Blessed are the Clean of Heart for They Shall See God, by Father Basil William Maturin

detail of a marble bas relief statue of 'The Angel of Purity' by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1902; the original is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; photographed on 3 May 2012 by Smuconlaw; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsThere is no greater mistake nor one fraught with more fatal consequences than to defend what one conceives to be the honour of God at the cost of the realities of life. Yet it is not uncommon for devout persons to argue a priori as to what they conceive God should do rather than as to what He actually does or permits, Job’s comforters sought to console him by pressing upon him a theory of Gad’s government of the world, which his experience had proved to him to be contrary to facts; indeed the sufferings which he was enduring were permitted in order to clear his mind from the baneful influence of the very theory they were pressing. A faith that can live only under the shelter of ignorance, or by closing our eyes to the visible realities around us, will not be of much avail when we are brought face to face with the stern and perplexing facts of life. We may be confident that a faith which is to be defended at the expense of truth is not itself true and is not worth defending.

The Revelation that God has given us of His own character, is the Revelation of the moral attributes of Him who is the Creator and Ruler of the world in which we live. This world with all its perplexing problems we are meant to know and study, the Revelation if true cannot be in antagonism to what we see and know. We shall never be called upon, in the interests of Revelation, to close our eyes to what we see, or to deny what we know to be true. The instructed Catholic faces and studies life fearlessly, with the certainty that, though he may find much that he cannot explain or understand, he will find nothing that is contrary to what is revealed to faith.

Now whatever may be our theories of what God ought in justice to do for man, it is beyond question that there are many whom to all appearance He has placed in circumstances that seem almost to ensure their failure. Things are against them, and they have not the courage or the power, or whatever it is that is needed, to rise above or through them, If only circumstances had been a little less unfavourable, nay, less absolutely against them, if they had had one good chance, many a man’s life would have been very different. We see men like swimmers battling bravely against the currents, and at last yielding, exhausted, to a force that is to all appearance too strong for them.

Of course we cannot see into another’s heart, we can but judge from what we do see, illuminated by what we know from our own experience. No doubt we ought to have so firm a grasp upon the Hand of Christ that however the waves and storms may be against us we are safe, But we poor creatures of destiny, knowing life as we see it and feel it, know well the awful strength of the things that are seen, and how dim and uncertain in the storm and stress appear the things that are not seen.

Indeed our Lord Himself tells us how strong is the force of circumstance, and how with other opportunities men would have been better: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works that have been done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they had done penance long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

Things then, according to our Lord’s own words, were not as favourable for the inhabitants of the cities of Tyre and Sidon as they were for those of the cities of Galilee in His time. No doubt the men of Tyre will not be judged either by the standard or opportunities of the men of Chorazin and Bethsaida. And no doubt if we could look into the hearts of men, we should find how each of those who have gone down under the pressure of circumstances had his chance, the offers of grace, and felt perhaps the first movements of another current that would have counteracted the pressure of the forces around him. But who can tell? Each has but his own experience to go upon from which he can judge of all that is for and against his victory over outer things. And such knowledge can but fill us with charity in our judgments of those who go under and are carried along in the mighty stream of circumstance.

Yet I suppose that there is no one who has failed but knows that at least he need not have failed as badly as he did, and can see in looking back, calls and opportunities to which if he had corresponded the results would have been very different.

But when we have said all, we can only feel that the whole thing is a mystery; that if men demand an explanation it cannot be given at least on this side of the grave, and that we can but cling to two things of which we Catholics at least are absolutely certain. First, that God is just, and demands of no man more than He gives him the power to do, That He judges men therefore by no hard and fast rule or standard, but gives due weight to every consideration of place, circumstances, temperament and training, That the man with the one talent was not condemned because he did not do the work of the man with five, but because he did not do whet a man with one talent could and ought to have done. “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee.” His own paltry excuses formed the materials upon which his judgment was based. And secondly, we know that God is love, and willeth not that any should perish, but that all should be saved; and that love does not see the worst in those that are loved but the best, does not scrutinise everything that is done to see if it can find ought to condemn, but rather to commend, and that we are to be judged at the last day not by an enemy, but, if I may say so, a lover, and that He judges rather by what is aimed at than by what is accomplished. And we may recall with consolation the words of Saint John: “If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things”.

