Friday 22nd June 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

May 26, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

In our treatment up until now of the eight Beatitudes, it has been demonstrated that the first three, in keeping with the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, are mainly associated with “flight from and deliverance from sin. The next two…are the beatitudes of the active life of a Christian who, freed from evil, engages in the pursuit of good with all the ardor of his heart” (Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, Christian Perfection and Contemplation [CPC], p. 333).
Moreover, we have seen that one’s hunger and thirst for righteousness or justice in the active apostolate “should not become a bitter zeal with regard to the guilty” (ibid.).
Rather, the Beatitude which we examined last week: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7), enables one — through a more intense activation of a particular gift of the Holy Spirit, that of counsel — to be an instrument of assistance which corrects yet encourages others rather than judging and condemning them.
“This union of justice and mercy,” asserts Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, “is one of the most striking signs of the presence of God in the soul; for He alone can intimately harmonize virtues that are apparently so contrary” (CPC, p. 333).
The reward promised to those who are merciful, who forgive those who have unjustly hurt them, is nothing less than mercy from God. On the other hand, “if we do not forgive those who have hurt us, our hearts remain closed to Jesus,” states Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ. “Their hardness renders them impenetrable to the merciful love of the Father” (Basic Catholic Catechism Course [BCCC], p. 105).
To be carefully noted, however, is that the mercy we grant others cannot be shallow and exterior—it must be from the heart if we are to obtain God’s mercy. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) declares, it is “in the depths of the heart that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession” (CCC, n. 2834).
We continue now with the sixth Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8), or as translated in the Douay Rheims version: “Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God.” Its special emphasis is “having a will that is open to knowing and to being transformed by God’s will”; it directly opposes the way of the world which “idolizes creatures and scoffs at chastity, true charity, and orthodoxy of faith” (BCCC, pp. 105-106).
According to St. Thomas, the purity of heart of the sixth Beatitude corresponds to entrance into the contemplative life. As expressed beautifully by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, a truly pure heart “is like the limpid waters of a lake in which the azure of the sky is reflected, or like a spiritual mirror in which the image of God is reproduced” (The Three Ages of the Interior Life [vol. 1], p. 169).
The “pure in heart,” according to the Catechism, “refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God’s holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity; chastity or sexual rectitude; love of truth and orthodoxy of faith” (CCC, n. 2518).
The Catechism cites a work by St. Augustine to show that the connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith is predicated by one’s sincere belief and adherence to the twelve articles of the Creed: “In believing they may be made subject to God; that being made subject, they may rightly live; that in rightly living, they may make the heart pure; that with the heart made pure, they may understand that which they believe” (De fide et symbolo 10, 25).
To unpack the meaning of the sixth Beatitude, it is crucial to understand the meaning of two words: heart and pure. In the language of Scripture, the very center of man’s affective, moral, and spiritual life is symbolized by the heart. In slightly different terms, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible defines the heart as “the hidden center of the person where one’s thoughts, words, actions, and emotions are said to originate” (p. 14).
In the biblical sense, then, the heart signifies “the depths of one’s being, where the person decides for or against God” (CCC, n. 368).
The Greek word for “pure” is katharos. According to William Barclay in the first volume of his commentary on The Gospel of Matthew (TGM), it “has a variety of usages, all of which have something to add to the meaning of this beatitude for Christian life” (pp. 105-106). The basic meaning is clean, unmixed, or unadulterated, which is why it is such a demanding beatitude (cf. TGM, p. 106). In its essence, true purity of heart means that the motive for any act — whether it be almsgiving, fasting, or prayer — must be untinged by any trace of self-interest, that it be totally devoid of any hint of hypocrisy (see Matt. 6:2-4).
“Such supernatural purity,” Fr. Hardon reminds us, “is the pre-condition for the vision of God” (BCCC, p. 106).
It was stated earlier that purity in heart refers primarily to three areas: charity, chastity, and orthodoxy (cf. CCC, n. 2518). Let us look at each area briefly, beginning with charity. The Psalmist tells us that true holiness is characteristic of the person “who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false” (Psalms 24:4).
In essence, this entails the radical living out of a life of virtue, of generously fulfilling the dictates of the two Great Commandments: “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…[and to] love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39). The human person becomes more “pure in heart” as he matures in charity — he “finds his perfection ‘in seeking and loving what is true and good’ (Gaudium et Spes, n. 15 § 2)” (CCC, n. 1704).
The second area, chastity or sexual rectitude, is perhaps what most people first think of when “purity in heart” is mentioned. This is not surprising since we live in a time that Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen describes as “an era of carnality which glorifies sex, hates restraint, identifies purity with coldness, innocence with ignorance, and turns men and women into some sort of gods…thinking only of themselves” (The Cross and the Beatitudes, p. 39).
Where does this lead and what is the remedy? “Because impurity has the capacity to darken our minds, weaken our wills, and pollute the senses,” declares Fr. Hardon, “all the baptized are obligated to practice chastity according to their state in life” (BCCC, p. 106).
Because we continue to be plagued by concupiscence as the result of the original sin of our first parents, the battle to live chaste lives demands constant vigilance, especially with regard to our senses, above all the eyes. Why? Simply stated, nothing is in the mind of man that was not first in his senses.
What enters the heart leads to impure desires, and desires lead to actions: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt. 15:19).
Fr. Hardon forcefully insists that “the battle against impurity is won through prayer, self-denial, and recourse to the Sacraments” (BCCC, p. 106). We absolutely need God’s grace to be victorious in the battle we wage against the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

