XLT Holy Hour with young people

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Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

It is beautiful to be together here this evening to adore our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament, to pray before Jesus, to spend time with Him in the quiet of this Cathedral. I invite you in your prayer this evening to meditate on one of the eight Beatitudes: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

The Beatitudes are at the very heart of the teachings of Jesus. The Beatitudes are really the program of life of the Christian. They show us what it means to live in Christ, because the Beatitudes are really a kind of self-portrait of Jesus. When we live the Beatitudes, we are living like Jesus. A Christian is called to be a man or woman of the Beatitudes. That’s a good definition of a saint, a man or woman of the Beatitudes. The saints lived like Christ lived. They obeyed the commandments, which is very important, but they went deeper. They imitated Jesus along the path of love. Following Jesus as His disciples is more than the observance of the commandments. The Christian life is the way of the Beatitudes, the way of Jesus. We can’t understand the Beatitudes or live the Beatitudes except by following Jesus and opening our hearts to His grace.

These eight sayings all begin with the Greek word “Makarios” – “Blessed.” The Latin translation is Beatus (that’s where we get the word Beatitude, from the Latin Beatus). Beatus, Makarios, is translated into English as Blessed or Happy or Fortunate. So the Beatitudes show us the way to happiness, true happiness, the way to eternal life. They don’t follow the logic of this world which exalts power and riches. The Beatitudes sound a little crazy in the culture of this world. Happy and blessed to be poor, to be meek, to be persecuted? Sounds crazy. The logic of this world has us seeking pleasure, success, and possessions, thing that can easily become idols. They give us an illusory sense of satisfaction, but ultimately they leave us unsatisfied, even enslaved. To live the Beatitudes is to be a fool for Christ. To live the Beatitudes is to be a revolutionary, to swim against the tide. To live the Beatitudes, however, is the way to real happiness. When we live the Beatitudes we are saying no to what Pope Francis calls an ephemeral, superficial and throwaway culture.”

If I spoke tonight on the 8 Beatitudes, there would be no time left for prayer and adoration, so I am going to talk about just one of the 8 Beatitudes: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” Sometimes it’s translated as “clean of heart.” This Beatitude, like all the Beatitudes, contains a great promise. The promise to the pure of heart is that they will see God. Wow! We all long to see God, to be in the peace and glory of His presence.

Fundamentally, to be pure of heart means to be single-hearted. What does the Bible mean when it talks about the heart. In the Biblical meaning, the heart is the center of one’s inner life, the seat of our emotions, our intellect, and most especially our will. To be pure of heart is more than being morally pure and free of sin, though that’s obviously a significant part of being pure of heart. To be pure of heart means to be single-hearted, in other words, not to have a divided heart. In other words, we don’t serve two masters. Our life isn’t divided. Our soul has one focus. Now, of course, life has different facets. We have all kinds of things going on in our life – family, school, friends, and all kinds of activities. To be single-hearted, pure of heart, means that every facet of our life is ordered around one thing, actually one Person, Jesus Christ. The single-hearted life is a well-ordered life, not a scattered, haphazard life. Well, what puts our life in order? It’s centered on Christ. So when we make decisions in our life, we seek to discern what is the will of God. How does this or that decision lead me closer to Christ or does it lead me away from Him? When we are pure of heart, single-hearted, we recognize that our life is a journey, one journey with one destination. It’s a journey to life