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Who Are the Pure in Heart?


What did Jesus Christ mean when he said, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God? Does this mean if a person is sincere before the Lord, and tries to keep his mind pure, he will be saved? As we begin a response to this question, bear in mind this vital truth. No single passage may be isolated from the larger context of the Scriptures, and have a meaning forced upon it that is at variance with other clear portions of the Word of God. In one of his beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God (Mt. 5:8).

The Pure The Greek word for pure is katharos (used 27 times in the New Testament). Fundamentally, it signifies that which is clean, or free from contaminating substance (cf. Danker et al., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 489). The term is used literally, for instance, of the clean cloth in which Jesus body was wrapped after his death (Mt. 27:59). In the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the word is employed in a ceremonial sense of the purification from leprosy. It also can apply to the release of certain unfortunate individuals from unclean spirits, i.e., demons, the persons then, by implication, becom e clean. On the other hand, the katharos may be engaged in a higher sense. William Barclay contended that with a spiritual import, pure may describe the heart that is free of unadulterated motives (Commentary on Matthew, I.101). It perhaps represents that ideal state of mind of the person who longs to serve God and others for the sheer unselfish joy of honoring the Creator, and thus free of base motives. What a lofty disposition that would be. Seekng God Then there also is that aspect of the promise which declares that those who are pure in heart shall see God. Since it is rather clear that upon the final day of history, at the time of Judgment, all human beings of all time will see God (cf. Eccl. 11:9; Rom. 14:10-12), it is only reasonable to conclude that the term see is used in Matthew 5:8 in a special way. See is the Greek horao (found 449 times in New Testament). The word may be used literally (cf. Mk. 12:15) or figuratively. When figuratively employed, it denotes to perceive, recognize, experience, etc. What, then, is the significance in Mt. 5:8? D.R. Dungan suggested that the term refers to recognizing God in all the wonders of his creation (Hermeneutics, 18). The foolish see only matter (compare senseless heart Rom. 1:21b), but the pure in heart see God in the things he has made. On the other hand see can also mean to experience something. He who refuses to obey the Son will not see life (Jn. 3:36), i.e., receive, enjoy, experience it. When one submits to the conditions of the new birth process, he sees or enters the kingdom of God, i.e., he receives the blessings of citizenship in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mothers womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kin gdom of God! (Jn. 3:3-5).

The student should compare the see of verse 3, with the enter of verse 5. They explain one another. There is no way this verse should be interpreted so as to negate other clear passages which require obedience to specific commands in order to become a Christian and ultimately enter heaven (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38, etc.).

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

Quotations to stir heart and mind. Compiled by Richard A. Kauffman/ NOVEMBER 12, 2007

BLESSED are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 MAKE EVERY EFFORT to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 WHO IS PURE OF HEART? Only those who have surrendered their hearts completely to Jesus that he may reign in them alone. Only those whose hearts are undefiled by their own eviland by their own virtues too. Dietrich Bonhoeffer The Cost of Discipleship NOW when [people] attempt to live a double life spiritually, that is, to appear pure on the outside but are not pure in the heart, they are anything but blessed. Their conflicting loyalties make them wretched, confused, tense. And having to keep their eyes on two masters at once makes them cross-eyed, and their vision is so blurred that neither image is clear. Clarence Jordan, Sermon on the Mount OPPOSING PURITY of heart is lust of any kindfor wealth, for recognition, for vengeance, for sexual access to otherswhether indulged through action or imagination. Jim Forest, The Ladder of the Beatitudes A PURE WILL loves God with the whole heart and soul and mind. It is "fanatical"the greatest insult the modern mind can conceive, and the greatest compliment God can give. It is also the greatest compliment a lover can give: "I love you with my whole heart and soul. My love is not divided. You have no rival." Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue

THERE IS an interaction between seeing and being. The kind of person you are affects the kind of world that you see. And conversely, what you see affects what you are. Simon Tugwell, The Beatitudes INDEED, what would one search for when one has God before one's eyes? Or what would satisfy one who would not be satisfied with God? Yes, we wish to see God. Who does not have this desire? We strive to see God. We are on fire with the desire of seeing God. Augustine, Sermon THE PURE IN HEART are blessed because they will see God. Although this will not be ultimately true until the new heaven and earth, yet it is also true even now. Our perception of God and his ways, as well as our fellowship with him, depends on our purity of heart. The visio Deiwhat an incentive to purity. D. A. Carson, The Sermon on the Mount TO SEE GOD in terms of the Beatitude's promise is to be able to stand before him, accepted into his presence at the Last Judgment. Robert A. Guelich, Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding Copyright 2007 Christianity Today.

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Related Elsewhere:

Recent Reflections columns on the beatitudes include Blessed Are the Merciful.Blessed Are Those Who Hunger, Blessed Are Those Who Mourn, Poor in Spirit, and Blessed Are the Meek.

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

March 2, 1986

by John Piper

Scripture: Matthew 5:8

Topic: Sexual Purity

Series: The Beatitudes

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Jesus Concerned About Our Heart

The first thing we learn from this beatitude is that Jesus is concerned with our heart. It is not enough to clean up our act on the outside.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! First cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean. (Matthew 23:2526) The aim of Jesus Christ is not to reform the manners of society, but to change the hearts of sinners like you and me. So, for example, Jesus would not be satisfied with a society in which there were no acts of adultery. You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery." But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27 28) The heart is what you are, in the secrecy of your thought and feeling, when nobody knows but God. And what you are at the invisible root matters as much to God as what your are at the visible branch. "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). From the heart are all the issues of life. What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart . . . For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man. (Matthew 15:18 19) Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit . . . For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:3334) So the heart is utterly crucial to Jesus. What we are in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what he cares about most. Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some bad habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because we have such dirty hearts that need to be purified.
The Impotence of Government

Have you thought recently how helpless the local, state, and federal government is to solve problems of our society? A month ago CBS aired a program called "The Vanishing FamilyCrisis in Black America." The focus was on the black community but the problem is true in differing measures in all groups of our society. The statistic was given that 58% of all black babies are born to unmarried mothers. Only about 1% of these are put up for adoption. So over half of the next generation in the black community is being raised without a dad at home. The long term effect of that tragedy nobody knows. What can the government do? It seems that all it can do is try to find ways to soften the financial burden on these children and their mothers. Do you see how amazingly relevant the words of Jesus are? He says, "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication." Out of the heart comes fornication! All babies born to unmarried mothers (and fathers!) are born from fornication. Therefore Jesus would say, if he were here today, that this massive problem in our society is a problem with the heart. If peoplewhite people, black people, red people, yellow peoplewere pure in heart, they would be blessed. Their society would be blessed. And the impotence of the state to deal with the inner collapse of our culture would be replaced by the power of purity.

The Centrality of God and Social Relevance

Now the reason I mention the social relevance of Jesus' teaching on purity of heart is not because that is what the beatitude is about. In fact, this beatitude is emphatically irrelevant if measured by contemporary social standards. Blessed are the pure in heart, Jesus says, not for they shall save the legislature millions of dollars in AFDC payments. Rather, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. The reason I mention the social impact implicit in Jesus' teaching is so that our socially sensitive consciences can gladly affirm the centrality of God in this beatitude. My own conviction is that the fundamental problem in American society and culture is that we attempt to solve human problems while neglecting the centrality of God in the life of the soul. We are so bombarded by human tragedies of poverty and crime and abuse and neglect and war and the manifold injustices of man to man, that we are tempted to agree with the world that it is useless pie in the sky by and by to be concerned with whether the soul will ever see God. But this is the greatest of all tragedies that in seeking to relieve the temporal miseries of man we set aside the centrality of God. But Jesus comes to us this morning and says, "Blessed are the pure in heart," not first because they change society, but first because they will see God. Seeing God is the great goal of being pure. Abandon that goal and human culture collapses into ruin.
Three Questions

So let's ask briefly in the moments we have, 1. What is it to see God? 2. What is it to be pure in heart? 3. And, how are these two things bound together? 1. What Is It to See God? I would mention three things. To Be Admitted to His Presence First, to see God means to be admitted to his presence. After the plague of darkness on Egypt, Pharaoh exploded to Moses with these words: "Get away from me; take heed to yourself; never see my face again; for in the day you see my face you shall die." Moses said, "As you say! I will not see your face again." (Exodus 10:2829) When a king says, "You will never see my face again," he means, "I will never grant you admission again into my presence."

In the same way we call the doctor today and say, "Can I see Dr. Lundgren today?" We don't mean, Can I see him from a distance. Or, Can I see a picture of him? We mean, Can I have an appointment to be with him? So the first thing seeing God means is being admitted to his presence. To Be Awestruck by His Glory Second, seeing God means being awestruck by his gloryby a direct experience of his holiness. After God confronted Job in the whirlwind, Job said, "I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Virtually all of our spiritual sight in this life is mediated to us through the Word of God or the work of God in providence. We "see" images and reflections of his glory. We hear echoes and reverberations of his voice. But there will come a day when God himself will dwell among us. His glory will no longer be inferred from lightning and mountains and roaring seas and constellations of stars. Instead our experience of him will be direct. His glory will be the very light in which we move (Revelation 21:23) and the beauty of his holiness will be tasted directly like honey on the tongue. So seeing God means not only being admitted to his presence, but also being awestruck by a direct experience of his glory. To Be Comforted by His Grace Finally, seeing God means being comforted by his grace. Again and again the psalmists cry out to God that he not hide his face from them. For example in Psalm 27 (verses 79) David says, Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! . . . Hide not thy face from me. "Hide not thy face from me," is the same as saying, "Be gracious to me!" This means that seeing the face of God is considered to be a sweet and comforting experience. If God shows his face, we are helped. If he turns his face away, we are dismayed. So when Jesus promises the reward of "seeing God" there are at least these three things implied: we will be admitted to his presence, not just kept in the waiting room. We will be awestruck with a direct experience of his glory. And we will be helped and comforted by his grace. And this we will havein part now, and fully in the age to comeif we are pure in heart.

2. What Is It to Be Pure in Heart?

Sren Kierkegaard wrote a book called Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing. That is not a bad definition, provided that the one thing we will is the glory of God. According to David Let me try to show you where that definition comes from in Scripture. We start with the closest OT parallel to this beatitude, namely, Psalm 24:34. Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. You can see what David means by a "pure heart" in the phrases that follow it. A pure heart is a heart that has nothing to do with falsehood. It is painstakingly truthful and free from deceitfulness. Deceit is what you do when you will two things, not one thing. You will to do one thing and you will that people think you are doing another. You will to feel one thing and you will that people think you are feeling another. That is impurity of heart. Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, to "seek the face of the Lord" (verse 6). According to James You can see this idea of purity in James 4:8. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. Notice that just like Psalm 24 there is reference to both clean hands and a pure heart as preparation for drawing near to God, or "ascending the hill of the Lord." But notice how the men are described who need to purify their hearts: "men of double mind." That is they are men that will two things not just one thing. The impurity of double-mindedness is explained in James 4:4. Unfaithful creatures [lit. adulteresses]! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. So the double-minded man of verse 8 has his heart divided between the world and God, like a wife who has a husband and a boyfriend. Purity of heart on the other hand is to will one thing, namely, full and total allegiance to God. From Jesus' Mouth

So if we ask, Where in the gospels did Jesus explain purity of heart in this way? the answer would be Matthew 22:37, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. Not with part of your heart. Not with a double or divided heart. That would be impurity. Purity of heart is no deception, no double-mindedness, no divided allegiance. (Note: you can see the echo of this meaning of purity of heart in 1 Timothy 1:5, "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere [i.e., unhypocritical faith].") Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, God's truth and God's value in everything we do. The aim of the pure heart is to align itself with the truth of God and magnify the worth of God. If you want to be pure in heart, pursue God with utter single-mindedness. Purity of heart is to will that one thing. That leaves one last question:
3. How Are the Two Bound Together?