The Beatific Vision

Lastly, let us consider love of truth and orthodoxy of faith. Keeping in mind the earlier-quoted maxim from St. Augustine, we are called “to give an intellectual assent of the mind to the truths which Christ teaches us through the Church” (BCCC, p. 107).
The more firmly our intellects and wills are conformed with and devoted to the Truth, the more clearly we will recognize sin for what it is: an offense against our all-loving Creator and an abuse of the freedom with which He has endowed us. As we become increasingly pure in heart, we become more and more free of all that is not God, who is Purity.
According to the thought of St. Augustine, the gift of understanding corresponds to the sixth Beatitude. Quoting St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas writes: “The sixth work of the Holy Ghost which is understanding, is applicable to the clean of heart, whose eye being purified, they can see what eye hath not seen” (STh II-II, Q. 8, art. 7).
The pure of heart permit their minds to be cleansed of all error, of all heretical thoughts. They are able to receive the truth of God in all its purity. Outside of the Beatific Vision, which will not be experienced until the life to come, they are most able to perceive God as He is.
What is the reward promised to the pure in heart? It is twofold: “At the end of time, they will attain to the Beatific Vision, the eternal joy of seeing God face-to-face. Even during their sojourn on earth the pure of heart . . . will experience even now aspects of beatific joy by means of an increase in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit” (BCCC, p. 107).
In other words, the truly “pure in heart” are enabled even in this life “to catch a glimpse of the divine beauty in proportion to the growing purity of our intention” (CPC, p. 333).

+ + +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is a Consecrated Marian Catechist.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Catholic bishops are quick to attack Trump but slow to advise their voters

(RNS) — President Trump had no sooner returned home from his historic photo op with Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore when he faced condemnation from a host of religious leaders, from Southern Baptists to African Methodists to Catholics,…Continue Reading

Bishop: Deny Communion to Border Agents. It’s a ‘Life Issue.’

