The Immaculate Conception and Purity of Heart

During a general audience on the vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Benedict XVI e talked about the significance of the feast and why it is so important to be pure of heart.

“The solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated tomorrow, reminds us of Mary’s acceptance of a single plan of salvation,” the Pope said, according to Rome Reports.

He went on to highlight the virtue of humility and explained why it’s important to have a pure heart.

“It is the purity of heart that allows us to recognize the face of God in Jesus Christ. It’s having a heart that’s as simple as a child’s, without the presumption of one who thinks we do not need anyone, not even God.”

As Jesus taught us, only the pure of heart can see God.  Purity of heart corresponds with the Holy Spirit’s gift of understanding which enables us to penetrate the divine mysteries. But our heart cannot be pure when it is clouded by inordinate attachments to creatures and possessions.

” . . . (I)f men but know how great is the blessing of divine light whereof they are deprived by this blindness which proceeds from their affections and desires,” writes St. John of the Cross in the Ascent of Mount Carmel.

As the spiritual masters teach, most of us are in need of purification of some kind or another and for this reason, God will often subject us to various trials, sufferings and sacrifices, which help to detach us from the things of earth and free our hearts for Him alone. This cleansing is necessary because clinging to the world, creatures, and earthly possessions leads to dullness of mind, which makes it too easy to err in understanding divine things. A dulled mind tends to imagine divine mysteries in a material way, to measure them by worldly standards, or interpret them according to our own personal views.

“This dullness of mind, unfortunately, has been the source of many heresies in the Church,” writes Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen.

“If we wish to respond to the motions of the gift of understanding, we must be detached from our own ideas and ready to renounce them even though very dear to us. We must not be too sure about our way of understanding the things of God, but must seek the guidance of the Church.”

If the Holy Spirit finds us pure in heart, He will enlighten us more and more and this greater purity will lead to greater light, and vice versa.

“From clarity to clarity, we shall arrive at a more profound penetration of the divine mysteries, which will give us a kind of foretaste of the beatific vision,” Father Gabriel writes.

“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God!”

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