Jesus only gives us part of the answer here. It is a true part, but only part. He says that the pure will see God. That is, purity is a prerequisite for seeing God. The impure are neither granted admittance to his presence, nor are they awed by the glory of his holiness, nor are they comforted by his grace. Jesus' point is the same as Hebrews 12:14, "Strive for . . . the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." In other words, blessed are the holy for they shall see God. There is a real purity and a real holiness which fits us to see the king of glory. And of course that leads every sensitive soul to cry out with the words of Proverbs 20:9, "Who can say, 'I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin?'" And with the disciples: "Who then can be saved?" Jesus' answer comes back just like it did to the disciples in Matthew 19:26 and this is the rest of the answer "With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible." In other words, God creates a purity for us and in us so that we can pursue purity. And by his grace we must seek that gift by praying with David, "Create in me a clean heart, O God" (Psalm 51:10). And we must look to Christ "who gave himself for us . . . to purify for himself a people" (Titus 2:14). And the response of our hearts to God's act of creation and Christ's act of sacrifice is single-minded faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As the Scripture says in Acts 15:9, "God made no distinction between us and them, but purified their hearts by faith." God is the one who purifies the heart, and the instrument with which he cleans it is faith.

Therefore, trust in the Lord with ALL your heart (Proverbs 3:5). Will this one thing. And you will see God. Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they Shall See God by Rev. Charmaine Braatvedt Sunday 5th February, 2006

Let us think about ourselves, those of us who claim to have believed in Jesus Christ and have dedicated our lives to God.

What are our long-term plans and goals today?

What do we desire the most?

What are we living for?

That is the most significant question of the Christian life, of any life.

That is the question this beatitude we are studying in Matthew 5:8 answers in the most explicit terms.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8). Thats it! Thats the goal of the Christian life! Thats what we are living for that we may live our lives in such a way that we see God.

If we see God, that will open up the treasure trove of all the blessings, not only for eternity, but also for life here and now.

And the key to open that treasure trove is a pure heart!

This is the most central and the most significant of all the beatitudes mentioned in this fifth chapter of Matthew. You cannot be poor in spirit without having a pure heart. You cannot mourn for the things that displease God without having a pure heart. You cannot be meek, you cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness, you cannot be merciful, you cannot be a peacemaker or be prepared to stand persecution for the name of Christ without having a pure heart.

Actually, this is one of the most central principles of the Christian life that we see in the whole Bible. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

What is it to be pure in heart?

What is it to see God?

And, How are these two things bound together.

1. What Is It to Have a Pure Heart?

The closest OT parallel to this beatitude, namely, Psalm 24:3-4.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. You can see what David means by a "pure heart" in the phrases that follow it. A pure heart is a heart that has nothing to do with falsehood. It is painstakingly truthful and free from deceitfulness. Deceit is what you do when you will two things, not one thing. You will to do one thing and you will that people think you are doing another. You will to feel one thing and you will that people think you are feeling another. That is impurity of heart. Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, to "seek the face of the Lord" (verse 6).

So, to have a pure heart is to be


Living a life that is pleasing to God


Living for the purpose of God. Having a single-minded devotion to God.

The initial use of the word pure in the Bible was in the sense of clean as opposed to unclean clean or unclean animals, clean or unclean foods, the clean or unclean condition of a person.

However, from the very beginning, it has not been the matter of outward observance of some rules and regulations; it has been the attitude of the heart toward God that was in focus.

The theologian Soren Kierkegaard once wrote,

Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.

In the law, Moses said, Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer

(Deuteronomy 10:16).

The first thing we learn from this beatitude is that Jesus is concerned with our heart.

The heart is what you are, in the secrecy of your thought and feeling, when nobody knows but God. And what you are at the invisible root matters as much to God as what your are at the visible branch.

"Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).

From the heart are all the issues of life. So the heart is utterly crucial to Jesus. What we are in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what he cares about most. Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some bad habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because we have hearts that need to be purified.

To have a pure heart means to have a heart that is committed to living a life that is totally pleasing to God, because

the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts (1 Chronicles 28:9).

That is why Davids prayer was:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

So, first, having a pure heart means living by the rule of God, living a life that is pleasing to God.

Secondly, having a pure heart means living for the sole purpose of God, to have a heart that is fully devoted to God. It means single-minded devotion and commitment to God, doing anything and everything in our life for the sole purpose of glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Pure in this sense means unadulterated.

It is easier to follow rules and forget the matter of the heart. We are more careful to keep everything clean that is seen by others and forget about the things that only God can see.

If my hands are muddy, nobody would want to shake hands with me, so I better keep them clean.

If I were wearing a dirty alb this morning, you would give more attention to my alb and not hear what I am saying.

We want to keep up appearances before man, but we forget about keeping straight before God.

That is why Jesus harshest and most scathing rebuke was reserved for the scribes and Pharisees, who thought themselves the purest of all people. They were extremely careful to keep their outward appearance clean before men, but they did not worry about their relationship with God. Jesus told them:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead mens bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness (Matthew 23:25-28).

Having a pure heart means living by the rules of God that bring internal, moral purity. God is a holy God, and He expects His people to live life according to the standard He has set for them.

That is why it is repeatedly said,

Be holy, because I am holy.

(Leviticus 11:44, 45).

Let me ask you, what is adultery? When we think of adultery, we think of it in the physical sense, having a sexual relation outside the marriage bonds.

The Bible does talk about this kind of adultery and certainly prohibits that. However, the Bible talks about spiritual adultery far more than physical adultery. There is a whole book written to deal with the issue of the spiritual adultery of the people of God, the Book of Hosea. There are many chapters in the Old Testament that deal with the spiritual adultery of the people of God, for example, Ezekiel 16 and 22.

In the New Testament, Jesus said you cannot worship God and mammon. When we devote our hearts to anything that is other than the cause of God, we commit spiritual adultery.

As James said:

You adulterous people, dont you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God . Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:4, 8).

Both the Old and New Testaments say,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38; also Deuteronomy 6:5).

This is a pure heart in the spiritual sense.

Purity of heart is no deception, no double-mindedness, no divided allegiance.

Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, God's truth and God's value in everything we do. The aim of the pure heart is to align itself with the truth of God and magnify the worth of God. If you want to be pure in heart pursue God with utter single mindedness. Purity of heart is to will that one thing.

Now the question is how can we have a pure heart, a heart that is morally clean? A heart that is fully devoted to God?

And of course that leads every sensitive soul to cry out with the words of Proverbs 20:9, "Who can say, 'I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin?'" And with the disciples: "Who then can be saved?"

First of all, we have to realize that we, in and of ourselves, cannot attain a heart that is morally pure and fully devoted to God.

As the Bible repeatedly tells us,

The Lord saw that every inclination of the thoughts of his *mans+ heart was evil all the time (Genesis 6:5).

As the prophet Jeremiah said,

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9).

Although it is impossible for us to have a pure heart in and of ourselves, we can have a pure heart by the grace of God. What is impossible for man is possible for God. Jesus' answer comes back to us just like it did to the disciples in Matthew 19:26and this is the rest of the answer"With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

By his grace we must seek that gift by praying with David, "Create in me a clean heart, O God" (Psalm 51:10)

A pure heart is a gift from God, and it comes by a new birth, by a new creation, and by the Spirit living in us.

God had promised in the Old Testament through the prophet Jeremiah,

I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33),

and I will give them singleness of heart and action (Jeremiah 32:39).

But here is the hope of our salvation. We must look to Christ "who gave himself for us ... to purify for himself a people" (Titus 3:l4).

And the response of our hearts to God's act of creation and Christ's act of sacrifice is single-minded faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

God is the one who purifies the heart, and the instrument with which he cleans it is our faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, his son.

So we will this one thing to trust in the Lord with ALL your heart(Proverbs 3:5), to place our faith in Jesus Christ and offer our hearts to him that through him they will be purified, and we will see God.

This is the Blessing Promised

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

What Does It Mean to See God?

Of course, it means seeing Him literally when we will be with Him for eternity, as John the Apostle says,

.The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads (Revelation 22:3-4).

But How about this Life?

The Christian life is not just pie in the sky. It is pie in my hand right now. If we live with a pure heart, a life that is morally pleasing to God and fully devoted to Him, we will enjoy Gods presence in our life right here, right now. As we

get to walk in his ways, as we get to know him through his word, as we get to trust him through our prayers, our knowledge and experience of God will enable us to see him present in our lives. You can only see what you know.

to see God means to be admitted to his presence

seeing God means being awe struck by his glory.

Seeing God means feeling comforted by his grace.

The greatest blessing and the noblest goal of the Christian life is to know God, to experience His presence in our daily life, and to live for His glory.

Paul made this the goal for his life,

If we have this goal for our life, the outcome will be a daily walk with God that delights God, blesses us, and fills our life with joy until the time we go to be with Him forever.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. INTRODUCTION

To the clergy, religious, lay faithful of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and to all people of good will:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8):A way of discipleship

In the Beatitudes Christ offers us a perfect model for true Christian living. Even more than the Ten Commandments themselves, they are a charter for the high moral calling Christ sets for His disciples.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. This one line from the Beatitudes offers a most sublime beginning point to our reflection. It tells us about God, ourselves and our ultimate goal. A pure heart is blessed or happy. Seeing God and being with Him forever in heaven is Gods plan for our eternal well-being. The Old Testament teaches

that this purity is required if we are to approach God. Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false (Psalm 24, 34).

To be pure in heart implies that our love is wholly directed toward the good of the other person. We are singlehearted, and not divided in our love. Israel s first and most important commandment is to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Deut 6: 4-5). Jesus added definitively that we must also love our neighbor as our self (Mk 12: 29 -31). This pure love as demanding as it may be is the high destiny to which we are called as children of the Father. Is it possible to fulfill such a love? Yes. It is possible because God has first loved us (1 Jn 4:10 ). As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to the happiness that comes from a clean and undivided heart.

Pornography: Epidemic Attacking Human Dignity

Daily there are challenges to this pure Christian love. For some months, representatives of our Catholic Diocese have been working with leaders of other faith traditions to address the serious dangers represented by the steady increase of pornography in our culture. Pornography is not new, but it has become a kind of plague in our society, reaching epidemic proportions. It is being propagated more widely than ever. Well beyond magazines, it is widespread on the internet, television, movies and videos, and now on cell phones and other handheld devices, many of which are marketed to children and youth. Pornography has become the secret entertainment of many people of all ages, walks of life, and economic backgrounds. Use of internet pornography is perhaps the fastest growing addiction in the world.

Pornography perverts the beauty of intimate love proper to marriage, presenting images of the body and sexual acts for base pleasure regarding other persons as objects to be used, manipulated, and sold. It is a multi-billion dollar industry, eclipsing the amount of money generated by professional sports (cf. Chapter II, below). In this way pornography distorts the proper meaning and purpose of our sexuality and does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, consumers).[1]

Use of pornography is a serious sin against chastity and the dignity of the human person. It robs us of sanctifying grace, separates us from the vision of God and from the goodness of others, and leaves us spiritually empty. Attraction to pornography and its gratifications is a false love that leads to increasing emotional isolation loneliness and subsequent sexual acting-out with self and others. It depends on the exploitation of other persons: frequently the desperate or poor, or the innocent young. Use of pornography has cost persons their jobs, their marriages and families. Traffickers in Child Pornography may end up in prison. It has often been associated with and has contributed to, acts of sexual violence and abuse.

