Offering God a Pure Heart

The greatest obstacles to contemplation is not disposing yourself for it. When we remain dissipated and attached we block the reception of this most sublime gift.

St. John of the Cross in his work  The Dark Night speaks of this desire for contemplation when he writes, “For God does not bring to contemplation all those who purposely exercise themselves in the way of the spirit, nor even half. Why? He best knows.” (Book I, Chap 9) However, in his commentary on The Rule of Carmel, Jerome of the Mother of God, OCD,  says that the saying “He best knows” is a Spanish saying which means: the whole world knows it. Because precisely when one does not do what one ought- then it is clear as day!

How can we excite in ourselves the desire to attain the gift of contemplation?

We often fail to dispose ourselves for contemplation either because we give in to too much activity or because we do not produce enough acts of love. By offering to God a  holy heart, one free from all actual stain of sin, we can at least do our part and strive for perfection.

St. Teresa in The Way of Perfection chapter 17 says, “I don’t say that we shouldn’t try; on the contrary, we should try everything. What I am saying is that this is not a matter of your choosing but of the Lord’s….Be sure that if you do what lies in your power, preparing yourselves for contemplation with the perfection mentioned, and that if He doesn’t give it to you (and I believe He will give if detachment and humility are truly present), He will save this gift for you so as to grant it to you all at once in heaven.”

May all our efforts cooperate with the grace God gives in each moment to prepare a heart, pure and receptive, to receive so great a gift.


6 thoughts on “Offering God a Pure Heart

    • Yes, I do think that contemplation in the ordinary sense of the word, to meditate or reflectively think about something, does enable one to offer a heart to God. However, the contemplation that these Carmelite saints are speaking of is mystical or infused contemplation. This type of contemplation only God can give when He wants and to whom He wants. There is nothing one can do to receive this – it is pure gift. I like to think of the pure heart described here to be like the beatitude “blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God”. The purity being that of a sinlessness or at least without any attachment to sin or any creature. This is the type of soul that can draw down God’s attention, much like the Blessed Mother’s.
      You might like this post on contemplation:
      or this one on purity:

  1. Rebecca, I love this topic…a Pure Heart. One day I was gazing at the tabernacle and wondering how I could grow in love for God, and those two words came right to mind. I understood, as you explained, that it is about so much more than chastity,.. but the detachment John of the Cross stresses so often. It makes a good examination of conscience, doesn’t it? What was I attached to today? Always something! I hope you had a lovely Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Tomorrow we can meditate on Mary’s Purest Heart!
    PS I was so blessed and inspired by your recent comment on Connie’s blog regarding your great loss, and how you find peace because He is God and you are not. I was simply stunned and deeply touched and totally inspired! Thank you! xo

    • Thank you Patricia for your lovely comments. A pure heart is something I always strive for and ask for graces in this regard. There are always attachments to deal with especially my own self-love. But He is merciful!

  2. Pingback: The Extraordinary is Always Silent | a solitary bird

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