Blessed are the pure in heart…they shall see God.
When faced with this beatitude I reckon we count ourselves out. Because who isn’t a hullabaloo of yearning and longing? We are grey hounds chasing a mechanical rabbit in a race around the track, running and running – but after what? Even if we caught the thing, a few sniffs later and we’d wander off distracted by something else.
I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
only to be with you…
but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.U2 – the Joshau tree
Human beings are all about insatiable desire. And so is this beatitude.
a restless heart…
So this beatitude is about us. Purity of heart is not ridding ourselves of desire. It’s about following our deepest desire. What do we truly desire? Superficial satisfaction never lasts for long. Our satisfaction is always overrun by something we can’t control, passing time, chance and circumstance. In the company of Jesus we discover that beneath our superficial desires we yearn and long for something more – for someone…
You made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you…”Augustine, the confessions: book
deep calls to deep…
The deepest centre of ourselves cannot be satisfied by anything less than God. The deep and secret interior of our heart calls out in yearning, longing. You catch yourself calling in the presence of something beautiful. You catch yourself calling in the presence of loss. Only God is big enough to satisfy a human heart by keeping us on the journey from where we’ve been towards our deepest desire.
Deep calls to deepPsalm 42
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
Getting to know God is a journey were the joyful anticipation of what’s next to be learned, next to be received, next to be released, happens in a way that makes us more ourself. It’s not jus that we learned things about God. We are changed in the presence of God. That journey of knowing God never arrives as a final destination. We never say, well that’s that then. With God there is always more. God is inexhaustable. We can’t get to the end of God. There is always a further horizon. Knowing God and being known by God is like dropping a pebble into fathomless ocean of love. It endlessly falls.
Along tough roads, through hard questions, in sore tear falls, we are moving towards our hearts desire: Knowing God is what we most want and need.
No thing, no place, no human being can meet our deepest desire in themselves. But in somethng, in a place, in a person, the God we are made for comes to draw us deeper into him. And sometimes the experience of that will take your breath away and sometimes it will be as ordinary as getting up and getting on with your day, caring for your family, trusting God’s care is with you one more step along the way.
the desire of God
To be put in touch with our deepest desire for God is to be put in touch with God’s desire for us. God desires us. That’s what I hear in Rowan Williams words:
The whole story of creation, incarnation and our incorporation into the fellowship of Christ’s body tells us that God desires us, as if we were God…We are created…so that we may grow into the wholehearted love of God by learning that God loves us as God loves God.Rowan Williams – the body’s grace
God desires us as if we were God.
blessed are the pure in heart – they shall see God…
…See God in the beauty of the world…See God by coming home to themselves… See God in the fragility, hurt, care and laughter of our neighbour… See God in the tired and sore as much as the peaceful… See God in the tear drop as much as the smile See God as a pure love that desires us.
Blessed are those who follow after what we are made for – to know and be known by God. That’s where Jesus wants to take us. That’s purity of heart.
the power and the glory…
I wrote the song above some time ago. It’s central character is borrowed from Graham Greene’s “Whisky Priest” in the novel, the power and the glory. The priest is a man of conflicted desire – maybe like you and I -trying to work his way through the distration of what he knows can never satisfy. Wound and fear are conspirators against him, and yet he finds a way of unheroically trying to find what’s he is looking for. A bit like you and me?