In this pastoral letter, I wish to appeal to you all as members of the Body of Christ redeemed by His love, to reflect on the dangers of pornography in our society. We will see how pornography is a serious affront to our human dignity. I will share some strategies in response to this problem. I ask you to join with me in the Diocesan effort to combat this plague

by recommitting ourselves and our families to purity and chastity. In this way we will live more completely as Christs disciples, growing each day in the freedom of the children of God. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.


Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26 ): The respect due the human person is rooted in God.

As human beings we are created in the image and likeness of God. The dignity and respect due to every human person is not assigned by any group of people, nor granted by a government. Our dignity is not contingent on what we own, or even on what we do. We cannot buy it or sell it. This dignity and worth comes from God as a complete and inestimable gift.

How are we like God? We have an immortal soul, and we are meant to live forever with God in heaven. We are called to be holy as God is holy, and through Jesus Christ and His Church we may receive the means to attain holiness. Like God, we have a rational nature, the ability to reason. However, it is not just in reason that we find the divine image within us. We are like God because we are able to love. We can make a gift of our self to another person.

For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6: 20 ) New Life in Christ.

Even when through sin, man had fallen and seriously injured this gift of our dignity; God continued to love us and sent us a Redeemer. We were purchased and at a great price!

Human life was embraced and elevated in the Incarnation. In the coming of Christ, in the flesh, God united Himself in some way with every human person.*2+ In the Easter or Paschal Mystery, Jesus passage through death into Resurrection and new life, He won a definitive victory on our behalf and established for us the hope of eternal life on high. Through Baptism we share in Gods life by means of a divine adoption. In this first sacrament, our purification is accomplished in the efficacious sign of flowing and life-giving water. God has reestablished our eternal value. Each of us is challenged: Child of God, become fully who you are!

Are we worth dying for? Are we worth being crucified for? Gods answer is yes. Our question to ourselves must be, Is God worth living for?

But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. (Mark 10:6): The dignity of human sexuality

This dignity of the human person includes our sexuality. Our sexuality is more than our gender. It is part of our person. It gives us the ability to connect and give ourselves in love to another person. Our human sexuality is an important means by which we can share in the love and creativity of God. In marriage, a man and a woman are invited to establish a complete, exclusive and life-long union of two individuals as one. This union is the proper relationship by which it is possible for them to become co-creators with God and to let their love for one another become fruitful in bringing another human life into the world.

In the misuse of our sexuality human weakness and selfishness can manifest themselves, sometimes in terrible ways. Human sexuality is a gift but not a toy. It is a gift to be respected and directed toward its proper end: loving and personal communion with others.

My offenses truly I know them; my sin is always before me. (Psalm 51:5): The reality of sin.

This vision of who we are in God is a beautiful one. But we know that it is marked by the bitter, painful reality of sin. The ability to choose to love means that we can choose, likewise, to hurt or ignore one another. Sin is real and it is destructive.

The original unity of Adam and Eve was fractured by Original Sin. As important and fundamental as our human sexuality is, it also provides the means whereby our fallen human nature expresses itself in deep and sometimes horrific ways. Adultery, fornication, prostitution, rape, sexual abuse and exploitation, much of modern day slavery, crimes of passion and pornography all illustrate this fallen aspect of our human nature. The dignity of the human person has been wounded and scarred by sin. When we sin we become less the person we are called to be in Christ. Sin dehumanizes us. The fact that Jesus was sinless does not make him less human but more human. Sin makes us less human. The grace of Christ restores us.

Having understood the dignity of the human person, we can better examine what compromises this dignity. Jesus said, You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31 ).

Everyone should look upon his neighbor as another self, bearing in mind above all his life and the means necessary for living it in a dignified way lest he follow the example of the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man. Today there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of every man, no matter who he is.[3]

Simply put, sin separates us from one another and from God. Sin impairs the relationship between the creatures, and between the human person and God. Ultimately sin is to be understood in terms of freedom and love. Sin is an abuse of freedom and a failure to love.

Only in the knowledge of Gods plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another.[4]

Every athlete exercises discipline in every way to win an imperishable crown (I Cor 9:25 ) The Life of Virtue.

Sin separates us from God while virtue seeks to unite us to God. When we have discovered Gods love for us and the high destiny which is ours, we strive again and again to attain all that God has in store for us. For this purpose the virtues are a vitally important part of the Christian life. By a virtue we mean . . . a habitual and firm disposition to do the good.*5+ As we grow in virtue, we seek to become more like God, more holy. Sin can produce a kind of atrophy that weakens and can even paralyze our moral muscle. Virtue is a conditioning of our moral muscle that strengthens us and helps us to maximize our potential. In the moral life there is an entire constellation of virtues regarding different situations in life. There is a virtue that calls us to respect and care for our human sexuality. We call it chastity.

Create a clean heart in me O God. (Psalm 51:12): The virtue of chastity.

For some, chastity can have an almost negative connotation. As part of the cardinal virtue of temperance, chastity calls on us to moderate our sense pleasures, keeping the use of our sexuality within the limits of what is appropriate, using this life-giving power for only a worthy goal.[6]

But chastity is a virtue in its own right; it is a strength. It is not just the absence of something bad. It is the presence of something good. That something is respect. The virtue of chastity repeats acts of respect for others and for ourselves.

Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which mans belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.[7]

Those who treat others as objects might experience some passing pleasure but they are not going to be happy. Chastity exists not to prevent happiness but to allow happiness to mature and blossom. Chastity helps us to see people as they really are. It helps to ground us in truth.

Chastity does not stand in the way of love but rather exists to protect it. Chastity expresses love. Before he became Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla wrote a book entitled, Love and Responsibility. This writing emerged through his pastoral work with university students, which included marriage preparation. While some would say that the opposite of love is hate, he taught that the opposite of love is use. The idea is that if you do not love someone, you will end up using that

person. This is known as the Personalistic Norm. Negatively stated, it means that one may never use another person as an object for ones own pleasure. Positively stated, it holds that the only proper response to a person is love.

Love and Responsibility insists that the structure of love is that of an interpersonal communion. In this we find a reflection of the Blessed Trinity as a communion of love. The future Pope insisted that chastity is always about persons. He argued . . . love is an affirmation of the person or else it is not love at all.*8+ The moral virtue of chastity can only be thought of in association with the theological virtue of love. Only the chaste are capable of loving. To the degree we are chaste we can love others; while to the degree we are unchaste we will use others. Thus, chastity is both a prerequisite and expression of love. Chastity is not a no but a yes, a yes to another person as a person and not as an object to be used. Chastity may involve saying no, but that no is always in service of a greater positive goal.

Chastity is necessary for all Christians, regardless of their state in life, whether they are single, married, or celibate. All are called to respect human dignity. All are called to love.

Those who are single are called to a chastity that respects others and refrains from sexually acting out in ways proper and exclusive to the married.

Chastity is also important for those who are married. For them chastity does not usually mean sexual abstinence but fidelity, and within their marriage, a deep respect and love, never treating ones spouse as an object. In this deep love they are to reveal the love between Christ and his Church and give an insight into the very mystery of God.

Those who are called to celibacy are also called to chastity. In perfect continence they are to love God and neighbor for the sake of the Kingdom and as a sign of the life to come.

Chastity is important for all Christians and all people of good will. Chastity calls us to love as God loves. It is ordering our sexuality according to the plan of God. Chastity is how we love others in sincerity and truth. CHAPTER II ~ THE PROBLEM OF PORNOGRAPHY

Lust indulged starves the soul. (Proverbs 13:19 ): A real problem.

Our human sexuality is created as something good by God. It is a gift. It also suffers from the effects of original sin and so can manifest not only good but evil. Pornography is one such evil. It assaults human dignity and commodifies people and human sexuality. It starves the human soul which has a spiritual dimension which must be nurtured by giving and receiving a personal love.

While pornography is not a new problem, the development of the mass media and recent technological advances have made it much easier to access this deceptive evil.

Pornography violates modesty, chastity and truth. Human sexuality involves modesty which protects the privacy of individuals regarding what is most personal and intimate. To invade this privacy, and unveil what should remain hidden,[9] is an assault on human dignity.

While chastity exists to serve love, pornography treats another human being (or an explicit sexual description or action) as an object to be used. It can oftentimes flow from narcissism and selfishness. It replaces love with use. Remember the Personalistic Norm: People are never to be used as objects for ones own pleasure. People are to be loved. People are not to be treated as raw material to be used by the emotions, compulsions or addictions of others. To paraphrase John Paul II, the problem with pornography, in a sense, is not that it reveals too much of the person (exposed in the image), but that it reveals too little of the person. Pornographic images are designed to reveal nothing but the persons sexual organs and sexual faculties; nowhere does the unique personality, the depth of the person, appear. The pornographically exposed person is, quite literally, de-personalized: in becoming an object for anothers use, he or she ceases to be seen for what he or she is: a subject who deserves love and respect.

Pornography violates truth. It leads people into a world of unreality, a world of fantasy that isolates them from other people and the commitments and respect which should govern our relationships. Some persons seek pornography out of loneliness and a low self esteem. It is a painful irony that their use of pornography serves only to isolate them more and more from other people. The more invested people are in this fantasy world, the more detached they become from real people, real issues and real life around them. Lust isolates. Love unites. Pornography leads people away from the truth. Chastity helps people to grow in truth.

Pornography inevitably leads to other grave sins. For example, the use of pornography is frequently coupled with masturbation, another disordered sexual activity that further turns a person in on himself, isolating him from others. Pornography use often leads one to seek other disordered forms of sexual gratification, which involve the exploitation of others for ones own selfish ends. Pornography does not remain a private vice; by allowing one to view other persons as means rather than ends, it eventually damages all of ones familial and social relationships.

Tears stream from my eyes because your law is disobeyed. (Psalm 119:136): The numbers.

Pornography is a real problem and the statistics concerning it are frightening. The following facts are numbers compiled within the last several years (sources noted) by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families.

The scope and costs of Pornography

According to 2004 IFR research, U.S. porn revenue exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC (6.2 billion). Porn revenue is larger than all combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises. The pornography industry, according to conservative estimates, brings in $57 billion per year, of which the United States is responsible for $12 billion. Internet Pornography and Loneliness: An Association? Vincent Cyrus Yoder, Thomas B. Virden III , and Kiran Amin. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, Volume 12.1, 2005.

