Purity of Heart (II) [Awakening Faith]
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. (Psalm 27:8)
Surely the Lord does not encourage us to do something impossible for humans? The truth is different. He does not command wingless creatures to become birds, nor land animals to live in the water. So if in the case of other creatures the command is according to the creature’s capacity, and he does not ask them to do something beyond their nature, we should maintain hope of gaining what is promised by the beatitude.
John, Paul, Moses, and many other believers did achieve that sublime happiness that comes from the vision of God; Paul, who said, “There is stored up for me a crown of righteousness, which the judge who judges justly will give me” (2 Tim. 4:8), and John, who leaned on the breast of Jesus (John 13:23), and Moses, who heard God saying to him, “I know you above all others” (Ex. 33:17).
If these men are blessed, and if blessedness means the vision of God is granted to the pure in heart, then purity of heart — which brings blessedness — is not impossible. So we can say that Paul and others truthfully teach that seeing God is beyond our power — yet what the Lord promises us is true too, that those with pure hearts will see God.
Gregory of Nyssa
Awakening Faith: Daily Devotionals from the Early Church
by James Stuart Bell and Patrick J. Kelly
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