But there are times when it seems as if God Himself places us in difficulties – difficulties under which, alas! many fail. When it would be impossible without unfaithfulness to the known Will of God, or the claims of religion, to avoid entering upon some position full of danger and temptation. Saul was called by God to be the first King of Israel, and it proved his ruin, Judas was called to be an Apostle – “Have I not,” said our Lord, “chosen you twelve” – and failed utterly. And we know no doubt in our own experience not a few who were doing very well in an ordinary course of life, but were forced from the very highest motives, and in obedience to the evident Will of God, into a more important position of responsibility and danger where they made shipwreck of their lives.

I think in such cases it is helpful to remember this – that such failures cannot be attributed so readily as it seems to the mere fact of the change of position and surroundings, but probably to some inherent weakness of character, or some fault which the more sheltered life failed to bring to light or to remedy, But it was there, and for the development and sanctification of the soul it was necessary that it should be dealt with. We are not placed on earth to be sheltered from temptation, but to be tried and proved and developed. “My son,” says the wise man, “if thou wilt seek the Lord, prepare thine heart for temptation.” The Psalmist who had entered into the Mind of God, cries “Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart, prove me and examine my thoughts, look well if there be any way of wickedness in me”. He asks not for shelter but testing.

Now it generally happens that after a certain time we get all that can be got out of the place and circumstance in which we find ourselves. We need, like a tree that has not room to grow, to be transplanted. We might live on the rest of our lives where we are, and never do anything very bad or very good, But we should never get to know ourselves better, or to do the real work of life. There are in us probably faults of character which only need circumstances to bring to light. The character has capacities for good and evil which must be tested. Our present position has done for us all it could, we must pass on. A boy learns all that one tutor can teach him and he goes to another; perhaps one of the first lessons he learns from the change is how ignorant he is of many things. Most lads who have been brought up at home and have never had the rough handling and healthy criticism of school, lose something which it is difficult to gain in later life, They have been sheltered, no doubt, but they have not got either the knowledge of themselves or the true proportion and perspective of life that they would have gained, and ought to have gained, in the time of preparation.

Thus, having learnt the lessons that are to be learnt in one position we are called to another; we must either go on or stagnate, we can grow no more where we are, There are risks, perhaps great risks, in the change, but we must face them; there are more than risks, though of a different kind, in staying where we are.

And so it happens that the Providence of God leads many a man backwards and forwards, hither and thither, from this position into that – from a position of dependence to one of responsibility; from a sheltered home to a place alive with risks and danger; from crowds to solitude, or solitude to crowds; from a place where every privilege and help of religion can be had to one where he is thrown alone upon God without even the Sacraments, – and all this that the character may be tested, proved and rounded off on all sides, and every fault and weakness brought to light, and if so be, corrected.

Such a process is no doubt full of risks and fraught with danger, and under its strain many fail, but be it always remembered that the man who fails by some positive failure before the eyes of the world and under great difficulties and temptations may be no worse, nay, may be much better, than the man whose whole life has been a slinking away from danger and responsibility, a sheltering himself. behind others, a refusal to face things – whose failures have been perhaps rather negative than positive, if sloth and cowardice and selfishness be negative. It is better to know our weaknesses and faults than to have them and not know them, better, may I say, to fail in the midst of noble effort than not to fail because there has been nothing either noble or involving effort in the whole life.

Now the Beatitude of the clean of heart brings this out.

The former Beatitude developed in the soul that characteristic which draws out the best side of men, and keeps back all that is most harsh and cruel, The merciful obtain mercy, and see the world at its best. And yet its business is in the world. This kindly and gentle nature is not to cloister itself. On the contrary, it is to live amongst men, and men who in its presence put forth all that is best in them. And we know what an attractive place the world is even when it shows us a very ugly side; what a spell it casts upon us; how hard it is, even when it turns its back on a man or woman and treats them with a cruelty of which it alone is capable, how hard it is to resist its fascination.

And into this world the Catholic is sent to make it more attractive still! to draw out, if it be but for a moment, that spirit of mercy towards others of which it is so much in need. He is not – unless because of some special vocation – to come out from the world and leave it to sink in its own corruption. On the contrary, the Catholic is to act as the leaven that is to mix with the heavy dough to quicken and energise it with a new life. The wheat is to grow in the midst of the tares; the wise and foolish virgins are side by side. The Church is to mix with the world, to impregnate it with her principles, and to overcome the evil that is within it by good.