The Internet accounted for US $2.5 billion of the adult industrys revenues. Dirty Downloads Ready to Go on iPods, Ron Harris,, 2005 According to a March, 2004 figure, there were 800 million rentals each year of adult videos and DVDs Overdosing on Porn, Rebecca Hagelin. Current estimates are that $20 billion is spent annually on adult videos (sales and rentals). Half of all hotel guests order pornographic movies. These films comprise 80% of in-room entertainment revenue and 70% of total in-room revenue. Sex-Film Industry Threatened With Condom Requirement, Nick Madigan. The New York Times, 24 August, 2004 . Cable pay per view amounted to $2.5 billion. Magazines accounted for $7.5 billion. Scope of Internet Pornography

In 2004, there were 4.2 million pornographic websites; 372 million pornographic pages. Daily there were 68 million pornographic search engine requests (25% of requests). 2003. Sex is the number 1 topic searched on the Internet. Overdosing on Porn, Rebecca Hagelin., March, 2004. Daily there are 2.5 billion pornographic emails (8% of total emails). 2004. The most common ways people have accidentally reached pornographic content on the Web are pop-up windows (55%), misrepresented links (52%), misspelled URLs (48%) and auto links within emails (23%) Fifty Percent of Workers Spend Nine days a Year on Personal Surfing at Work. Cerberian Inc. and SonicWALL, 20 July 2004 . There are 100 thousand websites offering illegal child pornography (U.S. Customs Service estimate). Adult Internet Pornography Statistics

70% of 18 to 24 year old men visit pornographic sites in a typical month. 66% of men in their 20s and 30s also report being regular users of pornography. First-person: the culture of pornography, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Baptist Press, 28 December 2005 .

20% of men and 13% of women surveyed admitted to accessing pornography at work. Internet Pornography Statistics. Internet Filter Review, 2004.

There are 40 million US adults who regularly visit internet pornography websites

One out of three visitors to all adult web sites are women.

Women favor chat rooms two times more than men.

Effects of Pornography

40% of adults surveyed believe that pornography harms relationships between men and women. Consensus Among American Public on the Effects of Pornography on Adults or Children or What Government Should Do About It, Harris Poll, 7 October 2005 .

30 percent of surveyed adults said their partners use of pornography made them feel more like a sexual object Marriage Related Research, Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D. Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1. August, 2004.

One out of every six women grapples with addiction to pornography. Internet Pornography and Loneliness: An Association? Vincent Cyrus Yoder, Thomas B. Virden III , and Kiran Amin. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, Volume 12.1, 2005.

47% of Christians surveyed said pornography is a major problem in the home.

As little as six hours exposure to soft core porn (anything designed to arouse one sexually) is enough to destroy the viewers satisfaction with his or her spouse; decrease the value of faithfulness; decrease the ability to be with one person and cherish that person; and increase the thought that women enjoy rape. Survey 2004

Children and the Internet

Children use the Internet. 96 percent of kids have gone online; 74% having access at home and 61% use the Internet on a typical day. Kids stay connected, USA Today snapshots. 5 January, 2004 .

In a survey reported in 2000, 21 percent of teens say they have looked at something on the Internet that they wouldnt want their parents to know. A World of Their Own. Newsweek, 8 May 2000.

Children Internet Pornography Statistics

90% of 8-16 year olds using the Internet have viewed pornography on line (most while doing homework). 2004

Eleven years old is the average age of first Internet exposure to pornography. 2004.

Among underage viewers of pornography, children 12 years old to 17 years old are the largest consumers of Internet pornography. 2004.

A survey of 600 households conducted by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children found that 20% of parents do not know any of their childrens Internet passwords, instant messaging nicknames or email addresses. Only 5% of parents recognized the acronym POS (parent over shoulder) and only 1% could identify WTGP (want to go private?), both of which are used frequently by teens when instant messaging Ads target online victimization of children. USA Today, 20 May 2004.

Incidents of child sexual exploitation have risen from 4,573 in 1998 to 112,083 in 2004, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Reports of child exploitation up. USA Today Snapshots, 17 February, 2005 .

Child Pornography generates $3 billion annually. Internet Filter Review. 2004.

The path of sinners is smooth stones that end in the depths of the nether world. (Sirach 21:10): The bitter fruit of pornography.

The statistics are staggering. But behind all this there are not just numbers, there are people whose lives are harmed, and whose eternal salvation is jeopardized. There are those exploited by pornography, those who use it and then the family and associates of both groups. Pornography affects lives, moral strength, relationships, marriages, the lives of children, community life, and even such things as property value and community safety.

Sometimes those who use pornography claim, Im not hurting anyone.&rdquo Pornography, like all sinful behavior, offends the one sinned against, the one who sins and God, the source of all truth. The destructive work of the devil, who Sacred Scripture calls the father of lies, is to distort in us our sense of what is good. He tells us that others are for our use and enjoyment; that satisfying our cravings will make us happy. But the happiness is fleeting. We are spiritual beings sharing Gods own life, and this enticing adventure has no spiritual substance. It leaves us deceived, ashamed, unfulfilled and confused.

Within the person, pornography wreaks harm physically, emotionally and spiritually. Pornography can become as physically and chemically addictive as alcohol, drugs or gambling. The graphic images of pornography burn themselves into our sense imagination. The more deeply and frequently this happens, the harder the road to freedom will be. Like other addictions, pornography is a progressive affliction. It takes more and more graphic presentations to achieve the desired effect. As this continues it can lead to acting out and to crime.

Pornography stunts a person emotionally. Those addicted may withdraw from friends, family and even their own spouses. Pornography leads them into a world of unreality with idealized, unrealistic figures who do not engage one in a truly human manner. As people withdraw, their interpersonal skills and relationships weaken. They look at others as objects rather than as people with the capacity for friendship and love. They become preoccupied with every situation and person they encounter: will it provide for me the gratification I seek? If one is seriously mired in this vice, the addictive behavior often persists even after it leads to obviously damaging consequences, e.g., destruction of a marital relationship or loss of a job from viewing pornography at work. In a real sense, one can become enslaved to pornography in a manner analogous to drug addiction. As with other addictions, the viewer requires more and more explicit, disordered material to achieve the same effect; this produces a downward spiral that becomes progressively more difficult to correct.

The spiritual life is about growing more in the image of God. Pornography makes us less like God as it leads people to treat others as objects and not as unrepeatable gifts of God. Pornography leads one not to make a greater gift of oneself in love, not to serve but rather to be served. In the end one becomes caught and enslaved in hurtful habits rather than virtue.

Viewing pornography for this distorted venereal pleasure is, objectively, a mortal sin. It is seriously contrary to the life God intends for others and ourselves. It kills the life of sanctifying grace. If we are in serious sin we must not approach Holy Communion until we have received sacramental confession. Often we are too ashamed to come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and we wander further away from the life of God. Our ability to function as a living member of the Body of Christ is impaired. Because this scenario is so widespread today, we must be concerned about the state of our parishes and families. Still, because Gods initiative of grace remains at work, we must not despair. At any time, He stands ready to assist us. We must entrust ourselves to His mercy and return to the Sacrament for forgiveness and a new beginning.

Pornography harms others. It exploits other people, usually women but also men and children. To engage in pornography is to support this terrible and scarring exploitation. To participate financially in this contributes to an industry that perpetuates a grave moral evil. Slavery, including sexual slavery, is a real and growing problem today. One reason it grows is because there is a demand for it. Furthermore, after engaging in pornography, the user is more likely to look upon other people as objects. As pornography use progresses marriages can falter and collapse. This results in shame, heartbreak and misery for the spouses and for children who can carry emotional scars into adulthood and their own marriages. Children and young people who are exposed to pornography experience assaults on their human dignity and roadblocks to authentic human development. As pornography increases, so does crime. Sex offenses are 506% greater in Phoenix , Arizona areas where Sexually Oriented Businesses are located.[10] Pornography is not harmless; it is a grave, dehumanizing evil.

In all this, pornography offends God. It misuses His gifts of freedom, the human body and love. We are the artwork of God (cf. Eph 2:10 ) and pornography defaces His masterpiece.

Go not after your lusts, but keep your desires in check. (Sirach 18:30 ): The Internet and modern technology.

The volume of Internet pornography is growing exponentially. It seems to be anonymous and accessible. It can easily ensnare the unsuspecting, including children and young people. Moreover, it can be particularly addictive. The sense images and sexual gratifications they trigger leave an impression in the memory. The fantasies can be recalled and perpetuated. They tempt us to take another look. With repeated use, the viewer of pornography builds up tolerance to its effects: there is a progressive need for more stimulating images. Pornography use causes intense physical changes in the body and brain, which reinforce the disordered thoughts and behaviors. With repeated use, the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors associated with pornography become increasingly difficult to interrupt or resist.

Internet pornography does not require the public purchase of new material. Instead, pictures can be changed and many more can be accessed. One need not go into public to obtain pornography anymore. Also disturbing now is the ready availability of these images through iPods and cell phones. Children whose parents correctly restrict computer access in private rooms of the house, now may obtain images through handheld devices, away from supervision.

The culture around us that so readily provides an environment and market for these kinds of evils is a significant contributing factor to the problem of pornography and other sins. The technology itself is not evil. The problem lies in the abuse of technology and its use in evil ways. Like dynamite, it is something powerful that demands proper handling. It can be used to either serve or assault humanity.

We live in a culture that is increasingly dark and death-dealing. We can easily begin to absorb these negative influences taking them in like a plant absorbs, through its roots, what is in the soil or culture in which it is planted. We become numb and we dont even realize that we are slowly being poisoned. This problem is serious and it demands our response.


What is your name? (Mark5:9): Facing and naming the problem.

This real and serious problem demands of us a real and serious response. It is easier to turn away and pretend it does not exist, but it does exist, and we must do what we can. We should not wait for the abduction, rape or murder of a young girl or boy in our family, another ruined marriage, a job lost, or another childs life being devastated to get us concerned about this issue. The stakes are just too high.

The first step in solving any problem is to point it out, to name it. While exorcizing the Gerasene demoniac, Jesus asked, What is your name?&rsquo (Mark 5:9). In Semitic thought to know the name is to begin to have some power over it. We find a modern equivalent of this in the Twelve Step Spirituality of such groups as Alcoholics Anonymous. The first step in this transforming spirituality is to admit that in the face of ones addiction one is powerless. People do not address problems that they refuse to admit. A major character weakness in heterosexual pornography use can be selfishness or narcissism. Same sex pornography can be strongly influenced by a weak male confidence, loneliness and a poor body image. Realizing these contributing factors can help a person begin to look for the ways to redirect his or her relationships in a more generous and healthy manner.

The evils with which we struggle often keep us bound up in silence. Particularly with something like pornography, the fear, embarrassment and shame can be intense. Someone with a deep spiritual insight into all this was St. Ignatius Loyola. He noted:

When the enemy of human nature tempts a just soul with his wiles and seductions, he earnestly desires that they be received secretly and kept secret. But if one manifests them to a confessor, or to some other spiritual person who understands his deceits and malicious designs, the evil one is very much vexed. For he knows that he cannot succeed in his evil undertaking, once his evident deceits have been revealed.[11]

A prerequisite for use of pornography is some sort of silence. To break this silence by speaking to another person can be frightening, but also liberating.

I said: I will confess my offense to the Lord.&rsquo And you, Lord, have forgiven the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:5): The Sacrament of Penance.

Acknowledging the problem for ourselves is an important first step. As St. Ignatius noted, this can be done in the Sacrament of Penance. This sacrament is a rich source of Gods strength and spiritual health. It is the normal means for us instituted by Christ and provided by the Church to be reconciled and receive spiritual healing. Stately simply, pornography is sinful and the Sacrament of Penance removes sin. This sacrament puts us in touch with the depth of Gods merciful love. It removes what is bad. It strengthens us with what is good, with Gods grace.

The fruits of this sacrament are many. The Catechism notes that it restores us to Gods grace and joins us in friendship with God. It brings a spiritual resurrection drawing us into the Paschal Mystery as we die to our sinfulness and rise to new life in Christ. The Sacrament of Penance reconciles us to the Church and revitalizes the life of the repentant sinner.[12]

For anyone struggling with pornography, the Sacrament of Reconciliation offers an infallible source of healing grace. Jesus spoke of the joy in heaven over one repentant sinner (Luke 15:10 ); when worthily celebrated, this sacrament causes the angels to rejoice. In this sacrament, we encounter Christ the Divine physician. When we open our wound to Him, He can begin to heal us with His grace.

Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? (Luke 14: 28 ): What can we do?

This pastoral letter is offered as part of a comprehensive effort within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to make progress in the battle against pornography and its destructive effects in individuals, our families, and our society. The tactic we are taking is only secondarily one of legislative advocacy against the purveyors of pornography. The injustice against the actors or participants in pornographic media deserves to be addressed and corrected. I encourage and support those who in accord with their office and competence -- succeed in turning back this plague. We know this demon is legion, and still we persevere in hope.

Our effort and my purpose in writing is primarily to help us all grow spiritually stronger in our fight against pornography. We must help each other in a way of discipleship that is grounded in chastity and that purity of heart which helps us see God.

We are contending not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. (Eph 6:12.): Develop a plan to stay strong.

We have spoken about the first and necessary step in our spiritual battle against the lies and entanglements of pornography. Sincere repentance turns our sight again toward God and the Sacrament of Reconciliation renews within us the grace and life of Christ.

In order to persevere we must develop a plan to stay sober and avoid the intoxication of pornography. We will not succeed if we think we can easily put aside the temptations to use pornography. We must avoid the occasions of sin, that is, anything that leads us toward it. What are our particular weaknesses in regard to these attractions? In honesty and humility we must often run from them like we would run from a wild animal against which we had no sufficient defense.

We are more vulnerable to secret sins: 1) when we are alone or with certain people; 2) when the materials are available; and 3) when we have time on our hands.

Avoiding a secretive or enticing environment. We must be careful and plan out what we do when we are in private. Away from others we must be on our guard, mindful of our weakness. Can we invite someone to monitor our computer? Random monitoring is a practice in many business offices. Sometimes the danger of this keeps people from some instances of viewing pornography. The engagement of an accountability partner who receives a report of websites we have visited may help us stay honest in this regard (cf Appendix II). At home, a computer should be located in the open rather in the private room.

Similarly, we must avoid situations where the company of certain people might unduly pressure us to partake in the use of materials, such as pornographic videos or magazines. We must try to cultivate healthy and supportive friendships. As we get stronger, we can try to lead our associates into activities that are not so degrading to human dignity.

Eliminating pornographic materials. We must remove any pornography that is readily available. Eliminate your access as quickly as possible. Destroy the videos, throw out the photos and magazines, cancel the problematic cable or satellite channels.

Because we have grown to depend on computers, this is harder when dealing with Internet pornography. We can first remove computer bookmarks that provide easy access. Use a filter (see Appendix II). If you knew that eating certain foods or taking certain drugs to which you are allergic would kill you, you would scrupulously avoid these things. If getting rid of the computer is the only way to assure your chastity your sexual sobriety such measures may be necessary for the life of your soul.

If the television in your hotel room is a danger, dont even turn it on. Bring reading or work to do. Go to the exercise room. Talk to a friend, or your spouse or children on the phone. Persons who are problem drinkers and have been through treatment programs know that they must never take a drink again, and they stay away from the bar.

At home, more and more families are using blocking devices on their television sets, or using the TV only occasionally to watch a family-friendly movie or a sports event together.

Being good stewards of our time. Idle time may be the occasion for our use of pornography. We learned the truism, The idle mind is the devils playground. We dont want to become frenetic in our activity. There is value in taking time for rest and relaxation, but we must be good stewards of our time. Nearly a generation ago I heard someone describe television as company without commitment. We should use our time to constructively do things that are part of the direction we want for our life, that express and strengthen our commitments to others.

Knowing our weaknesses. We may begin to awaken our desire for explicit pornography even by the use of (increasingly revealing and suggestive) television shows, reality TV, or immodest advertisements, magazines not generally regarded as erotic (e.g., in the case of fetish), novels with explicit scenes that we know play to our attractions. Being honest about our individual weaknesses in these areas will help us avoid the occasions of sin, remote or near occasions that may cause our downfall. To succeed in this battle we have to calculate our strengths and weaknesses and realize how we can account for both. Dont try to fight the battle inside the fortress; engage the enemy before he breaches your defenses. Learn to see the danger coming before it gets too close or too strong.

You must, therefore, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5: 48 ): Develop a plan to grow holy as a disciple.

The Beatitudes and the rest of Christs Sermon on the Mount express a model for conscientious and faithful discipleship. It is not enough to remove the bad. We must bring in the good. If we do not replace the bad with something good it can more easily return (Cf. Luke 11:24 -26). Through repentance and Sacramental Reconciliation we move out of darkness into the light but we need a program for staying in the light. The particulars of this program will include some essential elements.

Commitment to daily prayer. The real core of this prayer must be a growing expression of our relationship to God our Father, to Jesus Christ who redeems us, and to the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us and helps us to be more like Christ in the world. We need to hear Gods affirmation of us our innate goodness and dignity so we can begin to love others in a similar way. This is more than just saying prayers, as important as that is. It is grounding our self in God. It is opening our hearts and letting Him speak His word of love, mercy, comfort and challenge to us. Our Catholic tradition is tremendously rich with many types of prayer. Just a few are Eucharistic Adoration, Lectio Divina (prayerfully reading the Sacred Scriptures), meditation, contemplation, and devotional prayers including the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Stations of the Cross. Our rich and varied tradition exists to help us grow more deeply in the life of God.

Meditation, vivid reflection on the mysteries, life and activity of Christ, and the use of religious pictures, statues, etc., provide positive images in the sense imagination and memory. These can begin to supplant images and visual fantasies that are occasions of sin for us.[13]

Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. For us as Catholics the Mass and the worthy reception of the Eucharist are the font from which we draw our spiritual strength and the highest expression of our worship and thanks to God. Here Jesus literally

makes a gift of Himself to us. Here we enter into the hour of His sacrifice. To share in the Eucharist every Sunday and holy day of obligation strengthens us, and keeps us in the communion of the Church. Participating in Mass more often and receiving communion, provided we have not alienated our self from God by serious sin, can be of inestimable help to us to stay in the light.

Daily Examination of Conscience and Frequent Confession. No one can hope to seriously grow in the spiritual life without the constant repentance to which Christ calls us. Particularly when we are trying to break the habits of destructive sins, a brief recollection of our day in which we renew our sorrow for our sins and track our progress prepares us for a worthy celebration of Confession. The saints tell us to keep our daily examination of conscience cursory so as not to rekindle the passion of our sins. Satans new temptations and occasional discouragement will come. But we must persevere in hope despite our setbacks. An honest, integral, and humble Confession monthly or more often, to the same confessor if possible, will do us tremendous good if we persevere and do not lose heart.

Like going to the doctor, receiving Reconciliation is both curative and preventive. It is curative because it removes sin and it is preventive because it strengthens us and allows us to stay healthy. Even if we are not guilty of any mortal sin, this sacrament strengthens us and helps us to keep running smoothly. I can testify to the great importance of frequent confession in my own spiritual journey. It is one valuable way I also try to stay close to Christ and keep the mystery of divine mercy and reconciliation alive in my own life.

Utilize good Spiritual Reading. Another means of support is through study. As Gods word to us the Bible is life giving and irreplaceable. Our tradition is rich in spiritual classics, especially the biographies of the saints or their own writings. Reading the encyclicals of the Popes and other magisterial teachings will help us in our understanding of revealed truth. The catechetical talks by Pope John Paul II, sometimes collectively referred to as the Theology of the Body, provide a positive and substantive understanding of human sexuality.

Awareness of the Presence of God. Making a faith-filled dedication of our self and our efforts to God each day a morning offering and renewing our awareness of His presence and love in the midst of our daily activities will help to sanctify all the everyday actions we undertake. Using devotional items or sacramentals, such as a blessed medal or scapular can be a source of grace and remind us of our relationship with God and as members of His Body the Church. Keeping a religious medal, holy card or icon on or near the screen of your computer, or on top of the television, can help us be aware of our commitment to live a new life in Christ.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2): Grow Strong in the Exercise of the Virtues.

Developing a plan for growing in holiness will be more complete as we begin to generously exercise an apostolic Christian love. We must go beyond our self, reaching out to others out of love for Christ. This active charity expressed in an unselfish and generous love is the antidote to pornography and other sexually-expressed symptoms of selfishness.

Temperance in the exercise of our sexual appetites, necessary for succeeding against the lures of pornography, can be strengthened when we exercise temperance in the use of food and drink. The more we learn to strengthen our will by occasionally denying ourselves licit enjoyments, the more we will likely succeed in the temperance which supports chastity. When we do this out of a motive of love of Christ, this discipline becomes discipleship. It is a kind of spiritual conditioning that strengthens us for other challenges that will come.

Modesty is decency and discretion in the way we dress, act and speak. It protects the mystery of persons and their love.[14] Living the habit of modesty in dress can help to foil the voyeuristic tendencies that are part of pornography. A renewed commitment to modesty helps us combat the injustice of pornography which undermines the dignity of the person. Custody of the eyes means we turn away from those gazes that are intended for our gratification and curiosity. This age-old practice can help us avoid occasions of sin that otherwise lead us to exploit others.

Purity is one of the most wonderful characteristics of the love and light of Jesus Christ. Exposed to Christs purity we are purified. Those who are in love seek to express their gift of self with an undivided heart and in a way that cares for the total well-being of the other. The exploitative use of others through pornography is a contradiction of this purity which characterizes Gods love and must be the model for our love. As we reflect on our natural exercise of purity in the relationships we have with our children, our parents and siblings, we will begin to increase our capacity to love other persons as well with a pure and undivided heart.

Chastity, as we have described at length above, can be exercised in positive ways. It means treating others with the respect due them in accord with their human dignity and worth something that comes from God Himself. Chastity is the responsible use of our affective life in the way that is most appropriate in light of our relationship. Allowing our self to be sexually gratified by someone we do not know in any way which happens in pornography is the epitome of unchastity. Determining to relate to each person in the way that best accords with their dignity and the nature of our relationship is a positive exercise of chastity. Exercising chastity consciously loving people in this deeply respectful way - actually strengthens us against acts of unchastity.

What are we saying? One way to successfully turn away the temptation of pornography is to build up the virtues of Temperance, Modesty, Purity and Chastity. The final cause the ultimate goal - of all the virtues is charity which must express itself in the generous gift of self.

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. (Sirach 6:14 ): Developing a support system.

People who have overcome addictions will insist you will not do so by yourself. Admitting the issue, examining oneself, daily prayer, and seeking forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance are all good, important and holy steps. A knowledgeable Spiritual Director can help us develop and keep the plan of life that we have suggested above.

However, if you or someone you know has reached the point of an addiction or even just a compulsion, more help may be necessary. It is important to develop a support system. This system may involve counseling with a competent professional. It may involve a support group. Our diocese already offers one such support group for men and we hope to establish another for women. The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families sponsors a phone line for those who struggle with pornography and for those who try to help them (cf. Appendix II). Another practice becoming more popular today is that of an accountability group. A number of individuals will gather on a regular basis to share struggles and successes. They give each other permission to probe, ask questions and to challenge fellow members.

There are some additional resources for those struggling with Internet pornography. One is to purchase a computer filter and have a friend download and secure it with a password not to be shared with you. Another is an accountability service that will send a report of every site you visit online to two accountability friends. This can be used in conjunction with a filter.

