Skip to main content

The Teachings of Jesus No. 6

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

We all come into life with a pure heart and we never lose it. None of us. This I truly believe. It’s the possession of every precious infant, baby, every child. The “terrible twos,” I know, contradict this, but that aside the heart of every human is wrapped in purity and contains the seeds of goodness in endless supply. Children are our greatest example of this. Their purity of spirit and soul is what we want to keep alive. None of that ever goes away. The struggle to keep that spirit healthy within us, however, is a colossal, roughhouse tussle of personal endurance and inner strength as we develop and mature and get immersed in the realities of life. Because out there in the real world things can get ugly devastatingly fast. And in the midst of the ugliness no one sees God. There is a scene in the musical “Wicked” where the good witch Glinda, trying to accept Elphaba, the green wicked witch of the West, asks, “Are people born wicked, or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?” The life of Elphaba answers it. Inside her was a pure heart, a heart fighting for justice, for fairness, for the underdog, for animals, and freedom, and for herself; the right to be a person of worth in spite of what had happened to her; in spite of the wickedness she wore, like her black cape and spiked hat, symbols given to her by those who wanted her wicked and rejected because her unique greenness clashed with the ordinary sameness of the masses; because, simply, she was different. And this is where God comes in. We learn to see God here: in others, all others; in nature, in art and music and theater, in books and movies; in the sublime, the sacred; but also in the earthy, in the human, in weakness, in suffering and in tears. God comes out of the glory of the clouds and meets us in our all too gritty humanness, in the wickedness we wear, in the agony of souls in want. Which is really nothing more than our search for goodness within ourselves and in others. My grandson Austin puts his hands on my face and looks me in the eyes, his blue eyes beaming, he smiles and he sees past my wicked costume and feels something pure touching him from my heart. And me? When I look back at him, I see God. I see love; something that transcends my fears and all of my impairments; all that is still incomplete within me. Neal Young’s great song line, “I want to live, I want to give; I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold,” gets close to what Jesus said. Keep seeking the pure heart—in ourselves and in others. It is a lesson we so rarely learn. Jesus would have us to keep trying. 

(Note: While cleaning up old posts I inadvertently deleted this one. It was posted earlier, then dropped off. It's out of order but now it's back in the list. ~ TM)

Popular posts from this blog

The Light in the Faces of Our Incredible Human Family

National Geographic Journalist Paul Salopek is walking across the world on foot to trace the pathways of the first humans who wandered out of Africa in the Stone Age to claim the earth as theirs. His journey will cover 21,000 miles and is estimated to take 10 years. He is four years into his massive expedition and already he has discovered that humanity is mostly kind and generous, welcoming and caring, hard-working and disciplined.
I watched a brief piece about Salopek’s journey on the PBS News Hour this week. I have included a link below.
What is extraordinary about his adventure is his realization that in spite of all the wars and turmoil across the globe, he has learned that “The world is an incredibly hospitable place.” In following the ancient trade route called “The Silk Road,” Salopek has gotten to know a variety of people young and old. And though he has so far encountered a few dangerous situations where he had his water supply stolen, was once ambushed by raiders, and was sho…

Our National Lack of Self-esteem

There is a brokenness in our society, a pervasive moral collapse, a reckless disregard for community, neighborliness, courtesy, and compassion.
Our government leads by this example. Both parties are incompetent to guide us into a more responsible living, into a serviceable structure of humanity. Our leaders are dominated by greedy oligarchs who don’t just want more, they want everything, even if it costs our society its dignity, its soul, even its future.
What is on display here daily is a wretched lack of self-esteem. The loss now influences all of us. We’re all affected in ways that keep us shamed by our actions.
When we feel powerless, aimless, without any higher goals than the accumulation of things and the momentary thrill, we then mute our intelligence. We live by raw emotions—anger, appetite, urges. We don’t think, we don’t consider, we merely react. We push. We disregard. We threaten. We act out. And we fail.
Self-esteem is a learned process. It builds on genuine successes that ar…

Is the Soul Solid, like Iron?

Mary Oliver has a beautiful little poem in which she asks:

“Is the soul solid, like iron?
or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?”

It is both.

The soul, we are told by philosophers, theologians, and mystics, is our essence, the permanence of our true self. It is that part of us that lives beyond death. Or so we are taught by religion. Where exactly the soul exists beyond that, has of course, been long debated.

There are times in life when something deep within us is, as Mary Oliver says, solid as iron and we operate out of some sense of aliveness, confidence, and inner strength. It may be fleeting, but there when needed; or it may carry us through long periods of endurance when we build a sturdy self, confident and capable of our abilities and talents.

This is the work of the soul. This is a part of our spiritual development. This is what enables us to believe there are forces in life, loving and generous and mystical, that nurture and compel us tow…