Is enforcing U.S. immigration law a moral evil that demands excommunication? Or would a new proposal politicize the Eucharist, strengthen organized crime, and hurt even more migrant children? Roman Catholics must face these questions after Bishop Edward Weisburger of Tucson suggested “canonical…Continue Reading

Argentina steps closer to legalising abortion

Catholic Argentina’s lower house has backed a bill legalising abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. After a divisive debate lasting more than 22 hours, 129 members of the Chamber of Deputies voted in favour and 125 against while…Continue Reading

Pope Francis rejects German proposal for inter-communion

Vatican City, Jun 4, 2018 / 06:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- One month after Vatican and German delegates met in Rome to discuss a proposal put forward by German bishops to allow Protestant spouses in inter-denominational marriages to receive the Eucharist…Continue Reading

St. Paul archdiocese settlement is largest-ever in Catholic bankruptcy case

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has agreed to a $210 million settlement with 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse as part of its plan for bankruptcy reorganization, making it the second-largest U.S. payout…Continue Reading

Church’s teaching on male-only priesthood is ‘infallible’: Vatican doctrine chief

ROME, May 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The head of the Vatican office overseeing Church doctrine has insisted that the Church’s teaching on the male-only priesthood is “infallible,” and has offered a veiled rebuke of a prominent Cardinal who recently claimed the…Continue Reading

The revolt against Humanae Vitae continues to haunt us today

ROME, May 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — As in 2017, 2018 is also a year that is rich with important and significant anniversaries which we need to remember, because the roots of the present are found in the past. The best known…Continue Reading

Cardinal: Communion cannot be shared with non-Catholics like beer or cake

BUCKFASTLEIGH, England, May 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Protestants who want to receive Holy Communion should become Catholics, Cardinal Francis Arinze said this week, and added that “it is rather serious” to presume marriage can be dissolved for the purpose of…Continue Reading

Speaker Ryan Proposes a Return to Catholic Social Doctrine at Prayer Breakfast

Washington, D.C. – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Thursday about how he believed the answer to many of the political problems society faces today, including “moral relativism” and “tribalism,” can be found in Catholic…Continue Reading

Judge rules ‘transgender’ high-schooler should have been allowed opposite-sex bathroom

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia, May 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge has ruled that a Virginia high school should have allowed a gender-confused former student to use the restrooms designated for the opposite sex. Gavin Grimm is a female Gloucester High School…Continue Reading

One of the most ‘liberal abortion regimes’ if vote passes

Ireland will have one of the most liberal abortion regimes in Europe if Friday’s referendum is passed, the No campaign warned during its final press conference on Wednesday. With the broadcasting ban set to come into force on the eve of the…Continue Reading

Pope asks for prayers for Catholics in China

Pope Francis has appealed to all Christians to be spiritually close to Catholics who live in China, and to pray they may live their faith in full communion with the Holy See. Speaking during the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope recalled…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

GOOD NEWS . . .Fr. Phillips Exonerated

We have confirmation that after several weeks the Congregation of the Resurrection has indeed concluded its hearings and investigation of the accusations directed against Father Phillips. An independent Review Board of three public-spirited leaders from the Chicago area, who are not members of St. John Cantius Church, was constituted. Thereafter, the Review Board interviewed the detractors and several witnesses, persons who personally know the accusers, and other individuals who

Cardinal Brandmüller Questions Francis’ Claim Not to Have Received the Dubia Before Publication

Today, on 20 June, Reuters published a new interview with Pope Francis. Although the interview is making headlines because of the Pope’s criticism of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, it also contains another controversial assertion: the pope surprisingly now claims that he only heard about the Dubia (concerning his document Amoris Laetitia) “from the newspapers” — a claim that Dubia cardinal Walter Brandmüller has now questioned in comments to OnePeterFive. From the text of the interview: The pope also commented on internal criticism of his…Continue Reading

US Cardinal removed after ‘credible’ allegation he abused a minor

NEW YORK, June 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A high-profile liberal U.S. cardinal has been removed from public ministry for credible and substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former priest of the Archdiocese of New York and cardinal emeritus of Washington D.C., “is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry,” says a news release from New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. “The review board found the allegations credible and substantiated,” Dolan’s statement said. “The Vatican…Continue Reading

Trump Admin Withdraws U.S. From UN Human Rights Council That Pushed Global Right to Abortion

