February

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God

Reading: John 15:1-17

One of the deepest wounds or gaps we encounter within ourselves and others is a lack of identity, of not knowing who we are and, therefore, not knowing how to truly relate to God and others. There is the gap between how other people see us or who we would like to believe we are and how we think or perceive ourselves to be. And the more we are wounded by life, or go by the route of ‘self or other-destruct’ in order to protect or defend our elusive ego, the wider the gap becomes. We feel alienated deep within from ourselves, from others and from God.

The trap that catches most of us is to ‘up’ the activity, striving harder to be a ‘better person.’ But it’s never enough and such a course leads only to exhaustion and greater lostness; our often unacknowledged shadow side is still there. Instead of opening ourselves to its invitation to be embraced as part of the complexity of who we are and a resulting letting go of pretending, we repress what we either don’t understand or don’t like. We have equated purity of heart with an either/or mentality – we either get ‘it’ all right by observing all the commandments or else we’re a failure and settle back in our cage believing that second best is all we’ll ever experience, that we’ll never have the freedom to soar.

What freedom comes from the realisation that it’s not about ‘doing’ more but simply about being, about letting go or maybe even simply’ letting be.’ When such a still point is reached, barely perceptibly there grows within us a unity that transcends the menacing either/or. It stems from the flow or the communion between ourselves and the One who loves us. It has something to do with a mutual abiding. In such a sacred space striving withers up and dies and, in its place, there emerges in all its gently refined beauty what Jesus calls purity of heart.

Confidence in who we are comes from really knowing, as opposed to protesting, that we are the beloved of Jesus. As the mutuality of belovedness deepens, we ‘see’ more clearly. In knowing who we are in him, we begin to see him in others also. We start to trust in a whole new way. As we let go of things and attitudes that have trapped and cluttered us, we become more aware, we detect deeper meaning – and we receive the promise. We ‘see’ God. And there’s more! One day we shall see him clearly with our own eyes and, because we have travelled this road here and now, when that day comes, he will not be a stranger.

Suggestions for Sharing:

  • What are the difficulties you encounter, if any, when you simply try to ‘be’?
  • In the gospels many people came to Jesus just as they were – with no pretence. In pairs think of one such, for example, Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, Peter, the man at the pool of Bethesda. If you were that person, what is it that you wish you didn’t have to bring with you? Why?