THE PURE IN HEART WILL SEE GOD
Today’s Sunday Gospel reading was about the blind man. We have heard a story of a man, who was born blind and who could not see this beautiful world the way we do. The Lord healed him and gave him the joy of seeing all this beauty. Just imagine, there is a big difference between being in total darkness and, on the opposite side, being able to see the beauty of this world at once. What a joy to see the people who are near and dear to you and whom you only used to hear, but now you can see them! To see everything you have been told about, while you have had nothing, but associations, as you were born blind. It’s one thing when a person can see and then loses his or her vision. It’s another thing when a person was born blind and he or she has no images at all. All of a sudden, this wonderful world opens up before him. This was a shock, but in a good sense of the word. This was joy.
He was born blind. We all come from Adam and Eve, and, as St. David the Prophet says, “in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps. 50:7). We all come damaged and blind into this world. We do not see the spiritual world. We do not even imagine how beautiful it is, because we have nothing to compare it with, as we are born being able to see what we can see. Only from saintly people, we learn that the world is wonderful. But we cannot imagine it, as we are born this way. We resemble that blind man, who could perceive something around him. He feels the things partially, as the people around him tell him about them. The same way the saints tell us about the beauty of the spiritual world. We trust them and their experience, but we do not see anything ourselves.
How should we come to see this spiritual world? The Lord says the following precise words to express the concept of such a vision, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt. 5:8). We try to lead moral and ethical lives, but we do not see God. And we ask, “What does the Lord mean? What is that, the purity of heart, which allows seeing the spiritual world and even seeing God in it? What is the point of this purity?”
I would like to tell you the most important thing, please, take my point: whether we get dirty with mud or chocolate, we will be dirty anyway, won’t we? Christians do not get this subtle matter. It seems to them that purity of heart consists only of purity from sinful thoughts. In fact, this purity is of a different kind; it is in chastity, in being free from impurities, both good and bad ones. That was the way of life of the Holy Fathers-Hesychasts, who recited the Jesus prayer and entered the state of contemplation. Even a pile of good thoughts may push God into the background, and we will be dirty as if from a chocolate, and our hearts will not be pure. It happens that some people stimulate having good thoughts throughout their spiritual life. There is even a saying, “you should always have good thoughts.” Nevertheless, thoughts remain thoughts. They all the same make a mess in your heart, and it will lose its chastity without impurities, both good and bad ones.
Maybe I say something complicated and you do not get me? Lord, help us, so that all of us can understand.
When we practice prayer, the silent noetic prayer, we should realize that we strive after the purity of heart, which allows us to see God. Our heart should be free not only from sinful thoughts, but also from anything, which is not God. Our mind and heart should contain the sole short, chaste and pure thought – Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. As soon as something else comes there, even something really good, it will make this chaste, very precise and short thought complicated and obscure. Crystal-clear water is the one free of impurities.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” When we pray, we should think neither about good, nor about bad things. We should hold, I even say “hold” instead of “think”, we should hold in our heart one short thought, which should transform into the Person – Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. After that, when you will be in Christ, the whole world will enter your heart with Christ, and you will pray for it. However, all this will happen in Christ. There are cases when you expect people to do some certain good thing, and he or she says, “Sorry, I have been thinking about something good, but forgot to do this simple thing.” These are the words of spiritual fanciers. We should be realistic and experience Christ in reality. And everything will come to us, as long as we are in Christ.