The company we keep can hurt or help us in our efforts. The purpose of any friendship is for people to lift each other up, not to drag each other down. If friends lead us into sin, they are not true friends and it is necessary to find those who would be true friends.

Our support system does not just stop with professionals and friends. There is a whole other category of a different set of professionals and friends. We call them the saints. These holy men and women inspire us by their heroic lives, give us an example to be imitated and help us by their constant intercession.[15] The Blessed Virgin Mary shows us what it means to be faithful to God in purity of heart. She is our Mother Most Pure, Mother Most Chaste, Mother Inviolate, Mother Undefiled [16] and with her prayers helps us to follow her Son in truth.

St. Joseph is similarly invoked as Chaste and Just. As patrons of our Diocese I constantly ask for their assistance and guidance and now I ask for their help for all those struggling with pornography.

St. Maria Goretti (1890-1902), and St. Charles Lwanga (d. 1886), are but two examples of young people who were martyred rather than give in to sexual impurity. Other saints are known for their conversion from a sinful life. They are models for us of what is possible when we give ourselves over to Christs transforming grace. May the faithfulness and chastity of these heavenly friends lead us to greater fidelity and chastity according to our state in life.

Let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people. (I Chron 19:13 ): Take Action.

There is much at stake here. This is a problem that calls for action from all of us: individually and as the Church.

To those who struggle with pornography Do not give up! This may be an occasional problem, an outright addiction or a problem somewhere in between. Wherever you may be, be honest with yourself. Seek the Sacrament of Penance. Find another trustworthy and dependable person to assist and support you.

Examine your life and see what disposes you to this behavior. Get a computer filter and an accountability system. Professional counseling is another important help. The support group sponsored by our Diocese functions as a landing pad to help people in the healing process. Appendix II lists a number of resources. Persevere and dont lose heart!

To parents Your role in the lives of your children is irreplaceable. Your task is twofold: to protect and to equip. There are many things you can do to protect your children. You have locks on the doors of your home to protect them from unwanted strangers. Your computers are unlocked doors to your children unless you establish some securities.

Keep the computer in a public part of the house.

Equip your Internet program with a password so your children cannot access the Internet unless you log on.

Get a computer filter.

Be proactive. Do not assume such things only happen in other families.

Before allowing your child to spend the night at a friends house, ask the parents if they have a filter on their computer.

This problem is much larger than the Internet. In addition to published pornography, there are chat rooms, iPods and camera cell phones. These can easily be misused and become a means of exposing children and young people to pornography.

Blogs pose another problem. If your child has a blog, visit it often. See to it that no addresses, phone numbers or other types of personally identifying information are listed nor any lewd or suggestive materials. Some blog sites can be set so that only chosen friends may access the site. Protection is the first important step.

The second step is also important: Equip your children to deal with a world where so much pornography is so easily available. To keep filters and other security measures on your computer is necessary, but eventually your children will be around an unfiltered computer. Will they at that point be sufficiently educated and morally strong to resist this evil?

At appropriate moments parents have the responsibility to teach their children about the beauties of our God-given sexuality and the truth of sexual morality. This calls for study of the Churchs teaching,*17+ and right living on the part of the parents. It must be admitted that the widespread use of artificial contraceptives has had a devastating and systemic effect on the family and the culture. Parents who have not yet come to grips with the responsible use of their own married sexuality will find it more difficult to communicate effectively to their children about the right ordering of these vital human powers powers which have their most significant expression in life-long love directed toward the procreation of life.

Pray together as a family. Go to Mass and to Confession together. Have meals together. Set rules and regulations about the use of the phone, TV, video games, and the Internet. Parents, teach your children about the blessedness of pure, chaste love, and help them find good reading.

You cannot keep them from all of the dangers they will eventually face, but you can equip them to deal with such dangers.

To pastors, priests and deacons You serve on the front line with the People of God. People need your moral leadership and guidance. Do not be afraid to speak out on this topic. Use modesty and prudence, but do not fail to remind all of us of the dangers to our soul this evil represents. Teach the Churchs truth about sexual morality and responsibility with clarity and encouragement. Speak about the beauty of chastity to which we are called. Do so for the good of your people; to support those working to live chastity as well as those who are in difficulty.

Catholics can and should work with other Christians and other people of good will in raising awareness, providing education and sharing resources that both address this issue and offer a positive proactive approach.

As ministers of the Sacrament of Penance, priests are in a unique position to help people who struggle with this problem and to offer them hope and healing. Study and reflect on this weighty pastoral challenge so you may better serve those who seek your help. Provide many opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Preach on the necessity of this Sacrament.

Unfortunately, this issue afflicts clergy of many Christian traditions, including our own. If you struggle with this, please get help not only for the sake of yourself but for those whom you serve in Jesus name.

To teachers, administrators and parish staff Each of you in a unique way are valued members of the Churchs team and the Church needs your help in fighting this evil. By your chosen work you have a role to play in building up the Body of Christ. Teachers, please be willing to teach and share good moral values and do not be afraid to have discussions with parents, encouraging them in their responsibilities as parents.

School administrators, you are in a unique place to provide guidance and education first to your faculty and then to your school community. Consider having an in-service day dedicated to this topic. Make sure school computer labs are adequately protected.

Youth ministers are specially positioned to help young people who may open up to you. Familiarize yourself with the available resources for help, and assist young people in turning to their parents and family members who have a unique responsibility to form their children in these matters.

To those in the communications media You are stewards of powerful developments of communication and technology. These developments can be used to build up humanity and human solidarity. They can also isolate people, drag them down and lead them into a way of living that is less human. Please use these developments of technology for the common good. For your own salvation completely disassociate yourself from the industry which prospers through this exploitation. Help provide us with good entertainment and communication technology that is useful for the necessary work of the modern day without descending to this lowest tendency of our human nature.

To those in public officeThe right to free speech is a precious one that I deeply value and defend. The Supreme Court has ruled that obscenity is not protected speech although the definition of obscenity is left to the local communities. Pornography can bring with it a weakening of marriage and family, an increase of crime and a decline of property values. For the economic as well as the moral good of those you are sworn to serve, please work against pornography and for the good of all.

To counselors, doctors and other health care professionals You too are in a special position to help people within a confidential setting. Internet addiction and Internet pornography have serious implications. In particular, I ask counselors, psychologists and doctors to learn more about helping people with these problems. I further ask you to then share that wisdom with parents, clergy and the general public in a way that respects the dignity of the human person and the God-given meaning and purpose of human sexuality. Realize and make allowances for the curative benefits of supernatural faith as part of the motivation and potential for renewal in those who suffer under pornographys hurtful effects.

Finally, to all peopleI ask all of us, myself included, to daily strive to grow in purity of heart and chastity according to our state in life. This is the road to true happiness and this is how we grow in love and thus become more like God. Purity of heart is not merely a nice virtue. It opens up for us the vision of God.


Let us cast off the deed of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:12 ): The light of Gods mercy.

Dear friends, this problem of pornography affects all of us. It involves not only our spiritual life and our moral health but the health of our nation and our world. It assaults our human dignity rooted in the image and likeness of God and further ennobled by the Incarnation. Pornography is a struggle for many people. Prevention can do tremendous good. Neglect can be responsible for horrendous and lifelong harm. Children and young people must be protected and equipped to deal with these and other problems facing us today.

Moreover, people need the Churchs positive message about human sexuality. Chastity calls all of us to love as God loves. Purity of heart is a blessed path of discipleship. At times we will stumble but with the mercy of God we continue to follow in the way of light, life and love.

One wise instruction St. Benedict wrote in his Holy Rules the pithy but profound statement, Never despair of Gods Mercy.*18+ The most serious temptation anyone can face is to doubt the reality of Gods love and mercy. While we can never presume on that mercy, we must never let go of that most powerful and life-giving hope. St. John , the beloved disciple, in his words addressed to the early Christian Churches also reassures us.

My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world (I Jn 2: 1-2).

If you remember just one sentence from this letter let it be this: Never despair of Gods mercy.

In Christ and Mary,

Most Reverend Robert W. Finn Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Ash Wednesday ~ February 21, 2007


A PRAYER IN A TIME OF TEMPTATION ~ Based on Hebrews 4:14-16

Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, you were tempted in every way we are and yet never sinned. Take me to the throne of Your grace to receive mercy, favor and help. Make me aware of Your presence. Strengthen me in my weakness.

Lead me through the temptations of this life to the love you share with the Father and Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.


Loving God and Father, source of all good and knowledge, we praise you for your loving kindness shown to us through your Son Jesus Christ who became flesh and dwelt among us and through your Holy Spirit poured forth into our hearts. Grant that this new computer may be used in service to you and all truth. May it be an instrument that serves to lift up and not to tear down. May pornography, hatred or any other such evil never appear on this screen. May I and all who use this computer do so with purity of heart and free from all evil. May my work on this computer serve to glorify your name and build up your kingdom. Lead us through this life to share in the perfect love and joy you share with Jesus Christ your Son our Lord and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

ANIMA CHRISTI (Soul of Christ)

Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water flowing from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O Good Jesus hear me, in your wounds hide me and never permit me to be separated from you. From the evil enemy, defend me In the hour of my death call me, and grant me to come to you that with your saints I may praise you for ever and ever. Amen.


Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, That never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To thee I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions But in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.


Joseph, chaste and just Joseph, prudent and brave Joseph, obedient and loyal Terror of evil spirits Protector of the Church, Pray for us!

Almighty God, in your infinite wisdom and love you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary, the mother of Your Son. As we enjoy his protection on earth, may we have the help of his prayers in heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


St. Michael the Archangel , defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by divine power thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits that prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


Angel of God, my guardian dear; to whom Gods love commends me here: Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen


On-Line Resources is a Catholic site that includes information, prayers, witness talks and many other helpful resources. is a similar Christian site with many resources. It also has a version in Italian. is the site for the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families. In addition to fighting pornography this organization does much to promote decency and family life. is sponsored by L.I.F.E. Ministries (Living in Freedom Everyday). is a Christian based ministry addressing a number of addictions. Its resources are available in several languages. is a resource for women whose husbands have problems with pornography. The information here would also be helpful for a husband whose wife is struggling with pornography. not only has resources about pornography but includes information about fighting indecency. is the web site for Sexaholics Anonymous. It shares information and Twelve Step Spirituality for those struggling with sexual addiction. is a site for internet safety and education. provides a description and customer rating of different internet filters. It is a good single source to learn about many different products. is not a filter but an accountability service. Users will designate two other individuals who will periodically receive reports of all the sites the user has visited. This can work well in conjunction with a filter. is a prayer resource sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Louis. You may type in a request and eight communities of cloistered nuns will pray for your intentions.

Support and Counseling Services

The diocese sponsors a support group for men who struggle with pornography. They meet periodically for support. Confidentiality is respected. For more information call 816-756-1850 ext. 495, or toll-free to 1-800-246-1850 ext. 495.

Catholic Charities can put you in touch with a professional counselor. For more information call 816-333-2040 .

The National Coalition has a toll-free service line at 1-800-583-2964. It is a resource both for those who struggle with pornography as well as for pastors and counselors. Phones are answered Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.


The Truth and meaning of Human Sexuality. Pontifical Council for the Family, 1995.

Married Love and the Gift of Life. Pro-Life Secretariat , United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Nov. 14, 2006 .

Many of the above listed web sites will list books that can be helpful. One short but helpful booklet is Breaking Free: 12 Steps to Sexual Purity for Men. It is by Stephen Wood and published by Family Life Center Publications.