And what is the Church in this sense of the word, as mixing in the social, political, mercantile world, but individual, often isolated Catholics, A priest cannot go and preach in a ball-room or on the Stock Exchange. But those Catholics whose position in life places them there can preach if not by word at least by conduct. It is thus that they act as the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

But such a position is fraught with serious danger, lest, instead of converting others they should themselves be converted to the ways of the world, made more beautiful, if but for the moment, by their presence. Yet this danger is not to be escaped from by shirking duty, and the mere cowardly flight from difficulties, There are lessons to be learnt, characteristics to be developed, tests to which the soul is to be put there and there only. Fly from the position in which God has placed you and the duty He has given you to do, and you fail of the testing and development you can get there alone, you escape one danger by exposing yourself to another and a greater.

Therefore this Beatitude follows: “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God”. Blessed are those who living in the midst of the world keep their standards unsullied and undimmed by all the lowering influences around them.

Now there are broadly speaking two classes of persons to whom this is specially difficult.

1. There are those who have the natural gift of sympathy, whose natures are widely open to all the currents and influences of human life, who delight to live in the midst of their fellow-creatures, and to feel about them the movements of life and the contact of others, They are open and easy of access, and easy to get on with; people who at once win your confidence, and even before they open their lips make you feel that you would find no difficulty in speaking to them.

2. And there are others who are self-contained and reserved, who, if they have deep feelings and are deeply moved have the misfortune of not being able to let others see it. Whatever may be going on beneath the surface, the surface is calm and cold and sometimes repellent. Often indeed such persons inwardly are very different, they long to break through the barriers and get out. Strong emotion, deep feeling, intense excitement cannot find utterance, they are expressed in awkward words that leave a false impression. What they long to say freezes upon their lips and sounds hopelessly inadequate in their own ears, The fire that is in their hearts dies cold and chilled when they would give it expression. Sometimes some little natural defect, awkwardness of manner, timidity or shyness, holds them back from a life they long to live, and from intercourse with those whom they long to know. It is all there, a very volcano of feeling and intensity. But they pass amongst men as chilling, unsympathetic, inhuman.

Now each of these class of persons living in the great world has his own special difficulties in keeping his heart pure from the lowering influences amidst which his lot is cast.

It is one thing to classify sins in the cold catalogue of words. It is a very different thing to see these sins committed by men and women who are nothing if they are not charming, attractive and refined.

For instance, you know that insincerity is a very odious thing, that an insincere person is one who never can be trusted and ought never under any circumstances to be encouraged. And yet with this knowledge clear before your mind you spend a delightful half-hour talking to a person who scarcely takes the trouble to conceal his insincerity, saying things to please you which you know are not true and which neither he nor you believes, And thinking it over you have to convince yourself again that all this charming unreality is really as much a sin against truth as a vulgar lie told you by a beggar in the street. Uncharitable words we know are wrong – we are warned against them in the Gospels, their sinfulness is impressed upon us in all the spiritual books; it is very wrong to pick your neighbour’s, character to pieces. But when it is done in a very amusing way and with a keen sense of the ridiculous, and withal by a person who is refined and sympathetic, it is difficult to feel that there is much harm in it. The brilliantly clever and daring way in which some of my ideals were treated in a light conversation, half-banter and half-earnest, by a man or woman of the world who showed experience and a knowledge of the world in the turn of every phrase, hid the subtle poison that flowed through it all, and made me feel for the first time somewhat behind the times, and as if my ideals were a little stultified and old-fashioned.

We know well as Catholics the sacredness of the marriage law and the strong condemnation by our Lord of those who put away the partner of their marriage and marry another. But when one very near and dear to us, under shelter of the law of the land, violates the law of God and lives openly in legalised adultery, and when we meet such a person and find to our astonishment that she does not seem to have deteriorated in other ways, and is recognised by the world as one living in the lawful state of matrimony, it is difficult to realise that the wrong is just the same as though it had not the shelter of the law. That the sin is no less odious than if it were flaunted beneath the gas lamps of the street with all the squalid misery of painted cheeks and shabby finery.

