katharos

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Blessed are the pure of heart

for they shall see God

 

The Greek word for “pure” is “katharos”. Fundamentally, it signifies that which is clean, or free from contaminating substance.  Pure Gold.  Pure water. Pure bliss. Pure love.  

The word evokes many  “word pictures” for me.   A newborn baby is pure.  The first snowfall is pure. The unadulterated embrace of mother and a child with the underlying unconditional pure love given  without expectation.

This beatitude gives me the chance to shed my grown up skin that I am in and look deep into my heart to find the “pure” heart as a small child, before the world infiltrated my heart with contaminants .  To look to the world around me as a child would.  Pure…. unstained.. not contaminated but free of any ingredients mixed in. Untainted.

One thing was brought to my mind~~~ the Ivory soap claim that it is “99.44/100% pure”.  Nothing added… pure and free from any additional “stuff”.  When my heart is pure, I am able to be free enough to receive all that God has to offer me.

One of my favorite Scripture passages is  ~~God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right attitude within me. Psam51:10.

This to me is the “pure”  (pun intended) essence of being pure of heart.  Our hearts and minds are  inundated with so many worldly things, attitudes of intolerance, destruction of simple morals and we strain to remain true to our heart and our beliefs. We become cynical  and we let down our guard and let the the bulls**t of this world enter into our hearts, mind and spirits.

Let’s face it every human being has heart problems. We all struggle to keep within us a pure heart.   As we grow into our lives we pick up small little things that nick and tear tiny lesions on our hearts. Sometimes the tragedies of our world gouge deep wounds in our hearts.  They cause scarring and make our hearts hard. Almost like a keloid scar over scars and striated.

When we are pure of heart, we are able with Gods help to heal those scars and re-build the once hardened heart.

Another Scripture that I love is Proverbs 4:23~~ Guard your heart with much diligence, because the source of your life flows from it.

Being pure of heart takes diligence … most all of these beatitudes come down to being truly humbled in our “humanness” and learning to discern with that still small voice inside of us what can hurt us and what can help us.   To recognize the things that chip away  and scratch our hearts in even the tiniest way, so that we do not allow those things to even touch the surface of our hearts.

One of my favorite songs is by Shaun Groves ~  The title of the song is “Welcome Home”  He equates his heart to a house. I love the whole song  but the beginning verses…. are

Welcome to this heart of mine
I’ve buried under prideful vines
Grown to hide the mess I’ve made
Inside of me
Come decorate, Lord
Open up the creaking door
And walk upon the dusty floor
Scrape away the guilty stains
Until no sin or shame remain
Spread Your love upon the walls
And occupy the empty halls

Being pure of heart means being humble (oh man there is that word again) humble enough to let God do a bit of redecorating and allowing God to give your heart a fresh “pure” coat of paint.  When that remodel is done,  you have a purer heart that is not confused by all the clutter and then you are able to see God more clearly.    As we open the eyes of our hearts the more clearly we see all that God has in store for us.   When our hearts are pure….. expecting to see nothing is when we truly see God in His purest form… through love, tolerance, gentleness, patience and true unconditional love.  A love that is willing to come into our hearts with the tools needed to clean up our hearts.   As the chorus from “Welcome Home”  says:

Come inside this heart of mine
It’s not my own
Make it home
Come and take this heart and make it
All Your own
Welcome home

 Next one is…peacemakers….  blessed they are..  

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Mercy… Mercy… Mercy~~

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Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

 

 This beatitude should be a no-brainer…… Give mercy…. receive mercy.   Tit for Tat.   

When grace and mercy intersect…it will bring peace into your relationships.    That is all I have for today.  Have mercy on me~! 

 

I was up most of the night with a hell of a toothache… have lots of mercy on me.

ravenous righteousness

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Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

 

 

Without righteousness, you cannot live spiritually. I love that little illustration of how righteousness is found.  Not in us (self righteousness)~~ not by being unrighteous (sitting in and being unrighteous)  but by God’s grace is when we achieve righteousness.

Think about this: God will satisfy your deepest desires if you look to him for fulfillment.

Trust me when I say I know this from experience.  Most of my life I have looked to other “things” to fulfill me in my life.  While some have been very fulfilling (like the true and unadulterated love for my children and the pride I have for them,and I know that God graciously gave me them, my family no matter how dysfunctional and loopy,  and my friends who are always there for me…..)

None of these “things” are things.  They are people….. not objects of wanting.  Righteousness is an element of your spirituality.