For other reading material regarding a Catholic understanding of human sexuality see Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla and Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II. The former is a more philosophical work while the latter is much more theological. Some popular secondary sources for these are: Theology of the Body for Beginners and Theology of the Body Explained both by Christopher West and Men and Women are From Eden by Mary Healy.

In 2002 the Pontifical Council for Social Communications issued two documents entitled The Church and Internet and Ethics in Internet.&rdquo In 1989 the same council issued a document entitled, Pornography and Violence in the Communications Media: A Pastoral Response.&rdquo These documents may be accessed at BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART, FOR THEY WILL SEE GOD (MATTHEW 5:8)

SHARE DOWNLOAD & PRINT ARTICLE The sixth beatitude echoes Psalm 24:3-5:

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of their salvation.

Integrity In Auto Sales The value of integrity in business is illustrated by Don Flow, CEO of Flow Automotive. He has a deep personal commitment to fairness. But he discovered that the selling practices in his automobile dealerships were leading to unfair treatment of poorer customers. He could notand did not want toseparate his business practices from his personal commitments. So he changed his business practices. He explains the new practice this way:

"We have a customer-centric selling process. We dont have the traditional run back and forth negotiating process; we have a pricing structure thats set. Our prices are actually a little bit lower because weve been able to manage our costs better with our internal processes. You dont have to be a tough negotiator, or more educated, to get a fair price. If youve got a Ph.D. or if youre a janitor, youll pay the same price for the vehicle. We did a study and found that the people who typically paid the least for the cars were the most able to pay. Those least able to pay, paid the most. For

me, it was wrong to take advantage of the least able, a clear violation of the biblical mandate in the book of Proverbs. We went back and restructured our business. Our profit structure has to be much tighter around the mean, and we have to communicate enough value that a person will pay us a fair return.*1+

Click here to see a 4-minute video of Don describing how he applies the Christian faith to his business practices.

Clean hands and pure hearts denote integrity, singleness of devotion, undivided loyalty. Integrity goes well beyond avoiding deceit and bad behavior. The root of integrity is wholeness, meaning that our actions are not choices we put on or take off as may seem convenient, but stem from the whole of our being. Notice that Jesus pronounces the blessing of being pure in heart not right after the blessing of hungering for righteousness, but after the blessing of showing mercy. Purity of heart arises not from perfection of our will, but from reception of Gods grace.

We can determine how much of this blessing we have received by asking ourselves: How much commitment do I have to integrity, when I might be able to get away with skillful deception? Do I refuse to let my opinion of someone be shaped by gossip and innuendo, no matter how juicy? To what extent are my actions and words accurate reflections of what is in my heart?

It is hard to argue against personal integrity in the workplace, yet in a fallen world it is often the butt of jokes. Like mercy and meekness, it can be seen as weakness. But it is the person of integrity who will see God. While the Bible is clear that God is invisible and dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 1:17, 6:16), the pure in heart can perceive and sense God's reality in this life. In fact, without integrity, the deceits we propagate against others eventually make us unable to perceive the truth anymore. We inevitably begin to believe our own fabrications. And this leads to ruin in the workplace, because work based on unreality soon becomes ineffective. The impure have no desire to see God, but those who are part of Christ's kingdom are blessed because they see reality as it truly is, including the reality of God.

Blessed are the Pure in Heart -- The Beatutitudes

In the Sixth Beautitude Jesus Says that the Pure in Heart will See God

Blessed Pure in Heart The Beatitudes are a collection of promises recorded in the book of Matthew. They present seven different attitudes of the heart that come with a promise of blessing. Jesus spoke these promises in His Sermon on the Mount, to a multitude

of followers who needed more than just physical healing and deliverance. Jesus was giving them an opportunity to seek an intimate relationship with God through a right heart.

Each beatitude, which simply means supreme blessedness, begins with the phrase blessed are. These words imply that whoever participates in that right heart attitude will benefit from being in a perpetual state of receiving God's favor. It was this continual blessing that Jesus knew was going to fulfill the needs of His followers. The sixth beatitude is for those who are pure in heart. Jesus said, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (5:8)

The heart represents the inner man. It is referred to as the seat of thought and emotion, the center of the character of the individual. God, through King Solomon, warned His people to guard their hearts. The New Living Translation states: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23) It is out of the heart that sin and obedience, rebellion and submission, hatred and love can all come.

God was instructing His people to watch what enters into the heart, because what comes out of it can either make or break one's destiny in Him. A heart that is seared by sin, or bent on rebellion, or even clouded with doubt, cannot openly receive all that God has to offer. And a heart that is closed to Him will not only miss out on His blessing, but also will not be able to fulfill the things that He wants to do through them.

Those who keep their hearts pure have the promise of seeing God, that is, the promise of truly knowing and understanding who He is and what He wants to accomplish through them. To them, God will reveal Himself and make His presence known. They will be a vessel that He can use to draw others to Himself. They will benefit from seeing the hand of God move in the lives of those to whom they minister. They will see the sick healed, the lost saved, the broken restored. All of these are evidences of the power of God, and those who endeavor to keep themselves in right standing with God will be a witness to His presence at work in their lives. Becoming the Pure in Heart SPENCER W. KIMBALL President of the Church Play My dear brothers and sisters, what a beautiful sight you are! The radiance of your faces and the beauties of nature on this Temple Square make my heart swell with thanksgiving for the blessings of the Lord. As we meet together in conference, I hope the spirit of gratitude permeates all we do and say, for truly the Lord delights to bless those who love and serve him. (See D&C 76:5.)

With the help of the Lord, I should like to remind us of several truths and obligations that should never be forgotten by us as leaders and as a people. Following these reminders, I should like to talk about the building of Zion through sacrifice and consecration.

First, may I remind bishops of the vital need to provide recipients of welfare assistance with the opportunity for work or service that thereby they may maintain their dignity and independence and continue to enjoy the Holy Spirit as they benefit from Church Welfare Services self-help efforts. We cannot be too often reminded that Church welfare assistance is spiritual at heart and that these spiritual roots would wither if we ever permitted anything like the philosophy of the dole to enter into our Welfare Services ministrations. Everyone assisted can do something. Let us follow the order of the Church in this regard and insure that all who receive give of themselves in return.

May we be on guard against accepting worldly substitutes for the plan to care for his poor in this, the Lords own way. As we hear talk of governmental welfare reforms and its myriads of problems, let us remember the covenants we have made to bear one anothers burdens and to succor each according to his need. President Romney, our dean of Welfare Services, gave good counsel when several years ago he made this statement:

In this modern world plagued with counterfeits for the Lords plan, we must not be misled into supposing that we can discharge our obligations to the poor and the needy by shifting the responsibility to some governmental or other public agency. Only by voluntarily giving out of an abundant love for our neighbors can we develop that charity characterized by Mormon as the pure love of Christ. (Moro. 7:47.) This we must develop if we would obtain eternal life. (Conference Report, Oct. 1972, p. 115.)

No ism should confuse our thinking in these matters. As a reminder of Church policy regarding individuals receiving government or other forms of charity, may I emphasize the following declaration of principle:

The responsibility for each members spiritual, social, emotional, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second, upon his family, and third, upon the Church. Members of the Church are commanded by the Lord to be self-reliant and independent to the extent of their ability. (See D&C 78:1314.)

No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able, will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his familys well-being to someone else. So long as he can, under the inspiration of the Lord and with his own labors, he will work to the extent of his ability to supply himself and his family with the spiritual and temporal necessities of life. (See Gen. 3:19; 1 Tim. 5:8; and Philip. 2:12.)

As guided by the spirit of the Lord and through applying these principles, each member of the Church should make his own decisions as to what assistance he accepts, be it from governmental or other sources. In this way, independence,

self-respect, dignity, and self-reliance will be fostered, and free agency maintained. (Statement of the Presiding Bishopric, as quoted in Ensign, March 1978, p. 20.)

Underlying this statement is the recurring theme of self-reliance. No amount of philosophizing, excuses, or rationalizing will ever change the fundamental need for self-reliance. This is so because:

All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. (D&C 93:30.) The Lord declares that herein lies the agency of man (see D&C 93:31), and with this agency comes the responsibility for self. With this agency we can rise to glory or fall to condemnation. May we individually and collectively be ever self-reliant. This is our heritage and our obligation.

The principle of self-reliance stands behind the Churchs emphasis on personal and family preparedness. Our progress in implementing the various facets of this personal and family preparedness is impressive, but there are still far too many families who have yet to heed the counsel to live providently. With the arrival of spring we hope all of you will put in your gardens and prepare to enjoy their produce this summer. We hope you are making this a family affair, with everyone, even the little ones, assigned to something. There is so much to learn and harvest from your garden, far more than just a crop itself. We also hope that you are maintaining your years supply of food, clothing, and where possible, some fuel and cash savings. Moreover, we hope that you are conscious of proper diet and health habits, that you may be fit physically and able to respond to the many challenges of life. Would you see to it that in your quorum and Relief Society meetings the principles and practices of personal and family preparedness are taught.

We wish to remind all the Saints of the blessings that come from observing the regular fast and contributing as generous a fast offering as we can, and as we are in a position to give. Wherever we can, we should give many times the value of the meals from which we abstained.

This principle of promise, when lived in the spirit thereof, greatly blesses both giver and receiver. Upon practicing the law of the fast, one finds a personal well-spring of power to overcome self-indulgence and selfishness. May I refer you to Bishop Victor L. Browns masterful talk on this subject given last Welfare Conference and published in the November 1977 Ensign.

Now, brothers and sisters, would you put aside for a moment the pressing demands of this day and this week, and permit me to establish some very important perspectives about welfare services. For many years we have been taught that one important end result of our labors, hopes, and aspirations in this work is the building of a Latter-day Zion, a Zion characterized by love, harmony, and peacea Zion in which the Lords children are as one.

The vision of what we are about and what should come of our labors must be kept uppermost in our minds as we learn and do our duty in the present implementation of welfare service. This applies equally to all Church activities. In the fifty-eighth section of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord shares with us a glimpse of this Latter-day Zion:

Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.

For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.

Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent youthat you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come;

And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand;

And after that cometh the day of my power; then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come.

Behold, I, the Lord, have spoken it. (D&C 58:312.)

This day will come; it is our destiny to help bring it about! Doesnt it motivate you to lengthen your stride and quicken your pace as you do your part in the great sanctifying work of the kingdom? It does me. It causes me to rejoice over the many opportunities for service and sacrifice afforded me and my family as we seek to do our part in establishing Zion.

In the earliest years of this dispensation the people faltered in attempting to live the full economic plan of Zion, the united order. Because of their transgressions, the Lord chastened them in these words:

Behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;

And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;

And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. (D&C 105:35.)

The Lord further counsels that we must learn obedience and be developed in character before he can redeem Zion. (See D&C 105:910.)

A few verses later in this same revelation, the Lord repeats the law of Zion in these words and with this promise:

And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption.

And inasmuch as they follow the counsel which they receive, they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion. (D&C 105:34, 37.)

The length of time required to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion is strictly up to us and how we live, for creating Zion commences in the heart of each person. (Journal of Discourses, 9:283.) That it would take some time to learn our lessons was seen by the prophets. In 1863 Brigham Young stated:

If the people neglect their duty, turn away from the holy commandments which God has given us, seek their own individual wealth, and neglect the interests of the kingdom of God, we may expect to be here quite a timeperhaps a period that will be far longer than we anticipate. (Journal of Discourses, 11:102.)

