BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.
Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence and keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity.
Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that comes with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..
May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey of life!
Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him (Ephesians 1:3-4). (From the second reading of this Sunday, the 15th Sunday of the Year)
“…the Lord appeared to Abraham and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1.) God has a simple requirement for all who would want to walk with Him: “Be blamelessness”
Psalm 15 speaks of the person who walks in sincerity, integrity, wholeness, holiness, perfection…..about the person who walks blamelessly in the face of God!
The Psalmist asks: “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken” (Psalm 15 )
The word “blameless” in Psalm 15 has the same root word as “complete” and “whole”. It describes a person of integrity. Jesus calls this “purity of heart” and “single mindedness” as he proclaimed the beatitudes.
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “Pure” as unmixed with any other matter; free from dust, dirt, or taint; spotless, stainless; free from harshness or roughness and being in tune; being thus and no other; free from what vitiates or pollutes; containing nothing that does not properly belong; free from moral fault or guilt; clean; chaste; etc.
“Purity” as described in the beatitude is about the quality of being “single”, being “one”, being “unmixed”, being “undivided”, being “integrated”, being “whole” – a thing being what it is made to be.
Blamelessness is an inner disposition, an attitude and a quality of our heart.
Blamelessness is not the same as faultlessness. If a young child helps his parents clean up the house, but drops a bowl and breaks it in the process, the child is not faultless, but he is blameless. His heart had the desire to help his parents. In the same way, God is looking at our heart’s attitude. Holiness, blamelessness, purity begins in the heart. Jesus speaks of “purity of heart” – the “pure of heart will see God” and the “blameless will walk in Gods’ presence”.
Take a few moments…prayerfully reflect on the call to be “blameless”. Reflect on what you can do to cultivate blamelessness and make a few personal choices that will enable you to cultivate this quality during the coming week.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure of heart: they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8). The Greek word for pure is catharsis
which had a variety of meanings. It could be used to mean “clean” as in clean clothes or as in winnowed or sifted corn. It could be used to mean “clean” as in an army being cleansed /purged of inefficient, discontented soldiers. It could be used to mean unmixed, unadulterated, unalloyed – pure.
This beatitude is about “Purity” – the quality of being “single”, being “one”, being “unmixed”, being “undivided”, being “integrated”, Being “whole” – a thing being what it is made/created to be. Therefore this beatitude could be translated:
Blessed is the person whose mind/heart is single/unmixed/undivided/pure – that person will see God.
Take a moment and try to relive an experience where you were “pure”, single-minded, single-hearted. Try to relive the experience when, despite peer or any other kind of pressure, you stood up for your beliefs, your convictions…remember the feelings you had at the time…may be a little fear, a little doubt, a little apprehension….but the peace that you had as a result of this moment of integrity!
It is a very challenging thing – sometimes, even a shaming thing – to examine our motivations. There are few things in the world that even the best of us do with complete, unmixed motivations. Motivations of payment, recognition, praise, support, self-display, prestige, power, honor, self-respect, superiority, show of piety, hidden agenda, etc. often get into our life and activities – even into religious/spiritual activities.
Jesus said: the pure of heart will see God. We see only what we are able to see. The ordinary person looks at the sky at night and see only the stars – sees what he is able to see. The astronomer looks at the same sky and sees the stars and calls them by name.
The navigator will look at the same sky and can find the means to bring his ship across the trackless seas to the desired haven. One person sees dirt in the ground – another sees mushrooms growing. One sees all kinds of weeds to be uprooted – another sees Herb’s of great value. One walks into an antique shop and finds junk – another finds treasurers of great value. One walks into a garage sale and finds things of value for a small price, but another finds junk to be disposed of.
The pure of heart will see goodness, truth, love, virtue, value – will grow into a vision of God, Himself.
Being pure of heart….being single-hearted is a gift we offer to the world around us….it makes us people of hope, positive and optimistic about life and all that life has to offer.
Purity of heart moves us from judging others to seeing the best in people; from despair to hope; from feelings, thoughts and words that destroy to those that are encouraging; from anger to patience, jealousies to appreciation, resentment to gratitude; from being negative to being positive; from hostility to peacemaking; from bitterness to forgiveness; from disrespect to reverence for sacredness of life; from self-concern to compassion for others.
Try to remember people whom you know are “pure of heart”, “single minded”, “purpose-driven”, “authentic”, “integrated”. Spend a few moments with them and listen to their story! Draw inspiration from them……
Being pure of heart is like having eyes that do nothing but see and all things are possible for those who can see…….
Take time and reflect on walking in integrity, wholeness, holiness, perfection… walking blamelessly in the face of God!
Psalm 32 reflects on the bliss, pure joy that comes from confession and forgiveness.
Being forgiven is pure joy, bliss. God forgives! This means that He takes away all our transgressions – rebellious actions against His Steadfast Love and “covers over” our sinful deeds (32:1), so much so neither we nor God sees them any longer. God cleanses and purifies the heart with forgiveness. This is pure joy, bliss!
Our Psalmist speaks of transgressions- rebellion against Gods’ covenant love; Sin – missing the mark, goal; Iniquity – crookedness of character; and Deceit – perversion of the spirit. God forgives them, But how good it is to confess them; what joy, bliss lies in confessing all violations of covenant love. God forgives, “covers over” all transgressions and sins. But the effect of guilt and shame lingers. Confession, a self-emptying process, a catharsis brings healing and freedom from the burden of guilt and shame.
Our Psalmist calls all God’s people to pray for the removal of guilt and shame. It is pure joy to have your community pray for your forgiveness and healing and protection from evil. Then the Psalmist says, “Let me teach you the way”. The way means, the way back, the way by which life can be renewed and the way is accepting the steadfast love of God!
Now take a few moments to pray Psalm 51: Create in me a clean heart, Oh God
Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness;
In your abundant compassion, blot out my offense.
Wash away all my guilt;
From my sin, cleanse me.
What offense, in your life, needs cleansing, healing and transformation?
For I know my offense;
My sin is always before me.
Against you alone have I sinned;
I have done such evil in your sight,
What sin is always before you that need forgiveness, healing and transformation?
Cleanse me with hyssop that I may be pure;
Wash me, make me whiter than snow.
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness;
Let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Reflect on the “spring within” – the water that cleanses and purifies!
Turn away your face from my sins;
Blot out all my guilt.
A clean heart create for me, God;
Renew in me a steadfast spirit.
Keep praying: May I be renewed with a steadfast spirit……..
Do not drive me from your presence,
Nor take from me your Holy Spirit.
Restore my joy in your salvation;
Sustain in me a willing spirit……..Keep praying: Sustain in me a willing spirit
A Pure Heart, that we may see You,
A Humble Heart, that we may hear You,
A Heart of Love, that we may serve You,
A Heart of Faith, that we may abide in You. (Dag Hammarskjold)
Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs