Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God
Considered in the light of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, this beatitude reveals a two–fold grace: (1) the blessedness of the clean of heart is that they shall see God; and (2) the blessedness of those who fix their gaze upon God is that their hearts shall be made clean. Who among us does not approach God with a heart darkened and soiled by sin? The enemy of our souls does his best to make us believe that, because our hearts are unclean, it is useless to seek the Face of God. Satan knows full well that the Lord Jesus will wash clean the hearts of those who seek His Face; he knows that the purity lost by sin will be be restored in the embrace of His divine friendship. For this reason the Evil One deploys his most subtle strategies to keep souls from praying.
I Will Pour Upon You Clean Water
The man who begins praying, just as he is, conscious that his heart is unclean, will soon begin to rejoice in the quiet restoration of a purity that, by his own efforts, he could never have attained. He will experience personally the truth of the Lord’s promises made through the mouth of the prophet Ezekiel: “And I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols. And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in the midst of you: and I will cause you to walk in my commandments, and to keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:25–27).
The Face of God
In a psalm that we chant at daybreak on every Sunday and greater festival, we pray: “In the sanctuary have I come before thee, to see thy power and thy glory” (Psalm 62:3). In every human person there is an inner compass that orients the heart towards the sanctuary, to the place where one is certain of finding God. “How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of host! My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. For the sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones: Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord: they shall praise thee for ever and ever” (Psalm 83:2–5). The aspirations of the psalmist are the inspired articulation of the Godward groanings too deep for words that the Holy Ghost, the Finger of God’s Right Hand, has inscribed in the depths of every human heart. “As the hart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after thee, O God. My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?” (Psalm 41:2–3).
Create a Clean Heart in Me, O God
One who approaches the Sacred Host and abides in Its radiance, desiring to see God and yearning to behold His face, will experience over time not only a pressing desire for purity of heart, but also the wondrous fulfillment of what the Holy Ghost has caused him to desire. “Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit” (Psalm 50:12–14).