Recently on The Inner Life, Josh began the hour by discussing his favorite types of dessert. He said of all the options, some of his top choices included pecan pie, cheesecake, and chocolate chip cookies. And, as is common with many bakers, his wife will often experiment with the recipes for these desserts, mixing mint into the cookies or swirling strawberry into the cheesecake batter. But, after all these years, and after trying all of these different recipes, Josh still maintains that nothing beats the purity of the original desserts.
“Of course, there are other areas where purity matters far more than a chocolate chip cookie. If you’re drinking water for instance. You want to know that it’s pure. You don’t want any contaminants in there. Jewelry, that’s another one. If you’re buying something made of gold, the closer you get to it being 24 karats, that purity, it makes the jewelry more valuable.” But of course, what Josh was getting at is that purity matters most in our hearts.
Josh welcomed Father Vincent Druding onto the show to talk about the importance of cultivating purity in our hearts and returning to that childlike state of innocence.
They began the conversation with the Beatitude seen in Matthew 5:8 that says, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” Josh asked Father Vincent about what that means exactly and where we should begin in trying to become “clean/pure of heart.” Father answered by first saying that that passage has possessed him in his recent years in the priesthood and that specific beatitude is a core principle to the spiritual life. Every heart longs to “see God”, so there is a natural magnetism between us and that goal.
As St. Augustine says, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” Until we find that true purity of heart and see God, see love, we will not know peace. As adults, we can become jaded and it can become difficult to find that purity, but that is where we can learn so much from children. Jesus, time and again, used children as brilliant, shining examples of the purest among us.
In Matthew, Jesus said, “‘Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.’” (Matthew 18:3-6) It would be better to be drowned than to cause a child to sin. That is how much God values purity of heart. The corruption of the innocence of one such as these is a grave crime.
And in Mark’s gospel, “Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, ‘Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.’” (Mark 9:36-37) These precious children, the only innocents, the purest of heart, are visions of God. Those who accept, cherish, and love the purest of heart are accepting, cherishing, and loving Jesus Christ and His Father in Heaven.
Father Vincent used an example in his own life: his niece Gracie. He said that when she was little, whenever her dad would come home after work, it didn’t matter what she was doing, she would sprint to the door, shout, “Daddy!”, and embrace him in a hug. Just seeing his face would send her running into his arms because he loved her, she loved him, and she knew that she was loved by him.
“The glimpse of the one you love draws [you] together. And the same thing should happen between the soul and Our Lord,” said Father Vincent. He referenced a song by Maverick City Music called “When I Lock Eyes” that talks about the desire to meet God, the one relationship that is perpetually constant and filled with unconditional love. Though we refer to this concept as “purity of heart”, he says it has a lot to do with our mind and our thoughts. Engaging in our most vulnerable form of prayer will condition our soul to meet Our Lord, not in its fullness as we are restricted by our bodies, but we can glimpse the beatific vision.
The saints are our greatest examples of meeting God on earth by coming to Him in prayer like a child, with a pure heart. “Prayer is tasting heaven on the way to heaven.”
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