When you feed on the element of righteousness,  you absorb  righteousness in such a way that it becomes part of you. Righteousness must be absorbed into your being in the same way that the food that you eat is absorbed into your body. It becomes part of you.  As it is “digested” within you ….. it becomes a nutrient of peace, joy, grace, love and a true sense  of justice overcomes you. You have to absorb it. You have to internalize the nature of God’s righteousness. You must have God in every part of your being.

  In order to hunger and thirst for righteousness….. you need to have an appetite for it.  If you are not hungry you have no desire for the “food”.  This is a conscious effort to seek righteousness in your life and in turn the life you lead. A starving spirit will look for spiritual food and when you look and seek out fulfillment through God’s grace, you will never go hungry spiritually.   No amount of religiosity  will fulfill your spirit.  It is a simple, primitive desire of your heart……. siting in church Sunday after Sunday just to fulfill an obligation and hoping you will get filled by osmosis will not suffice when you are hungry for righteousness.  You have to go right to the food source….  dig into the garden and pick the organic spirituality that fulfills your soul.  Take it and eat it.   Digest it and let it ruminate in your soul and spirit…. Most of the time people who are religious will sit at the table and see the righteousness on their plates…. and never partake in what is presented.  They externalize their spirituality with the rote mechanical or habitual repetition of prayers that are not truly ingested.

I want to be someone who truly hungers for righteousness, not only in my life but to be able to extend that righteousness to those around me.   Simple, primitive and organic ……. and with the “seasoning” of God…. so very delicious!!  

 

 

 

eek!! Meek??? seriously?

 

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“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”

 

Many associate the word meek with the word weak. To some the word meek brings to mind a person who is unable to stand firm on a position, is easy to persuade, is generally a weak minded and weak willed individual. Some one  who when in conflict or is asked to stand up for something or to someone,  will cower and retreat in a corner.

As someone who loves words and looks into the derivative of a word,  I have found that in these days the word “meek” has lost most of its meaning within the vernacular of our current language.  The word carries none of the meanings associated with weak. The meek, (hoi praeis) has been translated mild or gentle. The word was originally applied to the outer characteristics of things and people. It was not considered a virtue or an attitude but as the inner attitude of a person. Today’s meaning of meek has been watered down to the point it has lost most, if not all of its true meaning. The Greek historian Xenophon used the word “meek” to describe a horse broken to saddle, so that it is under control. When a horse is “broken to saddle”  it is in harmony with the human who will be in harmony with the horse as they ride together.   In becoming “meek”  the horse can be in harmony or at peace with its owner or rider.   When left “unbroken” the horse is unable to be in harmony.

Like I mentioned before,  I used to think the word “meek” meant kind of spineless and inept to stand up for ones own beliefs.  When in all actuality, the word meek means one who has an attitude toward others that is humble, gentle and kind. A person who is teachable is considered meek. A meek person does not have to be right all of the time and a meek person will live a life of strength under control. Quiet but strong resolve on doing what is just and good not according to themselves but according to God.

The “meek” have accepted God’s estimate of their own life. They  know they are to be humble as God asked them to be, but paradoxically, they know  at the same time that they are in the eyes of God of more importance than angels.  IN that humility or “meekness” they know that apart from God they cannot in all actuality achieve nothing of true importance but with God as they humble themselves to God, that nothing is impossible.  That is their motto and inherited hope for their lives.

So we become “meek” in our lives we stand resolute and strong in our beliefs and we sigh in our hearts and let those who oppose us to state their beliefs and offer up a quiet and gentle rebuttal to express what our faith is to them.  We do not engage in an angry and wrathful insistence on what they should believe but acknowledgement of what they have shared and  we are able walk away not only confident in what we believe, but also with a quiet and gentle prayer for them.

So what is “the earth” to inherit? To me it has always  represented the promise of God.  The very promise of love,joy and peace which surpasses our own human understanding. The ability to be in peace while the storms of life on this earth swirl with arrogance and turmoil ~~ it is the place of God’s promise.

To sum this all up,  Obedience and “submission”  or “meekness” to the will of God are certainly not in vogue these days but this meekness will bring  to fruition the true sense of peace in our spirit as we live not only  in this world but  it will truly serve us well in the next .  

“Be-atitudes” next…..

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 Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Now this one I understand~~  I have had much mourning in my life.  I have known many losses and being comforted during my mourning, but most important I have been able to comfort those who mourn, because I have mourned.

