Think on These Things: Pure of heart shall see God

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There are people who can see and experience God. There are people who cannot see or experience God. Jesus speaks to the crowd in the Gospel of St. Matthew, “The pure of heart shall see God!” (Matthew 5:8) Many of the saints and sages claim that they experienced and saw God!

When I attended a talk by Mother Theresa of Calcutta in 1984 at Banaras, Utter Pradesh, India, I had the fortune to kiss her holy hands. She said, “I see God everyday and everywhere in the smile of contented children and babes, on the faces of criminals in prison, rich and poor people alike.

Chenganpuzha, a Malayalee atheist and poet, in his poem says, “I have searched for God in every corner of heaven and earth, but have never seen Him!” There are two views about God. One is that the atheist’s idea that God is an illusion. The other view is that God can be seen and experienced.

To be pure of heart means to be free of all selfish intentions and self-seeking desires. How wonderful is it? If we look back to our goal of the purity and selflessness of any action or good deed we perform, we may perhaps find that there was none in our life. If only we have done any act of charity or service for the pure love of God, we can say that we are pure of heart.

Such an act is pure love without any expectation from anyone. An act of pure and selfless giving brings happiness to all. They will see God in every corner of the world.  Very few people like Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul II and other saints see God everywhere. Are we one among them?

Each one of us wants to have pleasure and happiness. That is good. We work for the same day and night. Good. If we think that the source of happiness is material riches, we are wrong. If we find sleep only with the use of medicines, alcohols or such entertainment as sports programs, we are wrong. Are they able to give us peace of mind?

There are hundreds of people of all religions everywhere known as sages who spend their lives in contemplation and prayer. They appear to others as poor and banished, but they are content. Why is this? They see God everywhere. In the book of Psalms, David writes, “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like cedar in Lebanon.” (Psalms 92:12) Those who consider wealth and entertainment as a source of happiness are sorely misguided.

So we can see that we are misguided by the wrong notions of happiness and pleasure. Much of the source of unhappiness is because we worry about accumulating more.

We too can experience God in our corporal works of mercy by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the imprisoned and the sick, burying the dead and the like. To quote St. James the Apostle, “So faith by itself, if not has no works, is dead.” (James 2:17)

If we can do today the works of mercy and acts of love and forgiveness, then we will be able to see God in every one. We will be able to see God everywhere. Jesus says, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”(Matthew 6:34) Many are worried of tomorrow rather than living in the present. Jesus’ words have comfort, knowledge and peace for any heart that is ready and willing to listen. God will never interfere in our freedom of heart. Whenever I face any problem I depend more on God than on myself. I can say that I have experienced Him many a time. Anyone can see God anywhere and everywhere, if one wants to experience Him.

Thomas Kakkaniyil is the pastor of the Holy Cross Catholic Church.