Jun 27, 2020 filed under Beatitudes, Hope.

Happy woman with hands over heart

St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-394) wrote that blessedness does not lie in knowing something about God, but rather in possessing God within oneself.

This “possession” means that we share in the divine nature of God and that our glory now and in heaven is greater than we can imagine—if only we participate with God’s action in us!

Gregory adds: “The one who cleanses his heart of every created thing and every evil desire will see the image of the divine nature in the beauty of his own soul….You men have within you a desire to behold the supreme good. Now when you are told that the majesty of God is exalted above the heavens, that his glory is inexpressible, his beauty indescribable, and his nature transcendent, do not despair because you cannot behold the object of your desire.

“If by a diligent life of virtue you wash away the film of dirt that covers your heart, then the divine beauty will shine forth in you.”

This “diligent life of virtue” can have life only with daily prayer. Yes, it takes work to change habits. But without daily contact with God, our motive for doing good dims and our will to change old habits fades.

St. Gregory’s words spur us on to keep going in our spiritual life—to keep our eyes on the bright vision of our true destiny:

“Those who look at the sun in a mirror, even if they do not look directly at the sky, see its radiance in the reflection just as truly as do those who look directly at the sun’s orb. It is the same, says the Lord, with you.

“Even though you are unable to contemplate and see the inaccessible light, you will find what you seek within yourself, provided you return to the beauty and grace of that image which was originally placed in you. For God is purity; he is free from sin and a stranger to all evil. If this can be said of you, then God will surely be within you.

“If your mind is untainted by any evil, free from sin, and purified from all stain, then indeed are you blessed, because your sight is keen and clear. Once purified, you see things that others cannot see. When the mists of sin no longer cloud the eye of your soul, you see that blessed vision clearly in the peace and purity of your own heart.

“That vision is nothing else than the holiness, the purity, the simplicity and all the other glorious reflections of God’s nature, through which God himself is seen.”

I invite you to scroll down and share an example of something you did or saw that gave you a glimpse of God’s own purity and goodness!

Love always,
Rose

16 Responses to “How to Attain Purity (advice from an expert)”

  1. Diane Isabelle

    Hi Rose,

    In these challenging times, I’ve seen God’s purity and goodness in nature. Blossoms are everywhere, in white and every color of the rainbow. Baby rabbits are scampering around our yard and come right up to us if we stand still. Birds come to our feeder. Praise to the Lord for His creation!

    Reply
  2. Linda Hartzell

    My daughter recently sent me a picture of my infant grandson looking at her. To me, his innocent face recognizing his mama and smiling at her is an example of God’s purity and goodness. My heart swells with the joy of it.

    Thank you for your reflections, Rose. In these challenging times may we all strive to “see things that others cannot see.”

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth

    Thank you for this reflection. I am missing having time with Jesus in Adoration, or even just quiet time in a church with Him in the tabernacle. Where I live, we are in our second week of churches being open for again for Mass which I am so thankful for! But we have to leave right after Mass so the pews can be sanitized before the next Mass and the church is locked again right after the last Mass each day. And I am just CRAVING quiet time with Him. This reflection is a good reminder to spend more time with Him at home each day and to look for Him in myself, my husband, and our nine children (all home because of the quarantining and packed like sardines into our little house).

    Reply
    • Rose Folsom

      God bless you, Elizabeth and thanks for your comment. No doubt you could teach us all about the virtue of patience! You’re in my prayers.
      Rose

      Reply
      • Elizabeth

        God answered your prayers for me already!! After I left that comment, our family went to Sunday Mass (in two vehicles due to scheduling logistics). After Mass, I noticed a couple of people kneeling on the floor in front of the tabernacle, which is off to the side in our church. No one was asking them to leave and no extra sanitizing would be necessary, since they weren’t touching anything. Also, the church was still going to be open since another Mass would be starting in 45 min. So my husband agreed to take everyone home in our van and left me alone with the car keys and a gloriously uninterrupted few minutes with Jesus. God is so good!! And so is my husband. :)

        Reply
  4. Rose Folsom

    VIA EMAIL:
    Happy Sunday Rose!
    A wonderful & profound reflection from St. Nyssa!

    Prayer life doesn’t end b/c we are getting our freedom back as there is nothing more important in this world than receiving Christ our Lord sacramentally in the form of the holy Eucharist!

    I give glory, thanks, and praise everyday to the Lord for the opportunity to receive Him helping me to grow in the virtues now as well as preparing me for the life to come!

    I think the reason I truly enjoy the outdoors so much whether it is kayaking, hiking, at the beach, etc., as that looking at his creation brings me closer to God! In admiring his creation, I’m recognizing what an awesome God we have!!

    I went to my favorite place yesterday, the Slough Preserve, & what a delight it was to hear the birds singing their hearts out, frogs croaking, & hearing the hammering sound on the tree trunks by a pileated woodpecker reverberating throughout the forest!

    All the beautiful plants from palm trees to cypress trees with all the colorful butterflies 🦋 flying about! I’m identifying new species everyday!

    Yesterday walking to my mailbox I came across this adorable, tiny rabbit munching on the grass. It just melted my heart. Right from my lanai I’ve witnessed mocking birds & blue jays feeding their young!! All this always brings me back to our creator and the awesome artist he is!
    God bless,
    Sal

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth

    God answered your prayers for me already!! After I left that comment, our family went to Sunday Mass (in two vehicles due to scheduling logistics). After Mass, I noticed a couple of people kneeling on the floor in front of the tabernacle, which is off to the side in our church. No one was asking them to leave and no extra sanitizing would be necessary, since they weren’t touching anything. Also, the church was still going to be open since another Mass would be starting in 45 min. So my husband agreed to take everyone home in our van and left me alone with the car keys and a gloriously uninterrupted few minutes with Jesus. God is so good!! And so is my husband. :)

    Reply
  6. Tom Roberts

    Aristotle said it: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” I have daily Contemplative prayer and daily scripture readings. I attended daily mass when I could and will again when it is offered again. Somewhere along my spiritual life I adopted the habit of doing prayer and scripture readings first thing in the morning and arriving at mass early, maybe half an hour early. It’s an overt act of enthusiasm. Purity? I’m not so sure that characterizes my life but it does for the first hour or two and that’s not a bad start.

    Reply
    • Rose Folsom

      Norman Mailer did the daily crossword puzzle first thing in the morning “to comb my brain.” Yours is a nice description of the Catholic way to comb our brain — morning prayer starts the day with purity and focus on God. The fact that nuns pray together many times during the day tells me that the purity of intention does not last long for anyone, so we need to go back for “refills” if we want it to last all day.

      Reply
      • Barbara

        When I looked into my baby granddaughter’s pure, unblinking eyes it was if I saw straight through to eternity. What a profound experience in such a tiny, beloved little bundle.

        Reply
        • Rose Folsom

          Thank you, Barb. Newborns are so close to just having been created — their special connection with God is extra mysterious.

          Reply
  7. Mary Ellen Stroud

    This time of pandemic I appreciate the masses streamed from my parish, EWTN, Bishops, and the Divine Mercy shrine. I also appreciate this virtue group. Jesus is drawing me to himself in scripture and spiritual reading. I’m on an Emmaus walk and yearn for the Eucharistic Jesus. This is a time in which Jesus is enlarging my heart and pruning it to be able to better open the door of my heart to Him.

    Reply

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