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5 min • December 30, 2021

If you want to be happy, you must be pure, for Jesus said, “blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

And the Holy Spirit says, “strive for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord,” and that holiness comes from purity.

But you must understand what purity is.

Purity is, as St. James says, keeping yourself unstained from the world.

St. John says that all that’s in this world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Then he adds that it will all pass away. St. Peter says the same thing, that even the elements will melt with fire.

Now, to keep yourself pure, keep your heart out of this world, and keep it in Jesus, and only let Jesus fully into your heart.

All the rest of this creation, we must only let into the “outer court” of our hearts. That is, enjoy it as much as God gives it to us, but do not let it all the way into your heart.

Don’t get me wrong. All that God has created is good. But if you let it into your heart too much, it will replace the love for God that you ought to only have in the deepest part of your heart.

And Jesus says that nothing defiles us except whatever comes out of our hearts. Obviously he only means when it’s something other than the love of God. And the only way those things can get into our hearts is if we let them.

So enjoy the good blessings God has given you. But remember they come from God, and give thanks to God for them with St. Paul.

How do you know if something is in the deepest part of your heart? It’s what you think about when you wake up, and while you’re falling asleep. It’s what you turn to when you’re bored or sad.

So if you do start to feel that the perishable things of this world are entering your heart a little too deeply, back away from them for a bit!

It’s kind of like pinching yourself when you’re reminded of a funny joke and feeling the urge to giggle, but you’re in the middle of a funeral Mass.

This is why St. Francis of Assisi threw himself into snow, and why St. Benedict threw himself into a thorn bush. We sometimes need to do a little extra to keep things out of our hearts.

Now, if it’s love for the perishable things of this world that consists of impurity, look at who left St. Paul during his imprisonment, who were “in love with this present world”. Everyone except “Luke alone” he says!

And why? Probably because St. Luke was deeply absorbed in the great mysteries of our sacred Truth. He studied the historicity of these mysteries for “some time past” before writing them down in his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. And he wrote the most about the Incarnation. I think I read somewhere that he wrote most of the New Testament (more than St. Paul!).

This is one of the best ways to keep our hearts in Jesus and Jesus in our hearts: meditate on these beautiful mysteries often. Let them sink deeply into your heart.

This is not just for monks and nuns, no! It’s for people of all walks of life. Whether you’re single or married, have a job or are a stay at home parent, this is the way to preserve your purity.

It seems that both the cause and the effect of purity is to see that there is a deeper reality, “behind the curtain” of the life we live in every day, a spiritual reality where all our actions have much more weight than they appear to, where appearances are deceiving.

This is that epic reality where countless angels and numberless demons are fighting practically every minute, all around us.

Cornelius, that devout soldier in the Acts of the Apostles, caught a little glimpse of this world when an angel appeared to him. And what was his reaction? “Cornelius stared at him in terror!” Because this deeper, more true, more real world is far more real, and far more epic than we expect.

So meditate on the great mysteries of our holy religion, and do not let the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life enter your heart. Then you will remain pure, and become more pure.

You will be like the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Blessed Saint Joseph, who never had such a terrified reaction to seeing angels. And why? Because they always lived in this deeper reality.

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