This beatitude is not always about the mourning that comes with death, but also the mourning of  dying to yourself.   We are all born with faults, deficiencies, and  defects.  I know that sounds harsh but we are also born with ability to love and care for one another.   As I said in the prior post, we also need to be humble about the excellent traits we have and to know that all this comes from God.

Another reason to mourn: the more one ascends in meditation of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, it is then when we can  realize the poverty of human nature, we can only be left in sorrow  (or mourning). God comforts us and tells us that love can cast out all that is evil.

    All that deals with the mourning of oneself as we try to navigate this current world we live in.

    I have also learned that in my mourning I have been comforted whether it be by the still small voice of God in my spirit telling me how much love can overcome the sadness and emptiness we feel when we mourn the losses in our lives.  The loss of a relationship, the loss of our self esteem, the loss of hope, the loss of faith, the loss of love, the loss of security, the loss of courage, well you get the picture.  We mourn those losses but  if we reach out we  will be comforted.

      Of course the most obvious loss is death of someone we love.   I have had many losses in that area, my parents, 2 brothers (one at 16 and the other at 36~~ tragic and too young for both)  But the most prolific loss I have had is that of my son, Brian.   He died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when he was 2 months old.  Nothing can  repair the part of my heart that died along with my son.  I have been forever be changed.  I also have been able to reach out to those parents who have lost babies to SIDS and take the loss of my son to others who have mourned and I can comfort them.  Because through my  losses I have a better understanding of HOW to comfort those who mourn and in turn I am comforted.

    All the losses in my life through death have caused me to realize that I am not alone in knowing the gut wrenching mourning that can ensue.   I never compare the mourning of others but I am always able to relate to those who mourn.

    This is what this beatitude means to me.  When loss enters my realm of being, when I have the feeling that no one can comfort me, that is when God will place just the right person or revelation to me to know that  I am blessed to be “mourning” the losses because I will be comforted and I will be able to comfort others.

    Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

“Be-atitudes “

“Beatitude is a possession of all things held to be good,
from which nothing is absent that a good desire may want.
Perhaps the meaning of beatitude may become clearer to us if it is compared with its opposite. Now the opposite of beatitude is misery.
~~St. Gregory of Nyssa

I have been doing a study of the eight beatitudes and I am going to take each of them one at a time and hopefully relay what each one means to me and in the long run how I can adopt these 8 “be-atitudes” to my day to day life. I have found they are very, very relevant today in our fast paced, go go go go society.

So here goes…..

The first one is… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

This always confused me. Thinking that being poor in Spirit means being lack-luster in your faith. Actually the more I looked into being poor in spirit the conclusion was..”Poor in spirit” means to be humble and to be one with humility.

There is another word I was always confused by “humility” I always was lead to believe that humility is subjecting yourself to be humiliated. Oh how wrong I had been.

Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come from the grace of God. To have poverty of spirit means to be completely empty and open to God and His will for us. When we are an empty cup and devoid of pride, we are humble. Humility brings an openness and an inner peace, allowing one to do the will of God. When we humble ourselves then we are able to accept our frail, fallible and imperfect nature~~to repent, be convicted and allow the grace of God to lead us to the real truth and it allows us to do what is right in God’s eyes not in our own eyes.

Humility is a hard one. When we do a good job, we do want praise and someone saying “good job” which is not a bad thing to want praise and recognition. Being truly humble to me means to attribute all that I have…. all that I have done… and all that I am going to do~~ to God and all the glory belongs to God!!
This keeps me humble and this attitude will lead me to the rewards God has for me.

Next post will be ……“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

I know some things about mourning so that should be a very interesting study.

Coming Back…. I promise!

I have been thinking about what I will be writing about on my blog.

It has been a long time since I have posted anything, I have been writing long hand in my journal and as I get my focus back ~~  I will write and post again.  As of now,  I have been doing some growing and learning as well as some “pruning ” in my life.  Some things are very hard to let go of, especially  when you have held on to it so tightly that your knuckles turn white…. most of the “things’  I have been holding on to are not literal things but things that inhibit my growth …. things like shame, insecurity, remorse, regret… well, you get the picture.

I hope to write a little more on my blog this year.  I am looking forward to sharing with you the unexpected and I hope amazing journey.   It will be filled with hope,love, anticipation, gratitude and joy!  

ImageGod knows where my journey will lead me….. now I hope to share the “pictures” of the trip with my writing!!  Gonna’ be a hell of a ride!!