Author Topic: What is purity of heart?  (Read 482 times)

Offline Josephine87

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What is purity of heart?
« on: February 20, 2019, 10:53:23 PM »
It is mentioned in the Beatitudes and also the Total Consecration to Mary, which quotes the former. Is there a longer exposition on this virtue? And how to cultivate it?
"Begin again." -St. Teresa of Avila

“My present trial seems to me a somewhat painful one, and I have the humiliation of knowing how badly I bore it at first. I now want to accept and to carry this little cross joyfully, to carry it silently, with a smile in my heart and on my lips, in union with the Cross of Christ. My God, blessed be Thou; accept from me each day the embarrassment, inconvenience, and pain this misery causes me. May it become a prayer and an act of reparation." -Elisabeth Leseur
 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2019, 11:32:51 PM »
Simplicity.

Msgr. Pope has an article about it, quoting St. Thomas and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange

http://blog.adw.org/2015/08/blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart-a-reflection-on-an-often-misunderstood-beatitude-and-virtue/
"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.
 
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 02:55:13 AM »
Simplicity.

Msgr. Pope has an article about it, quoting St. Thomas and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange

http://blog.adw.org/2015/08/blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart-a-reflection-on-an-often-misunderstood-beatitude-and-virtue/

That's tremendous. 

Here's a little more from St. Thomas:

Quote from: Summa Theologica II IIae Q7
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3007.htm

Article 2. Whether faith has the effect of purifying the heart?
...
Peter said (Acts 15:9): "Purifying their hearts by faith."

... A thing is impure through being mixed with baser things: for silver is not called impure, when mixed with gold, which betters it, but when mixed with lead or tin. Now it is evident that the rational creature is more excellent than all transient and corporeal creatures; so that it becomes impure through subjecting itself to transient things by loving them. From this impurity the rational creature is purified by means of a contrary movement, namely, by tending to that which is above it, viz. God. The first beginning of this movement is faith: since "he that cometh to God must believe that He is," according to Hebrews 11:6. Hence the first beginning of the heart's purifying is faith; and if this be perfected through being quickened by charity, the heart will be perfectly purified thereby.
...
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 09:02:49 AM »
He seems to allude to this in his Prayer After Holy Communion:

Quote
I give Thee thanks, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed, not for any merits of mine, but solely out of the condescension of Thy mercy, to satisfy me, a sinner, Thine unworthy servant, with the precious Body and Blood of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that this holy Communion be not to me a condemnation unto punishment, but a saving plea unto forgiveness. May it be unto me the armor of faith and the shield of good will. May it be the emptying out of my vices, the extinction of all concupiscence and lust, the increase of charity and patience, of humility and obedience, and of all virtues; a strong defense against the snares of all enemies, visible and invisible; the perfect quieting of all my evil impulses, both fleshly and ghostly; a firm cleaving unto Thee, the one true God; and a pledge of a blessed destiny. And I beseech Thee, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bring me, a sinner, to that ineffable banquet, where Thou, with Thy Son and the Holy Ghost, art to Thy saints true light, fullness of content, eternal joy, gladness without alloy and perfect bliss. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

It makes sense that Faith would begin, but Charity perfects. Love focuses the soul on God, hence its ability to "cover a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8).

To that, Haydock's notes quote Witham:
"Ver. 8. Charity covereth a multitude of sins. It is a great means to atone for them; or it may signify, that a charitable mind excuses many sins in others. Wi."

Regarding Matthew 5:8:

Quote
Ver. 8. The clean of heart are either those who give themselves to the practice of every virtue, and are conscious to themselves of no evil, or those who are adorned with the virtue of chastity. For nothing is so necessary as this purity in such as desire to see God. Keep peace with all and chastity, says S. Paul, for without this none can see God. Many are merciful to the poor and just in their dealings, but abstain not from luxury and lust. Therefore our Saviour, wishing to shew that mercy was not sufficient, adds, that if we would see God, we must also be possessed of the virtue of purity. S. Chry. hom. xv. By this, we shall have our heart exempt from all disordinate love of creatures, and shall be exclusively attached to God. A. — The clean of heart, i.e. they who are clean from sin: who are pure in body and mind, says S. Chrysostom. It seems to be a particular admonition to the Jews, who were mostly solicitous about an outward and legal cleanness. Wi.

Psalm 23:3-5:
Quote
Ver. 3.  Place.  The punishment of the Bethsamites, and of Oza, had filled all with alarm, so that David durst not introduce the ark into his palace.  1 K. vi. 19.  C. --- Though Christ created and redeemed all, yet only the just shall inherit felicity.  W.

Ver. 4.  Heart, whose faith and intentions are pure, as well as their actions. --- Vain, by neglecting good works, (S. Jer.) or seeking after trifles; (S. Aug.) or rather, according to the Heb. "who hath not sworn in vain by his soul."  2 Cor. i. 23. and 1 K. i. 26.  To take the name of God in vain, means to swear falsely.  C. --- Prot. "who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity;" to swell with pride, (H.) or to swear by idols.  Pr. in disc. --- To his, &c.  This is not in Heb. but must be understood, (C.) as a person can only intend to deceive men.  So Duport, who follows the Heb. so exactly in his Greek psalms in verse, (Bert.) reads, "Nor sworn an oath, that men he might deceive."  H. --- These two verses contain an abridgment of the gospel, and shew that something better than Mount Sion is understood.  Heb. xii. 22.  When we approach to the tabernacle, and to the sacred mysteries, we ought to put these terrible questions to ourselves.  Bert. --- We must carefully employ ourselves in good works, (W.) by which alone we can make our calling and election sure.  1 Pet. i. 10.  H.

Ver. 5.  Blessing.  David seems to have given the eulogium of Obededom, whose example taught him that the ark was only terrible to the wicked; and that it was a source of blessings to the just.  2 K. vi. 11. --- Mercy.  Heb. "justice."  But these terms are used synonymously, and denote that God gives a just reward; "when he crowns our merits, he crowns his own gifts."  S. Aug.  Theod.  C. --- Mercy goes before; good works must follow, to obtain eternal glory.  W.

So Christ seems to be saying that externals are not good enough, because they only indicate one part. For example a man may be outwardly just in his dealings, but if he seethes with avarice internally it's ultimately pointless.

St. Thomas' commentary and prayer together would indicate that Charity is the actual wellspring of the truth of the virtue. Otherwise, it's mixed and useless. Hence, Msgr. Pope's contention that "pure" gets lost in our modern understanding and when we look at the Greek, Katharos, we have a better understanding:

Quote
Strong's Concordance
katharos: clean (adjective)
Original Word: καθαρός, ά, όν
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: katharos
Phonetic Spelling: (kath-ar-os')
Definition: clean (adjective)
Usage: clean, pure, unstained, either literally or ceremonially or spiritually; guiltless, innocent, upright.
HELPS Word-studies

2513 katharós (a primitive word) – properly, "without admixture" (BAGD); what is separated (purged), hence "clean" (pure) because unmixed (without undesirable elements); (figuratively) spiritually clean because purged (purified by God), i.e. free from the contaminating (soiling) influences of sin.
https://biblehub.com/greek/2513.htm

"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.
 
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Offline Josephine87

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 03:55:59 PM »
Thank you, that is so helpful!  Growing up, purity always had a purely sexual connotation in my mind.  I better understand what is meant by it now.
"Begin again." -St. Teresa of Avila

“My present trial seems to me a somewhat painful one, and I have the humiliation of knowing how badly I bore it at first. I now want to accept and to carry this little cross joyfully, to carry it silently, with a smile in my heart and on my lips, in union with the Cross of Christ. My God, blessed be Thou; accept from me each day the embarrassment, inconvenience, and pain this misery causes me. May it become a prayer and an act of reparation." -Elisabeth Leseur
 

Offline Gardener

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 04:30:42 PM »
That would be chastity. Otherwise, no married person could make it to heaven, and that would get into the various gnostic heresies like Manicheanism.

