Sunday, 22 June 2014

Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God- Part II

In Part I, the essentials underpinning achievement of being clean of heart were outlined; here we discover a model to follow in becoming clean of heart.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the way forward: He provides us with the model so necessary for us to compare ourselves with and to use.
Fr Coleridge highlights the following attributes of Jesus which we should use as a guide in cleansing our hearts:
No attachments in the slightest to temporal things, however innocent in themselves and good in their own kind.
Enduring detachment from all earthly pleasures: food, sleep, dress, friendships, conversations, beautiful sights and sounds, daily news, amusements and curiosities.
Freedom from the desire for human respect, being the cause of many sins of omission, through trying to avoid displeasure or unpopularity or in attempt to please others we offend God. Relatives, friends, social contacts and work colleagues are the most dangerous tempters.
Freedom from useless thoughts, including superfluous cares so that nothing disturbs or removes the simplicity and quietness of our hearts and minds. We too often allow the goings on around us to disturb our peace and serenity. We feel instead the need to act rather than to leave the matter to God.
Full of sweetness and kindness and free from any bitterness whatsoever. We retreat rather than provoke others into sinning. For all the malignant hostility, harping criticisms, envy, cowardice, unappreciativeness, baseness and brutality of those around us there should be no bitterness within us.
Absolute freedom from impatience, self-will, even the slightest feeling of discord with or deviation from the will of God. Absolute obedience which we in so many ways fail, including obeying fully the laws and rubrics of the Church.
Having got this far in our deliberations we should now review our attitude to sinners, especially ourselves and insist that charity must prevail in handling all sinners. Fr McKenzie will shock many of us when he correctly writes: " There is a world of difference between Christian charity towards the sinner (including ourselves) and sentimental sympathizing with them ...

One cannot love the sinner until one has learned to hate the sinner"; the two are intimately intertwined. We cannot achieve purity of hearty until we find sinfulness, like leprosy, loathsome and will not spare ourselves until we have cleansed ourselves. We cannot provide a cure for the sinners about us by encouraging them to add to their sores and wounds. We have to find ways of lovingly helping them by bathing and soothing their wounds and through love binding them up, helping them to avoid new or more extensive infection. However, ignoring the disease or attempting remove it by renaming it as if no longer existed neither helps the sinner and worse of all will infect others into sin.
In assessing the Pope Francis statement on reaching out to others, remember Christ's warnings to take nothing with us, to greet nobody on the road and that we will be as lambs among wolves: "More than fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us 'Give them something to eat' (Mk 6:37)"
Those who have struggled up the first five rungs of the Beatitudes will be highly other-oriented, but will need to exercise prudent discernment of whom to help, and it cannot be the wolves who would devour them. They cannot do this alone but must be guided by the Holy Spirit in whom to approach, what has to be said and how and what other appropriate actions might be taken without offending God. 
One criterion to use is that those crying out must at the very least be hungry for Jesus and not aggressive defenders of their status quo or never willing to be moved in their unbelief, but only too pleased to bring us into their ways. The most aggressive wolves to be wary of are apostasising catholics or those outside the Catholic Church not in union with the Holy See, especially relatives who will invite us into situations compromising our faith, and aggressive atheists. We need to be continually guided by the Holy Spirit in helping those in real need. Remember you can always be secure outside the structures and rules, if you remain armed with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Confession, Eucharist, prayer, contemplation and promptings of the Holy Spirit; then indeed go forth fearing no one.
Finally after working your way through the Beatitudes thus far, do any of us feel in our current stage of progress that on dying here and now we deserve to be in heaven? Surely we need purgation of all those stains and the weeding out of all that detracts from the garden of our soul so that it is fitting for God to reside within?
We shall next look at "Blessed are the Peacemakers", and before we approach this we can even now conclude why there are so few peacemakers in the World today; those so called peacemakers are highly unworthy of the name, nor do they have the necessary attributes for this work, because most, if not all, of them have not even started on the first rung of the Beatitudes and are wholly ignorant of what is required to be a successful peacemaker.
Blest are the pure in heart,
For they shall see our God;
The secret of the Lord is theirs,
Their soul is Christ's abode.
The Lord who left the heavens,
Our life and peace to bring,
To dwell in lowliness with men,
Their pattern and their King:
Still to the lowly soul
He does himself impart,
And for his dwelling and his throne
Chooses the pure in heart.
Lord, we thy presence seek;
May ours this blessing be;
Give us a pure and lowly heart,
A temple fit for thee.

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