My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE DIVINE BEATITUDES OF THE LORD, GOD, AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST [Part II]
BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART, FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD" (Mt. 5:8).
Saint Peter of Damascus explains: "It is through detachment that one is enabled to fulfill the 6th Commandment: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’ [Mt. 5:8]. The ‘PURE IN HEART’ are those WHO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED EVERY VIRTUE REFLECTIVELY AND REVERENTLY AN DHAVE COME TO SEE THE TRUE NATURE OF THINGS. In this way, they find peace in their thoughts."
Saint John Klimakos says, "If the face of a loved one clearly and completely changes us, and makes us cheerful, happy, and carefree, what will the Face of the Lord not do when He makes His presence felt invisibly in a pure soul?"
Saint Jerome writes: "He is not referring to those who have no consciousness of sin when speaking of the ‘pure in heart.’ A pure person is conspicuous for his pure heart; the temple of God cannot be polluted. THEOSIS (deification), in Patristic Tradition, IS THE VISION OF GOD (THAT IS, CHRIST) OR GLORIFICATION. One who has attained the state OF ILLUMINATION is a dwelling place, a temple, of the Holy Spirit Who prays within him. It is the will of God, such a person is led to Divine vision or THEOSIS, beholding Christ in glory."
"BLESSED ARE THEY WHO HAVE BEEN PERSECUTED ON ACCOUNT OF
RIGHTEOUSNESS, FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF THE HEAVENS" (Mt. 5:10).
Saint John Chrysostom states: "On account of righteousness," that means, on account of virtue, for protection given to others, and for piety. For it is always His custom to speak of righteousness as the entire philosophy of the soul, THAT IS THE TRUE PHILOSOPHY OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF VIRTUE, DISCIPLINE, AND DOCTRINE."
Saint Jerome writes, "He has expressly added ‘for the sake of justice (or righteousness)’ to those who have been persecuted. For many suffer persecution on account of their sins, and they are not just. At the same time, observe that the 8th Beatitude of the true circumcision is terminated with martyrdom."
"BLESSED ARE YE WHENEVER THEY REPROACH YOU AND PERSECUTE YOU, AND SAY EVERY EVIL WORD
AGAINST YOU FALSELY ON ACCOUNT OF ME" (Mt. 5:11).
In the Gospel of Saint Luke, we read similarly: "Blessed are ye whenever hate you, and whenever they separate you, and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man" (Lk. 6:22). Saint Ambrose writes: "When men hate you, have fortitude. But He does not mean that deserved hatred on account of guilt, but He speaks of the one who suffers persecution on account of guilt, but He speaks OF THE ONE WHO SUFFERS PERSECUTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE Faith, for such a one shall attain THE CROWN OF SUFFERING IF HE DISREGARDS THE FAVOR OF MEN AND PURSUES DIVINE GRACE.
Saint Peter tells us that "if, when you do good and suffer, you endure, THIS IS A GRACE FROM GOD [1 Peter 2:20]. For TO THIS YOU WERE CALLED, BECAUSE CHRIST ALSO SUFFERED FOR US, LEAVING BEHIND FOR YOU AN EXAMPLE, THAT YOU SHOULD FOLLOW HIS FOOTSTEPS [1 Peter 2:21). This LITERALLY means, "For this is a grace if for the sake of consciousness of God ANYONE ENDURE GRIEFS, SUFFERING, UNJUSTLY" (τούτο γάρ χάρις, εί διά συνείδησιν Θεού υποφέρει τις λύπας, πάσχων αδίκως) [1 Peter 2:20-21].
"BE REJOICING AND BE EXCEEDINGLY GLAD, FOR YOUR REWARD IS GREAT IN
THE HEAVENS. FOR SO THEY PERSECUTED THE PROPHETS WHO WERE BEFORE
YOU" (Mt. 5:12).
Saint Jerome writes: "I do not know who among us can fulfill these words, that when our reputation is torn to pieces by abusive speech, we should exult in the Lord. He who pursues empty fame cannot fulfill this. Therefore, we ought to rejoice and exult, so that a reward may be prepared for us in the heavens. We read it elegantly written elsewhere not to seek glory and you will not grive when you are without glory."
The Psalmist says, "And let the brilliancy of the Lord our God be upon us" [Psalm 89:17]. "There is a single energy of God and the Saints," writes Saint Maximos, who was one of their number; they are, according to Saint Gregory Palamas, "LIVING ICONS OF CHRIST, BEING THE SAME AS HE IS, BY GRACE RATHER THAN BY ASSIMILATION." Saint Athanasios states: "For ‘if He should be made manifest’ (εάν φανερωθή), says Holy Scripture, "WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM" (όμοιοι Αυτώ εσόμεθα) [1 John 3:2], like, that is, NOT IN ESSENCE but IN SONSHIP, which we shall partake from Him."
Saint Symeon the New Theologian writes: "We shall be like Him. How so? Because ‘of His fullness we all received’ [John 1:16]. ‘On the other hand, we are one in the nature of humanity as His kinfolk, and have been accorded the name of His brethren… For God wills that by the Holy Spirit WE ARE UNITED TO HIM AND CLEAVE TO HIM, AND BECOME ONE BOD AND COHEIRS WITH HIM." Elsewhere, Saint Symeon says: "And this is not all, but He also bestows on them ‘THE MIND OF CHRIST" (1 Cortinthians 2:16), which shines above their heads, and which reveals mysteries to them which it is not lawful for a human tongue to utter. In addition, He GIVES THEM NEW EYES AND NEW EARS. It is impossible to say all the things I want to say, …eah of them becomes a temple of God in perception and in knowledge." [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George