“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” - James 4:8
Thought for the day:
In his book, Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: "Only those who have surrendered their hearts completely to Jesus that he may reign in them alone. Only those whose hearts are undefiled by their own evil—and by their own virtues too…” will know purity of heart.
The journey to live as God intended us to live, is a journey towards single-minded devotion to God. It begins when we ask ourselves if the God we are worshipping is big enough and good enough to warrant our full attention and fidelity?
Have no doubt, the power, prestige and wealth that are so important in our world today, only serve to separate us from our loyalties towards ourselves, each other, and especially God.
If you want single-minded devotion of body, soul, mind, and spirit, practice the works of piety: read, meditate and study the scriptures, pray, fast, and attend worship regularly. Practice a healthy lifestyle, and share your faith with others.
Furthermore, practice the works of mercy by doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of others.
But remember, a pure heart is not solely about your relationship with God… it is also found in your faith relationship with others.
Clarence Jordan when speaking about the Sermon on the Mount said: “NOW when [people] attempt to live a double-life spiritually, that is, to appear pure on the outside but are not pure in the heart, they are anything but blessed. Their conflicting loyalties make them wretched, confused, tense. Having to keep their eyes on two masters at once makes them cross-eyed, and their vision is so blurred that neither image is clear.”
If you want single-minded devotion to God through body, soul, mind, and spirit, you should also share the sacraments, find someone of faith to hold you accountable to your expression of faith, and participate in bible studies…
If you want the blessings of a pure heart, you should also seek justice, work hard to end oppression and discrimination, and address the needs of the poor.
Our “purity in heart” towards God, is manifest in our treatment of everyone else. We are filled with joy because we are filled with the One who is our “All-in-All” and therefore no worldly thing, no other worldly praise can compare. Thus, we are angry with no man, and the peace that passeth all understanding is ours with God and others.
Prayer for the day:
Almighty God, purify my heart! May I alway approach You and others with the humility of divine servanthood. Amen.