Sins interpreted in terms of human personality, and often a very charming personality, quickly become transformed. I think most of us know one or two persons who, for the moment at least, could take the ugliness out of almost any sin and give it a certain graciousness. Words spoken by human lips sound very different from those same words upon the cold page of a book. Life, personality, passion, breathe through them and seem to burn out the inherent coarseness and vulgarity of their bald meaning. Good women will marry men whom they know to be thoroughly bad; the badness which in the abstract they would fiercely resent, they more than condone in the concrete. We often hear it said, “I like so and so in spite of his faults,” and yet it would be well within the truth to say, “I like even his faults, nay, I like him because of his faults”. He has a way of making his faults attractive.

It is true, we all know it and feel it. Sin considered in itself as a violation of the law of God and of our own nature is an ugly thing, but in the concrete, and revealed in the charming atmosphere of an attractive personality, it is very different. There are diseases, often loathsome and deadly, which give an added beauty and refinement to their victims. The autumn leaf has a splendour of its own, and the setting sun in the fierce glory of its decline attracts many who would be unmoved by the chaste beauty of its rising, And sin is death – moral and spiritual death. And therefore for those who are naturally sympathetic there is a danger from constantly living in the society of people whose aims and standards are so different from their own. They see and hear things done and said in the easy and pleasant manner of those about them that in the quiet of their own room their conscience condemns, Are these things really so bad as they were taught to believe? Are they not a little prudish? Are they to cultivate the spirit of a prig and condemn what is done by men and women who are in many ways far better than themselves?

We read the Decalogue, and its interpretation and application by our Lord, and we see the men and women who in their faulty way try to obey it. We know nothing of the inner struggle, the brave efforts, the penitence for the many failures. We see only the result. A character full of inconsistencies; here and there some fair virtue in a very worthless and tarnished setting, a person who seems to be constantly hampered by an over-anxious conscience, and one not very comfortable to live with. And then we see others who go with the currents that are around them, who never protest, never are shocked, but fall in with perfect ease with the ways and lives of the easy-going world, who have a pleasant smile for the weaknesses of human nature, and do not ask or expect much from it as long as it keeps itself within the limits of decency. The natural human sympathy, which is a thing most good in itself, one of the great attributes of our Lord, tends to soften our judgments not merely of the people who do these things, which is quite right, but of the wrong things that are done.

How can an abstract cold standard have a chance against living types of character. How can Moses with his Law written on two tables of stone, even though they be written by the Finger of God, stand against Aaron and the daughters of Israel dancing round the golden calf. No wonder that he threw them from him in despair and broke them to atoms. The cold chaste standards of a rigid orthodoxy, whether in doctrine or manners, has a poor chance in presence of the warm palpitating life of human beings who to all appearance get on so well without them. Surely God should have known His world better.

And then there are the other class. Those who are not or who cannot show that they are sympathetic, living in the midst of the world, yet shut out from its intimacy by the barriers of their unconquerable reserve. It is impossible to live in constant intercourse with people and not be influenced by them in some way. The mere presence of another person in the room cannot be ignored, or treated as one would treat a piece of furniture. Somehow it affects us, we feel it all over. A silent person in the room gets on one’s nerves. We want to break the silence to find some point of contact. We feel as if two persons thrown together for any length of time ought to be in some sort of communication with one another, the solidarity of the human race demands it. And if there be no intercourse there are mysterious actions of one upon the other that operate like mesmeric currents and attract or repel or set up a kind of psychic irritation.

And this, and far more than this, is felt in a crowd of people. A crowd fills the air with sympathy and creates a mysterious atmosphere of its own. We become moved and excited in a crowd as we are nowhere else. Reserve seems thrown aside, the air is charged with electricity,

Now those who are daily living under such circumstances, in the midst of people whom they are constantly thrown with, and yet shut out from, because of their shyness or reserve must suffer keenly from their exclusion.

It will either make them bitter, cynical, more aloof; they will find themselves constantly passing judgment upon those who say and do things that they would give the world to be able to say and do; or it will make them in their desperation, daring and reckless. They cannot merely stand apart and find pleasure in the enjoyment of others. They get to hate them for having what they have not, or they are prepared to do anything to be as they are.

