Once a priest went to visit Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. After prayers she asked him if he was ready to go see Jesus. The priest could barely hold his excitement! This holy woman was going to show him Jesus! She took him out into the streets and found a dying man, covered in worms. She held the man and looked into his eyes and told the priest that here was Jesus. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but so is God.
I had a friend who believed that if he became pure he would have a vision of God. That’s what fundamentalism does. In trying make everything literal, they miss the fundamentals. They try to get a vision of God when He is right there in front of them all the time.
Jesus would later say, “The lamp of your body is your eye. When your eye is clear, you whole body too is filled with light, but when it is diseased your body too will be in darkness.” I don’t think He is talking about cataracts. He is talking about the lens through which you see the world. If your lens is distorted, you will see a distorted world. If your lens is clear, you will see God in the world, in the people around you, and in yourself.
Remember when you were upset with someone. They hurt you, so you want to hurt them in return. If you have unforgiveness in your heart and the desire to do violence, even just verbally, you won’t see that person clearly. You won’t see God in them.
Purity of heart isn’t about being sinless. Like much of what Jesus teaches, it is about forgiveness. A pure heart is one that forgives, and doesn’t resent. It loves instead of hates. It is open to others, even strangers and people who aren’t like you.
In conclusion, Jesus calls us to purity of heart with the promise that seeing correctly will follow, but in other places He also says the opposite is true: pure seeing will fill us with light