The Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  [Mt. 5:8]

Saint Chrysostom: “Behold, again the prize is spiritual. Now He means either those who have attained to all virtue and are not conscious in themselves of any evil, or those whose conduct of life is in sober-mindedness. For there is nothing more needful to see God as this last virtue. Wherefore also Paul is saying, ‘Be pursuing peace with all and sanctification, without which no one shall see the Lord [Heb. 12:14].’ He is here speaking of such sight as is possible for a man to see. But because there are many who show mercy,…He added they be rich in all other virtue, which even Paul writes in the same sense to the Corinthians regarding the Macedonians who bore witness to their noble spirit in regard of their goods: ‘For according to their means, I bear witness, and beyond their means, they voluntarily gave, with much supplication entreating us for the grace and the fellowship of the ministry which is for the saints; and this they did not as we hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and to us by the will of God [2 Cor. 8:3-5].’” [Ib., P.G. 57:189, 190 (cols. 227, 228).]
 Saint Gregory of Nyssa: “The divine nature, whatever it may be in itself, surpasses every mental concept. For it is altogether inaccessible to reasoning and conjecture, nor has there been found any human faculty capable of perceiving the incomprehensible; for we cannot devise a means of understanding inconceivable things. The way that leads to the knowledge of the divine essence is inaccessible to thought. For He is invisible by nature, but becomes visible in His energies, for He may be contemplated in the things that are referred to Him….
      “Now I do not think that if the eye of one’s soul has been purified, he is promised a direct vision of God, but perhaps this marvellous saying may suggest what the Logos expresses more clearly when He says to others, ‘The kingdom of God is within you [Lk. 17:21].’ By this we should learn that if a man’s heart has been purified from every creature and all unruly affections, he will see the image of the divine nature in his own beauty,…for God imprinted on our nature the likeness of the glories of His own nature.” [Ib., Sermon 6, 18:146-148.]

(The Orthodox New Testament, Volume 1, Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, Colorado)

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