“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”
The following are excerpts from a 2002 article by Very Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky on the nature of spiritual love and the 'spiritual heart'....
Where can you go in America and avoid the symbol of the heart? On Valentine’s Day we send notes of affection to family, friends and in schools, even near strangers. Bumper stickers proclaim “I V [NY, favorite pet, favorite team, etc.]” It’s almost impossible to find a pop song with some theme other than love—either found, lost, wished for or remembered. It’s something presumed to need no definition of explanation. Yet that’s the simplest way to avoid complete understanding.
A true Christian knows that the heart is a mighty mystery. Everything that comes in touch with the core of our very being enters through the heart. All meditation involves the heart. The mind has several levels, most of which are generally hidden from our consciousness. Thoughts come out in our dreams, daydreams, and even when we most wish they were not present. Obsessions and compulsions invade our thoughts and cause us to think and act in ways that may not be in our best interests. We don’t easily control the workings of our mind. But our hearts express the conditions of our body and soul at every given moment. Everything mental, physical and spiritual forms its impression on the heart. All that comes to us through our senses, surrounding or embracing us, impacts on our hearts. Jesus knows that better than we do.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
How does one purify the heart? It takes at least one lifetime. To begin, one must pay attention to the heart. My sense is that the female is generally better at this than the male, but that may be reverse prejudice—generally, because of course the saints are men and women. Men, however, are culturally conditioned to emphasize reason and so-called “common sense,” meaning to be practical—not swayed by emotion.
Some forms of Christianity tend to emotionalism, pietism, and romanticism. Orthodox Christianity is not among them. On the contrary, those who have by God’s grace and their constant attention achieved purity of heart are anything but gullible and sentimental. They are well aware of what it takes to cleanse the heart of impurities...The heart is the battlefield where the forces of evil confront the grace given to us at baptism. It is also the place where the Holy Spirit prays for us with unspoken words. Through the heart we come in touch with everything that exists in God’s creation. Also through the heart we have access to the Holy Trinity. Medical science is doing marvelous things to correct the defects of our physical hearts, even to the extent of implanting mechanical substitutes for our hearts. True Christians are concerned with the immaterial, spiritual heart, the organ of the soul’s communication with the Holy Trinity.
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