I think there is no one capable of such daring, perhaps even of such badness, as the woman who wants to throw herself into the tumultuous life around her and is held back by the fact that she has not the natural gifts that would bring her to the front. The restraints that she chafes against, the things that she sees and hears, and interprets perhaps as even worse than they are, all prepare her for a reckless plunge when she gets the chance. If she has been religiously brought up she revolts against the standards which she tries to imagine hold her back. The beauty and easy ways of human life from which she is shut out, rouses in her a fierce antagonism against what she considers the narrow lines of her training, and her rebellious and bitter spirit throws them to the winds and tears them to tatters at the first chance she gets.

Verily if the Church is the training place for holiness and the Vision of God, the world with its cheery disregard for all that is serious, and its easy standards and its broad toleration and its appearance of refinement even in what is immoral, is the enemy of God.

Yet it cannot be left to itself and its corruptions, The claims of duty call multitudes of Catholics into it. Indeed the one breakwater against the ever-rising tide of sin and complete disregard of God and His commandments is the presence of the Church in her midst.

Therefore the great danger to those who know the truth and the right and are constantly in contact with those whose ways and standards are different, is that of losing tone, of feeling that after all we must take things as we find them, and that Catholics are apt to be too rigid and a little narrow in their judgments of men and things, and that it is a good thing for them to rub shoulders with men and women who think and act differently. But they do not see that this often means that the salt loses its flavour and is trodden under the feet of men.

How then is it possible for them to live in the midst of all this lowering atmosphere and to keep themselves unspotted from the world?

One thing I think is clear, No mere abstract standard of right and truth can hold out for long against the overwhelming influence of human life when it is not gross, but on the contrary when, even in its vices, it is cultivated and refined, and repudiates as much as any Catholic, though from different motives, all that is vulgar and degrading in sin. What chance can law have in comparison with life? Or the cold voice that forbids and commands, against the warm radiating influences that flow forth from living beings, throbbing with vitality. Who does not know the dissolving effect of a well-loved voice and presence upon a resolution formed in the solitude of one’s own chamber? Who has not experienced how quickly the piercing voice of conscience can be argued into silence if it be only for one fatal moment? “It is not good for man to be alone”; the law of his nature compels him to form companionships and friendships, and these are, for good or evil, the strongest influences upon his life.

How then can men find an influence strong enough to counteract the lowering effect of the moral tone which surrounds them?

There is but one way. Personal influence must be met by personal influence. Nothing else is strong enough or real enough. A law will not do, it must be a person. Many a character has been strengthened and transformed by a noble friendship which gave a concrete and living expression to the hazy ideals that were not strong enough to counteract the surrounding influences.

We need to see the beauty of goodness in order to realise the ugliness of sin, in however seductive a form it may clothe itself. We need the vision of human life, as God designed it, that we may be dissatisfied with what man has made it. But not a vision drawn by some artist’s hand or described by some great writer, but one that is alive and close to us, with whom we can hold communion and live in closest friendship, one who is wholly free from all those weaknesses and idiosyncrasies which mar and disfigure the beauty of holiness, It is only a Living Being that can counteract the mighty currents of the life that surges around us at full tide. It is only a human heart that can break the spell of human influence that drags us down. The fair and noble Form of the central Figure of the Gospel, drawn however vividly upon the page of a Book, bidding the weary and heavy laden come to Him for rest, is not enough. The Voice grows dim and inarticulate when heard amidst the living voices around us singing with passion and excitement, the Form seems cold and pale and ghostlike compared with those of warm flesh and blood which press upon us on all sides.

We need more than this, we need the living Presence of Him of whom the Gospels speak, alive and close to us today, to Whom we can turn in the hour of need, Whose influence we can feel more potent than that of any one on earth.

And this is given us in the Person of our Lord. The centre, the life, the mainspring of the Christian Faith.

And yet we are so used to the attraction of imperfect humanity, that at first the character of a perfect man disturbs and disappoints us. We admire physical courage more than moral courage, a certain recklessness more than self-control, one who loves the things of this world more than one who is ready to sacrifice all for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake. We have so long associated certain faults, even grave sins, with our idea of manliness, that a sinless man seems almost unmanly. It is a shock to many a woman to find the man she loves innocent of certain sins; he seems to her lacking in virility. The Christian mother, it seems, would love her boy more if he struck back than if he turned the other cheek to the smiter.

