Tuesday 18th June 2019

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

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Vatican’s doctrinal office expected to release document on gender theory

Vatican City, Jun 14, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- The Vatican’s doctrinal office is preparing a document which will address Church teaching and the anthropology of the human person in the context of so-called gender theory, according to a Vatican…Continue Reading

Illinois bishops oppose abortion law, disagree on Communion for pro-choice lawmakers

Baltimore, Md., Jun 14, 2019 / 04:00 am (CNA).- While two Illinois bishops are unified in their strong opposition to the state’s new abortion law, they differ on the question of prohibiting to receive Holy Communion the Catholic state legislators…Continue Reading

‘The Decalogue’ for Nuncios (Pope Francis’ Full Address to Meeting of Papal Representatives)

The following is a ZENIT working full English translation of the discourse Pope Francis prepared and delivered today, June 13, 2019, to all the Papal Representatives, meeting in the Vatican from June 12 – 15,  2019: **** Dear Brethren, I’m…Continue Reading

Vatican rejects idea that people can ‘choose one’s gender’

The Vatican on Monday released an official document that rejects the idea that a transgender person has the right to “choose one’s gender,” according to reports. The Washington Post reported that the Catholic Church said in the document that the right to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell awaits verdict after prosecutor stumbles in appeal hearing

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The two-day hearing in Cardinal George Pell’s appeal before the Victorian Court of Appeal against his conviction for alleged child sex abuse in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1990s ended Thursday with a positive impression for the defense.…Continue Reading

Archdiocese of Saint Paul-Minneapolis announces synod

St. Paul, Minn., Jun 7, 2019 / 06:04 pm (CNA).- Minnesota’s largest diocese will hold a synod— a meeting designed to help the bishop shepherd his local flock— during Pentecost Weekend 2021, Archbishop Bernard Hebda announced yesterday. It will be the…Continue Reading

Jerry Falwell, Jr., Rev. Kevin Cusick and the Satanic War Against Sex

Some entity or other doesn’t want me writing. First, my carpal tunnel has flared up something fierce. It hurts me to pet the beagles, much less to peel them off the dirty plates they’re licking inside the dishwasher. My favorite…Continue Reading

Biden Buckles, Flips on Hyde Amendment Under Pressure From Democrats

Former Vice President Joe Biden reversed his position on the Hyde Amendment Thursday after facing intense backlash from within his own party. Biden, while speaking in Atlanta, first reaffirmed his support for Roe v. Wade

Biden names pro-LGBT ‘Equality Act’ as top priority if elected

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Passing the radical pro-LGBT and pro-abortion Equality Act “will be the first thing I ask to be done” if elected president, Joe Biden said at the annual Human Rights Campaign gala Saturday. The…Continue Reading

Pontifical university bans top scholar who accused Pope Francis of heresy in open letter

ROME, May 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the English-speaking world’s greatest living scholars of Classical philosophy was told he has been barred from all Pontifical Universities after he signed an Open Letter along with a number of prominent clergymen and scholars…Continue Reading

Pope Francis responds to heresy accusation, China concerns

Pope425

Vatican City, May 29, 2019 / 10:05 am (CNA).- Pope Francis said he reacted “with a sense of humor” to the accusation of heresy made against him earlier this month. “It does not hurt me at all. Hypocrisy and lies…Continue Reading

Parish priest assails Catholic prep school’s decision to allow same-sex union announcements

The pastor of a Catholic parish in the Washington suburbs has publicly slammed the decision this month by Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School to allow announcements of same-sex unions in its magazine for graduates, calling it a scandal that was a…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 . . .

Archbishop Viganò clarifies points arising from new interview

ROME, June 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In the wake of two recent pieces in the Washington Post relating to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, an article and an extended interview (the first the archbishop has granted since his initial allegations concerning Pope Francis), renewed insinuations and smears have been directed at the former diplomat of the Holy See. In his June 10 interview, the archbishop claims that the actions so far taken against McCarrick are chiefly…Continue Reading

Pope backs carbon pricing to stem global warming and appeals to deniers

Carbon pricing, via taxes or emissions trading schemes, is used by many governments to make energy consumers pay for the costs of using the fossil fuels that contribute to global warming * Pope Francis tells top energy executives to act now * Pontiff urges world to heed scientific findings

U.S Bishops Approve the Revised Passage on the Death Penalty for the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults

BALTIMORE— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the revised passage on the death penalty for the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults. The full body of bishops approved the revised passage by a vote of 194 to 8 with 3 abstentions at their Spring General Assembly taking place in Baltimore, June 11-14. On August 2, 2018, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released the Holy Father’s revision to the teaching on the…Continue Reading

