David Vryhof: What is purity of heart?

“This call – to “purity of heart,” simplicity of life, and single-minded focus on God and God’s Kingdom – is much needed today. We are overwhelmed and inundated with too much of everything: too many possessions, too much food, too much stimulation, too many activities, too much work, too much information, too many choices. As a consequence, most of us live scattered, hectic lives, racing from one task to another, juggling too many commitments, always living on the surface and never really knowing ourselves, or others. Nor have we the time and space to truly know God.

The simplicity we need has both an inward dimension and an outward expression. Inwardly it seeks an integration of the self that is rooted in our identity as beloved children of God. When we know ourselves to be children of God above all else, we find the freedom to let go of the need to compete for status, success and popularity. We can let go of jealousy, envy and pride. Our hearts are fixed on one thing – knowing and loving and serving God. Everything else then assumes its rightful place and order in our lives.

As our hearts become pure, others will notice changes in the way we speak, the way we dress, the way we work, the way we conduct ourselves. We will grow in appreciation for ordinary things, and will be content with less. Our hearts will fill with gratitude for the beauty and wonder of creation, for the gift of life, and for the loving kindness of God.

We will grow in concern for the world and its peoples, and for our environment. We will be increasingly skeptical of our consumerist culture, and will grow in compassion for the poor. Our lives will become simpler, more generous, more authentic.”

David Vryhof, Selah Faculty, in “The Gift of Simplicity: To Will One Thing” in SILENCIO, a resource of Leadership Transformations, January 2015, twenty-fifth edition.

Father in heaven, purify our hearts. We will one thing this new year – to seek you first (cf. Matthew 6:33). For your namesake lead and guide us on this inward and outward journey wherever it leads us. Amen.

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