"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2019, 08:24:34 PM »
That would be chastity. Otherwise, no married person could make it to heaven, and that would get into the various gnostic heresies like Manicheanism.

The old Catholic Encyclopedia says that married people must be chaste too, although only in a relative or imperfect sense:

Quote from: Old Catholic Encyclopedia

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03637d.htm
Chastity is the virtue which excludes or moderates the indulgence of the sexual appetite.
...
According as chastity would exclude all voluntary Carnal pleasures, or allow this gratification only within prescribed limits, it is known as absolute or relative. The former is enjoined upon the unmarried, the latter is incumbent upon those within the marriage state.
...
Besides the classification already given, there is another, according to which chastity is distinguished as perfect, or imperfect. The first-mentioned is the virtue of those who, in order to devote themselves more unreservedly to God and their spiritual interests, resolve to refrain perpetually from even the licit pleasures of the marital state.
...
Imperfect chastity is that which is proper to the state of those who have not as yet entered wedlock without however having renounced the intention of doing so, of those also who are joined by the bonds of legitimate marriage, and finally of those who have outlived their marital partners.


« Last Edit: February 21, 2019, 08:34:45 PM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 

Offline Gardener

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2019, 08:50:34 PM »
Yes, of course, but if someone were to misunderstand pure as no sexual aspect, that would lead to misinterpretation.

"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.
 
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2019, 02:54:34 AM »
Thank you, that is so helpful!  Growing up, purity always had a purely sexual connotation in my mind.  I better understand what is meant by it now.

Gardener, I understand that both the married and the unmarried can be chaste and pure, although only for the married does that allow sexual union.

But isn't the single word "purity" sometimes taken to refer specifically to virtues that have to do with the body (obeying the 6th and 9th commandments), so that "purity of heart" in these cases is not precisely the same thing? (The truly "pure of heart" would be pure in every sense.)

(Sorry for this belated post)
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 

Offline Gardener

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2019, 06:53:04 AM »
Thank you, that is so helpful!  Growing up, purity always had a purely sexual connotation in my mind.  I better understand what is meant by it now.

Gardener, I understand that both the married and the unmarried can be chaste and pure, although only for the married does that allow sexual union.

But isn't the single word "purity" sometimes taken to refer specifically to virtues that have to do with the body (obeying the 6th and 9th commandments), so that "purity of heart" in these cases is not precisely the same thing? (The truly "pure of heart" would be pure in every sense.)

(Sorry for this belated post)

My original reply which spurred this was hasty. *I* knew what I meant, but I was a bit sloppy in fleshing (ha!) out the idea.

Will try to clean up the confusion I created with a longer post sometime today.
"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2019, 07:06:58 AM »
Interesting discussion. I like what Msgr. Pope wrote about singleness of heart and purity of intention. The sixth beatitude imho can be understood also to refer to keeping our mind pure by faith and our hearts pure by living charity, opposed to all mortal sin, especially those of the flesh, according to our state of life. Catena Aurea has this:

Quote
8. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

Ambrose, in Luc., vi, 22: The merciful loses the benefit of his mercy, unless he shews it from a pure heart; for if he seeks to have whereof to boast, he loses the fruit of his deeds; the next that follows therefore is, “Blessed are the pure of heart.”

Gloss. ap. Anselm: Purity of heart comes properly in the sixth place, because on the sixth day man was created in the image of God, which image was shrouded by sin, but is formed anew in pure hearts by grace. It follows rightly the beforementioned graces, because if they be not there, a clean heart is not created in a man.

Chrys.: By the pure are here meant those who possess a perfect goodness, conscious to themselves of no evil thoughts, or again those who live in such temperance as is mostly necessary to seeing God according to that of St. Paul, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God.” For as there are many merciful, yet unchaste, to shew that mercy alone is not enough, he adds this concerning purity.

Jerome: The pure is known by purity of heart, for the temple of God cannot be impure.