The Trump Administration announced today that the United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council. That’s good news for pro-life advocates as the so-called human rights organization pushed for a global right to kill unborn children in abortions. According to news reports: The Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the United Nations Human Rights Council, with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley calling the 47-member council “a protector of human rights abusers, an

Conway: ‘As a mother, as a Catholic,’ no one likes migrant family separation policy

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday “nobody likes” the Trump administration’s policy of separating families who cross the border illegally, but indicated President Trump will not act unilaterally to change it. “As a mother, as a Catholic, as somebody who’s got a conscience … I will tell you that nobody likes this policy,” Conway said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Congress passed the law that it is a

Advertisement(2)

Holy Bashfulness Vs. Shame By ALICE von HILDEBRAND

My dear young friend, Years ago, Cardinal O’Boyle was discussing some sexual matters with a group of men; all of a sudden the cardinal noticed that a young girl had joined the group, and interrupting his talk, he said to her: “Please excuse me.” But he was immediately rudely rebuked by one of the men…Continue Reading

On The Role Of Beauty In The Spiritual Life

By JAMES MONTI In recent years, thanks largely to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the role of beauty in the sacred liturgy — and the appalling chasm created by its absence — has been a topic of frequent discussion among those concerned with a restoration of the sacred in divine worship — the beauty of the…Continue Reading

Civil Court… Rules Fulton Sheen’s Remains Can Go To Peoria

NEW YORK (CNA/EWTN News) — The Superior Court of New York ruled June 8 in favor of Joan Sheen Cunningham, who had petitioned to move the body of her uncle, Venerable Fulton Sheen, to the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria. The body of the late archbishop is currently in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New…Continue Reading

Lindsey Graham’s Unjustifiable Call for War

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributed this column.) + + + Question: Has North Korea reinvaded South Korea since it signed an armistice 65 years ago suspending the Korean War? Answer: No. Question: Why? Answer: It has been deterred. Question: Would it…Continue Reading

Love And Cruelty In Ireland

By DONALD DeMARCO On the night of August 21, 1879, Mary, the Mother of God, appeared to a group of ordinary people in the village of Knock, County Mayo. She was flanked by St. Joseph on her right and St. John the Evangelist on her left. She said nothing and was described as being deep…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

None Dare Call It Treason

By DEACON JAMES TONER (Editor’s Note: Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He serves in the Diocese of…Continue Reading

The Glorious St. John The Baptist

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of The Nativity Of St. John The Baptist (YR B) Readings Isaiah 49:1-6 Acts 13:22-26 Luke 1:57-66, 80 Today we celebrate the birth of a man who is important to us in a variety of ways. St. John the Baptist is, according to our Lord’s own words, the greatest man born of woman. For this…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Will Marriages Outside A Church Keep Couples In The Church?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church makes exceptions to its own rules; this is well known. There are God’s rules, such as the Commandments, exceptions to which cannot be granted by man. And then there are the regulations promulgated by the Church, using the authority given her by the Lord, in order to better facilitate the pastoral work of…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ . . . Understanding Confession More Deeply

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 33 When Jesus gave the apostles the power to bind and unbind things here on Earth (Matt. 18:18), He gave them authority over His flock. Hence, from the very first century, Popes and bishops passed laws to be observed by the people. Consequently, considering the seriousness of sin, and the risk many take for…Continue Reading

Man’s Desire For Happiness

By DON FIER Significant to note from last week’s consideration of the eighth Beatitude: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10), is that the reward promised is identical to that of the first Beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Cafasso

By CAROLE BRESLIN Truman Capote wrote: “Love is a chain of love as nature is a chain of life.” More important, grace is a chain of grace with one grace leading to another. And holiness a chain of holiness as God pours His love through one person to another, as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mediatrix of all graces, pours…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph The Hymnographer

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the late sixth and early seventh century, the glories of Gregorian chant began to develop in Rome. Then, in the thirteenth century, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote beautiful hymns to celebrate Corpus Christi and to honor the Real Presence. In the Eastern Church, around Constantinople, they also sang hymns, but it was not until the late ninth…Continue Reading