like these Biblical quotes and how you explain them in the first part. I deeply appreciate the way you encourage us to "practice" them in the second part. I am so grateful to share this journey into God with you and other brothers and sisters who are wanting to grow too.

Paul Corrigan said...

Yes, this is what I want too.

Bill said...

One of the areas I have continually been challenged to work on is speaking words of affirmation, encouragement and gratitude. A key verse for me is "out of the heart the mouth speaks".

It is truly out of a transformed heart that our lives are expressed (speaks). As Richard Foster says "Prayer is not gritting our teeth and forcing change but falling in love with God over and over again". (not exactly quoted but the meaning is close).

As I learn to fall in love with God over and over again, it draws me to those places of silence where I am resting in the presence and in those places the Holy Spirit does the deep work in the depths of my heart.

From that "my life speaks"


Daniel said...

Rickey, I especially liked this: "Over time, this kind of deep prayer stabilizes us in our awareness of and connection to the Spirit and enables us to respond to God's unfolding action in the present moment." This is an encouraging reminder to me of the value of my daily prayer practice, especially when it doesn't always 'feel' like "deep prayer." Without such a practice, I might often neglect to care for this very real part of my being, and, meanwhile, miss out on opportunities to gradually-but-meaningfully deepen my relationship with God. Thank you for the beautiful reminder!

John Orzechowski said...

Rickey, thanks for this reflection. It strikes me that purity of heart is more than just avoiding those things that we deem impure--impure thoughts, attitudes, etc. Rather, this seems to suggest that purity is a deeper, comprehensive condition of our being.

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