Pseudo-Chrys.: He who in thought and deed fulfils all righteousness, “sees God” in his heart, for righteousness is an image of God, for God is righteousness. So far as any one has rescued himself from evil, and works things that are good, so far does he “see God,” either hardly, or fully, or sometimes, or always, according to the capabilities of human nature. But in that world to come the pure in heart shall see God face to face, not in a glass, and in enigma as here.

Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 2: They are foolish who seek to see God with the bodily eye, seeing He is seen only by the heart, as it is elsewhere written, “In singleness of heart seek ye Him;” the single heart is the same as is here called the pure heart.

Aug., City of God, book 22, ch. 29: But if spiritual eyes in the spiritual body shall be able only to see so much as they we now have can see, undoubtedly God will not be able to be seen of them.

Aug., de Trin., i, 8: This seeing God is the reward of faith; to which end our hearts are made pure by faith, as it is written, “cleansing their hearts by faith;” [Acts 15:9] but the present verse proves this still more strongly.

Aug., de Genesi ad Literam. xii. 26: No one seeing God can be alive with the life men have on earth, or with these our bodily senses. Unless one die altogether out of this life, either by totally departing from the body, or so alienated from carnal lusts that he may truly say with the Apostle, “whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell,” he is not translated that he should see this vision.

Gloss. non occ.: The reward of these is greater than the reward of the first; being not merely to dine in the King’s court, but further to see His face.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 10:31:55 AM by Xavier »
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Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Saints say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary to Save All Souls everywhere.
 
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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2019, 08:20:17 AM »
Thank you, that is so helpful!  Growing up, purity always had a purely sexual connotation in my mind.  I better understand what is meant by it now.

Gardener, I understand that both the married and the unmarried can be chaste and pure, although only for the married does that allow sexual union.

But isn't the single word "purity" sometimes taken to refer specifically to virtues that have to do with the body (obeying the 6th and 9th commandments), so that "purity of heart" in these cases is not precisely the same thing? (The truly "pure of heart" would be pure in every sense.)

(Sorry for this belated post)

My original reply which spurred this was hasty. *I* knew what I meant, but I was a bit sloppy in fleshing (ha!) out the idea.

Will try to clean up the confusion I created with a longer post sometime today.

Apparently I'm promising to create more confusion with a longer post today.

 ;D

"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.
 
The following users thanked this post: Non Nobis, Xavier

Offline Josephine87

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2019, 10:21:32 AM »
I didn't even think of the Catena Aurea, what a great resource! Thank you, Xavier.  :)
"Begin again." -St. Teresa of Avila

“My present trial seems to me a somewhat painful one, and I have the humiliation of knowing how badly I bore it at first. I now want to accept and to carry this little cross joyfully, to carry it silently, with a smile in my heart and on my lips, in union with the Cross of Christ. My God, blessed be Thou; accept from me each day the embarrassment, inconvenience, and pain this misery causes me. May it become a prayer and an act of reparation." -Elisabeth Leseur
 
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2019, 04:24:30 PM »
Thank you, that is so helpful!  Growing up, purity always had a purely sexual connotation in my mind.  I better understand what is meant by it now.

Gardener, I understand that both the married and the unmarried can be chaste and pure, although only for the married does that allow sexual union.

But isn't the single word "purity" sometimes taken to refer specifically to virtues that have to do with the body (obeying the 6th and 9th commandments), so that "purity of heart" in these cases is not precisely the same thing? (The truly "pure of heart" would be pure in every sense.)

(Sorry for this belated post)

My original reply which spurred this was hasty. *I* knew what I meant, but I was a bit sloppy in fleshing (ha!) out the idea.

Will try to clean up the confusion I created with a longer post sometime today.

Apparently I'm promising to create more confusion with a longer post today.

 ;D

Looking forward to it!  ;)
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 

Offline Elizabeth

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Re: What is purity of heart?
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2019, 01:59:15 PM »






Apparently I'm promising to create more confusion with a longer post today.

 ;D
Bring it!  ;D
 
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