For in every sphere we need an education to be able to appreciate the most perfect. In art and literature, as well as in character, the admiration of the multitude is given to what is within its reach, that which is faulty and imperfect. Perfection is at once a revelation and an education. Only those who have studied can appreciate the works of the great prophets, the great revealers of beauty.

And only those who study the life of our Lord and draw near to Him in close communion and intimate friendship see and know in Him the perfect beauty of moral perfection.

We need therefore to correct the false impressions of our experience in life by educating ourselves in another experience. To realise the marring effect of sin, by close intercourse with the perfect type of humanity – He who is “the chief amongst ten thousand and altogether lovely”.

In Nature the impressions of the eye have often to be corrected by the deductions of reason. And in the spiritual life it is, if possible, even more so. The false impressions of life have to be corrected by the clear vision of faith. We need a Person to correct the influence of persons. A Person whose goodness is the most attractive the world has ever seen, to show us how deceptive and unreal is the attraction of that which is evil.

The whole ethical teaching of our Lord is, therefore, bound up with Himself. He did not come to promulgate a law, but to reveal a Character. Compare the Gospel with the old law and we see at once the difference. The law went into the minutest details, forbidding this and commanding that. There was scarcely a circumstance in the domestic, social and religious life of the Jews with which the law had not something to do, It said “do this and ye shall live”. The ethical and spiritual teaching of our Lord is summed up in one brief sentence, “If thou wilt be perfect, follow Me”.

They know little of human nature, its passions and its weaknesses who can imagine that the teaching of Christ can be separated from Himself, and that the exalted moral standard which He gave the world would long hold sway over men whose hearts were not touched by His love. It is not His teacheng that changed the heathen world into the Christian, it is Himself. “If ye love Me,” He said, “keep My commandments.” His love is at once the motive and the power of obeying His teaching. Let the Personal influence of our Lord be removed from the world, and His teaching will soon follow.

And the vivid realisation of His Person as a living object of love and source of power can only be kept alive by the faithful practice of religion. Our Lord in founding the Catholic Church knew human nature better than we know it ourselves. He knew that our nature is complex and must be reached in many ways and through many channels.

The great doctrine of the Incarnate Christ upon the throne of God, the Mediator and the Life of all His people, is like a priceless jewel set in precious stones, It is surrounded by other doctrines, devotions and practices, by which it is brought home to the minds of the faithful and kept alive in their hearts. And it would be within the truth to say that every one of these doctrines and devotions has this, and this alone as its end.

The minds of ordinary men are unable to hold for long the doctrine and purpose of the Incarnation bereft of all those truths and devotional practices which surround it and uphold it, and feed the mind and kindle the heart, and make it, acting through many channels, a living reality to them, The Blessed Sacrament upon the altar, the centre of devotion and the fountain of the Church’s strength, forces upon men’s minds, if they could forget it, the reality of our Lord’s Humanity living still in all its perfection, and teaches us that the Incarnate God is our food. The Mass with all its sacred rites teaches the most unlettered the living efficacy of the Atonement, and brings its infinite power to bear upon each individual soul. The Sacrament of penance makes once more real to each penitent such scenes in the Gospel as those in which our Lord pardons the Magdalene and says to the sinful woman, “neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more,” and promises Paradise to the penitent thief. The devotion to the Blessed Mother of God is not, as some would suppose a rival to the devotion to Her Son, it keeps before men the reality of the nature which He assumed.

Christ is in fact everywhere, and in every act of His Church – its central fire, its heart, its life, living for Him and by Him, and making His Presence a perennial source of power to the minds and hearts of His people.

And thus it is through the constant and faithful practice of their Religion that those who are called to live much in the world get the antidote to its poison, and the stimulant that strengthens them against the lowering influence of its moral atmosphere, They see the Beauty of Holiness in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the evil of sin in however charming a guise it may be presented. For through the practice of their religion our Lord is knit into their hearts and minds, and His Person stands out in bold relief against the background of the shifting scenes around them, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.” It is this purity of heart, this keeping unsullied the ideals of our faith, that fits the soul finally for the Vision of God. And it is only by ever keeping before us the Vision of God Incarnate that we can preserve this purity.