Tonight we continue our progress through the Beatitudes to: Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Please review the questions posed by John Stott in The Beatitudes: Developing Spiritual Character as he works through what it means to be “pure in heart.”
I have attached the Sermon of St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-394) on this Beatitude. pp.143-153 For Gregory, the promise of this Beatitude presents a great contradiction. Jesus says that we will see God, but the Scriptures generally say otherwise. God tells Moses that “no man shall see me and live.” Ex. 33:20. John concludes the prologue to his Gospel by telling us that “no man has seen God at any time.” John 1:18. And, Paul confirms the inaccessibility of seeing God when he writes “Whom no man has even seen or can see.” 1 Tim. 6:16. The question, therefore, is how to reconcile these teachings with the promise.
Gregory resolves the conflict by setting forth those means by which we indirectly see God. First, Gregory says that “it is possible to see Him who made all things in wisdom by way of inference through the wisdom that appears in the universe.” p.146. In other words, although the pure in heart cannot see God’s Essence, we can see God’s “energy”, such as his Goodness or his sanctifying Grace. Once our hearts are pure, our eyes are open to see the Divine throughout all of his Creation and especially his interaction with us.
Second, Gregory writes that the person who is pure of heart can see the image of God within himself. Luke 17:21. “For God imprinted on [our nature] the likeness of the glories of His own Nature, as if moulding the form of a carving into wax.” p.148. This Divine Image within ourselves, however, is hidden under the filth that has been stuck to our hearts, like rust covering pure iron. However, once the filth and rust have been removed, this imprint of the Divine Image shines forth. And, as Gregory explains, throughout the remainder of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells how to remove this filth and rust by keeping the root of sin (pride, anger, avarice, lust, etc.) at bay.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is baked potato bar. Discussion about 6:45. Please bring a friend. Hope to see you here.
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, *Psalm 125
which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever.
The hills stand about Jerusalem; *
so does the Lord stand round about his people, from this time forth for evermore.
The scepter of the wicked shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the just, *
so that the just shall not put their hands to evil.
Show your goodness, O Lord, to those who are good *
and to those who are true of heart.
As for those who turn aside to crooked ways, the Lord will lead them away with the evildoers; *
but peace be upon Israel.