Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Purity of heart is singleness of purpose.
When I am pure of heart, I am neither distracted nor confounded by myriad things, but rather I want, I will one thing. In a word, to be pure of heart is to be free.
I think of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary:
(Jesus) entered a village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks. So, she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10.38-42)
When, like Mary, in any given moment or moments, I live with singular focus on the Jesus’ teaching, then I see God. I behold the unfolding of God’s revelation or, in personal terms, I discern more clearly and concretely the meaning, the purpose of my life.
Another thought occurs…
As I live in this world, it is necessary to contemplate the meaning and manner of purity in heart in my relationship not only with God, but with all others.
This, and it is, for me, a paradox, is what I have discerned…
To be pure in heart is to believe, to know that within me beats the heart of God who created me and who, therefore, always has been and is one with me. And God is one with me even when I am distracted and confounded my myriad things, usually my very human and selfish pursuits; which means that I, in my conscious will, have chosen not to be one with God.
Nevertheless, as God is greater than I, even when I depart from God’s way, God’s purity of purpose, that is, oneness with me, remains. Because of God and God alone, I can be…I am pure in heart.
It is this heart that I hold out to all others, even those with whom I disagree; that we might be one in our honest and humble recognition of our indisputable and indelible common humanity. Thus, oneness never is or can be rooted in our agreements, but rather always transcends our disagreements.
And this desire, I believe, God-revealed and God-given, to behold in “the other” our commonality of humanity and to reach across chasms of difference is one of the chiefest meanings and purposes of my life.
Illustration: Christ at the Home of Mary and Martha (1905), Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937)