Democrats Fail to Get Enough Votes to Force Americans to Fund Abortions

House Democrats failed to garner enough support Monday for a measure to force American taxpayers to pay for abortions. The Washington Examiner reports the amendment came from a group of progressive Democrats who want to remove the Hyde Amendment from a Congressional spending bill. The Hyde Amendment prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions in Medicaid. The Democrats pushing the measure were U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, Barbara Lee, of California, Pramila Jayapal, of Washington, Diana DeGette,…Continue Reading

Cdl Burke, Bp Schneider issue ‘declaration of truths’ to correct rampant ‘doctrinal confusion’ in Church

ROME, June 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, together with several other bishops, have issued a public declaration of truths of the faith to remedy the “almost universal doctrinal confusion and disorientation” endangering the spiritual health and eternal salvation of souls in the Church today

Advertisement(2)

Floral Artist… Heads Back To U.S. Supreme Court To Protect Her Freedom

OLYMPIA — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing floral artist Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take her case after the Washington Supreme Court ruled against her on June 6. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the state High Court’s previous ruling against Stutzman and ordered it to reconsider…Continue Reading

Canada And The Erosion Of Conscience

By DONALD DeMARCO Pro-abortionists have consistently argued that a woman should have the freedom to follow her conscience. Granted that this notion of conscience is incomplete since it may not be properly formed, nonetheless it gave pro-life people the assurance that this right to one’s conscience would protect doctors who are opposed to abortion from…Continue Reading

Are Abortion & Gay Rights American Values?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life,” said Vice President Joe Biden in 2012. “I accept my church’s position on abortion as . . . doctrine. Life begins at conception. . . . I just refuse to impose that on others.” For four…Continue Reading

New Vatican Document . . . Says Gender Theory Is “Cultural And Ideological Revolution”

VATICAN CITY (CNA) — A Vatican department has issued a sweeping denunciation of so-called gender theory, and affirmed the principles of human dignity, difference, and complementarity. “In all such [gender] theories, from the most moderate to the most radical, there is agreement that one’s gender ends up being viewed as more important than being of…Continue Reading

Archbishop DiNardo… Accused Of Mishandling Clerical Sexual Misconduct Case

HOUSTON (CNA) — The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference has been accused of mishandling an allegation of sexual coercion made against his former vicar general. A Texas woman says that Daniel Cardinal DiNardo permitted the priest, who she says sexually coerced her, to transfer to another diocese and continue in ministry, after she was…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Latest From Fr. Cusick . . . Modesty: A Woman’s Voice

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK For readers following “the tweet hated round the world” story, more on the aftermath in this week’s column. Being removed a degree from Twitter after deactivating my personal account, and looking back at comments on the social media platform, is like being dead. People talk about me in the third person: “We miss him,” “Hope…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Commenting on the Vatican accord last year to give the Communist regime in Red China a say in the naming of new Catholic bishops, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City offered these trenchant comments in a recent bulletin: “While the Holy See invokes two thousand years of diplomatic experience, China beats…Continue Reading

The Barbarians Have Won

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Deacon Toner has contributed numerous columns to The Catholic Thing, Crisis Magazine, and The Wanderer. He serves in the Diocese of Charlotte, N.C. This is a two-part article.) + + + Précis: Known as barbarians or heathens, the powerful enemies of the Church are both internal and external. There are many…Continue Reading

Jesus Is The Wisdom Of God

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of The Most Holy Trinity (YR C) Readings: Prov. 8:22-34 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15   In the first reading today we see the personification of Wisdom. We are told Wisdom was present with God before the Most High began His work of creation. The only way someone could be present with God before “the beginning…Continue Reading

The Joy And Beauty Of Sacrificial Love

By JAMES MONTI There is something profoundly intimate about chapters 13 to 17 of the Gospel of St. John — the apostle’s meticulous account of Our Lord’s Farewell Discourse at the Last Supper. For those who might wonder where the Sacred Heart of Jesus is mentioned in the Gospels, they can find it in these pages. For it is here,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Marcellin Joseph Benedict Champagnat

By CAROLE BRESLIN The end of the 18th century in France was a time of persecution for the Catholic Church with many priests and religious driven from convents and rectories, and others put to death. As more and more priests were martyred, the Church searched for good young men to replace them. In the history of the Church, there have…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ferdinand III, King Of Castile

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of Third Order Franciscans contains some surprising persons. It includes Popes Leo XIII, Pius X, John XXIII, among others. It also includes St. Thomas More, St. Francis de Sales, and a number of royalty such as St. Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary, St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal, and St. Louis IX, King of France. In addition,…Continue Reading