Unfortunately we live in a world that largely rejects the values of Zion. Babylon has not and never will comprehend Zion. The Lord revealed our times to the prophet Mormon, who recorded this statement in a closing chapter of the Book of Mormon:

Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. (Morm. 8:35, 37.)

This state of affairs stands in marked contrast to the Zion the Lord seeks to establish through his covenant people. Zion can be built up only among those who are the pure in heart, not a people torn by covetousness or greed, but a pure and selfless people. Not a people who are pure in appearance, rather a people who are pure in heart. Zion is to be in the world and not of the world, not dulled by a sense of carnal security, nor paralyzed by materialism. No, Zion is not things of the lower, but of the higher order, things that exalt the mind and sanctify the heart.

Zion is every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God. (D&C 82:19.) As I understand these matters, Zion can be established only by those who are pure in heart, and who labor for Zion, for the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish. (2 Ne. 26:31.)

As important as it is to have this vision in mind, defining and describing Zion will not bring it about. That can only be done through consistent and concerted daily effort by every single member of the Church. No matter what the cost in toil or sacrifice, we must do it. That is one of my favorite phrases: Do It. May I suggest three fundamental things we must do if we are to bring again Zion, three things for which we who labor for Zion must commit ourselves.

First, we must eliminate the individual tendency to selfishness that snares the soul, shrinks the heart, and darkens the mind. President Romney recently referred to the tragic cycle of civilization, a cycle propelled by anyone who seeks for power and gain. Was it not this that led Cain to commit the first murder for the sake of getting gain? (Moses 5:50.) Is not this the spirit of the anti-Christ in which every man prospered according to his genius, and every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime? (Alma 30:17.) Did not Nephi single this out as the spirit which led his generation to destruction:

Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was thisSatan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world. (3 Ne. 6:15.)

If we are to avoid their fate, we must guard against the very things that caused their downfall. The Lord himself declared to our grandparents: And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine property. (D&C 19:26.)

He further counseled his young church by saying:

Behold, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with many who are in the church at Kirtland:

For they do not forsake their sins and their wicked ways, the pride of their hearts, and their covetousness, and all their detestable things, and observe the words of wisdom and eternal life which I have given unto them. (D&C 98:1920.) It is incumbent upon us to put away selfishness in our families, our business and professional pursuits, and our Church

affairs. I am disturbed when I hear of stakes or wards having difficulty dividing equity in welfare projects or making equitable storehouse commodity production assignments. These things should not be. Let us resolve today to overcome any such tendencies.

Second, we must cooperate completely and work in harmony one with the other. There must be unanimity in our decisions and unity in our actions. After pleading with the Saints to let every man esteem his brother as himself (D&C 38:24), the Lord concludes his instructions on cooperation to a conference of the membership in these powerful words:

Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. (D&C 38:27.)

If the Spirit of the Lord is to magnify our labors, then this spirit of oneness and cooperation must be the prevailing spirit in all that we do. Moreover, when we do so, we are told by the Prophet Joseph Smith that the greatest temporal and spiritual blessings which always come from faithfulness and concentrated effort, never attended individual exertion or enterprise. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 183.) There are few activities in the Church that require more cooperation and concerted effort than Welfare Services. Whether it is rallying to find employment for a displaced quorum member, toiling on a production project, serving as a lead worker at a Deseret Industries, or accepting foster children in the home, it is cooperation and mutual concern that determines the overall success of the Storehouse Resource System.

Third, we must lay on the altar and sacrifice whatever is required by the Lord. We begin by offering a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We follow this by giving our best effort in our assigned fields of labor and callings. We learn our duty and execute it fully. Finally we consecrate our time, talents and means as called upon by our file leaders and as prompted by the whisperings of the Spirit. In the Church, as in the Welfare system also, we can give expression to every ability, every righteous desire, every thoughtful impulse. Whether a volunteer, father, home teacher, bishop, or neighbor, whether a visiting teacher, mother, homemaker, or friendthere is ample opportunity to give our all. And as we give, we find that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven! (Hymns, no. 147.) And in the end, we learn it was no sacrifice at all.

My brothers and sisters, if we can do this, then we will find ourselves clothed in the mantle of charity which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. (Moro. 7:4647.)

Let us unite and pray with all the energy of heart, that we may be sealed by this bond of charity; that we may build up this latter-day Zion, that the kingdom of God may go forth, so that the kingdom of heaven may come. This is my prayer and testimony in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

(Matthew 5:8 NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

Purity of heart has often seemed to me to be an unattainable goal, lofty, idealistic and out of reach. Almost in the "too hard basket". The questions arise "How can I have a pure heart living in today's world, I don't stand a chance. It's futile to even hope for it" or "I've been too hurt by life, I'm too messed up to ever have a pure heart".. Like Solomon we cry:

(Proverbs 20:9 NKJV) Who can say, "I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin"?

Why then did Jesus ever bother uttering these words? These words were uttered to puncture the pride of the hypocrites on one hand and to encourage the humble and godly in their quest on the other. The great surprise of the New Testament and of the Bible in general is that it talks about a pure heart as an attainable reality.( 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:22, Hebrews 10:22, 1 Peter 1:22). We shall look at these references later. First we shall look at what is a pure heart.

What Is A Pure Heart?

Soren Kierkegaard said that "Purity of heart is to will one thing." While that is fine in a secular sense it is insufficient for the Christian. Hitler could will one thing as could many very evil people. The heart must will the correct "one thing". The Christian must add goodness to this definition. Purity of heart involves holiness. However I don't want to throw Kierkegaard's definition out of the window entirely, purity of heart definitely involves a singleness of purpose. The life is shot like an arrow toward God. Purity of heart, like faith, is singular and fixed. For the godly man or woman it is fixed on God and His glory. A pure heart is that which only wills the good. The pure in heart cries out (Psalms 40:8 NKJV) I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart."

By contrast an impure heart unleashes hate, discord and strife. It is ruled by envy and selfish ambition, operates according to demonic wisdom and has the fruit of "disorder and every evil thing".

(James 3:14-16 NRSV) But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. {15} Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. {16} For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.

Jesus and Jeremiah both gave very unflattering descriptions of the human heart apart from the grace of God.

(Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV) "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?(Mark 7:21-23 NKJV) "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, {22} "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. {23} "All these evil things come from within and defile a man."

Our hearts are by nature sinful and deceptive. They are full of wicked thoughts including the deceptive lie that we are basically good and that we have no real need to change. That is why Christian fellowship is so important for our growth in God. Without the input of others and the sharp two-edged sword of God's Word wielded by the Holy Spirit we would be easily deceived bu our own proud hearts..This is one reason why it is necessary to go to church and hear good Bible teaching from loving pastors.

The Bible also speaks of the divided or double heart...

(Psalms 12:1-2 NKJV) Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. {2} They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

When you meet a double-hearted person you are aware that there is a lack of integrity and an overriding self-interest. They are "faithless" and do not keep their word. They are not anchored within themselves but adrift.

(James 1:6-8 NKJV) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. {7} For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; {8} he is a doubleminded man, unstable in all his ways.

The double-minded person has a heart that cannot stay fixed on God but which alternates between the will of God and the attractions of this world. By contrast people with pure hearts come across as "solid", faithful and dependable. Not men-pleasers but God-pleasers. Psalm 15 describes these faithful, pure-hearted people.

(Psalms 15 NKJV) LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? {2} He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; {3} He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil

to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; {4} In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; {5} He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

This is an exact parallel to Psalm 24:

(Psalms 24:3-5 NKJV) Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? {4} He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. {5} He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Psalm 15 can thus be seen as an extended description of what it means to have "clean hands and a pure heart". What then are the chief characteristics of the pure in heart? They are morally upright, their thoughts are "straight". The pure in heart "speak truth in their hearts"(Psalm 15:2). Their inner talk is truthful and honest, full of integrity, God-centered and productive.

(Psalms 19:14 NKJV) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

The pure in heart treat their friends well and have control over their tongues and their tempers so that they are neither back-biters or gossips (Psalm 15:3). However they are not naive and use godly discernment evaluating others primarily by their character not their wealth or appearance. The vile are not flattered or courted in any way but rather they are despised - even though they may be influential. Yet even the "insignificant" who fear the Lord and are honored (Psalm 15:4). The pure in heart are safe. When they make a promise they keep it even if it ends up hurting them.(Psalm 15:4). They may be "ripped off" but they do not rip off others in any way (Psalm 15:5) either by charging high interest on loans or taking a bribe against the innocent. Because they are safe and stable friends God grants them safe and stable lives. (Psalm 15:5).

The Pure Heart and The Blood of Christ

(Hebrews 10:22 NKJV) let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

(1 John 1:7-10 NKJV) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. {8} If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. {9} If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. {10} If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

(Psalms 51:7-11 NKJV) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. {8} Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. {9} Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. {10} Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. {11} Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Christians have the marvelous advantage of the continuing work of the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing us from all sin. The blood of Christ is the starting point for personal purity and the only hope of success. Our tendency to become corrupted by the world, tempted by the Devil and led astray by the lusts o our flesh is too strong for any other remedy. The blood of Christ is God's powerful cleansing agent that works day and night against our impurities.

David cries "Cleanse me with hyssop". Hyssop was used to apply the blood of the sacrificial Lamb at Passover and stands for the atonement applied to the life of the Christian believer. The result? "And I shall be clean..". This is what Hebrews speaks about when it speaks of "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.." The hyssop sprinkled the blood and the blood cleanses the sinner. David again says "Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow". This refers to the "washing of baptism" which is not a removal of dirt from the flesh but an appeal for a good conscience.(1 Peter 3:21) We are washed with water and the blood and made clean inwardly. This cleansing with the blood is ours in Christ, if we ask God for it He is "faithful and just" and will cleanse us.(1 John 1:7-10) It is one of the ordinary (but nonetheless great) graces of the Christian life. Live in it.

Other Means of Attaining Purity of Heart

While the basis of a pure heart is the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing us from all sin there are three other cleansing agents that God uses. They are godly discipline, the word of God received in faith and Christian hope.

(Proverbs 20:30 NKJV) Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes the inner depths of the heart.

Some of us get purified the hard way. God disciplines us until we wake up and deal with our sin. He calls out...

(Isaiah 55:7 NKJV) Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

If the unrighteous do not forsake their thoughts they are chastised until they repent. When we choose to deal with our thought life we find a God who "abundantly pardons". You will sometimes hear people say "it was a very hard time but

after it I got a new perspective on life and started to take God more seriously.." that is God's discipline at work. But there is an easier way!

The word of God received in our heart by faith renews our minds and purifies us from sin. That faith is necessary is both common sense and the testimony of Scripture. Obviously not all who hear the word of God have pure hearts. But some are greatly changed by the entering of the word of God into their lives. Such was the case with Jesus' disciples. At the Lord's supper Jesus first of all said:

(John 13:10-11 NKJV) Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." {11} For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean."

but after Judas left He said:

(John 15:3 NKJV) "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

Jesus words had sunk into the disciples (soon to be apostles) at such a depth that they were now clean vessels fit for the Spirit to indwell at Pentecost and for years of fruitful ministry.

(1 John 3:2-3 NKJV) Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. {3} And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Hope purifies us. It focuses us on good and godly objectives and is one of the chief means of attaining a pure heart. When a girl is engaged to be married there is often a concentrated flurry of expectant hope and focused activity. She may go to the gym, trim down, get her hair done nicely, and do all the other things needed to look good on the wedding day. Or the athlete in hope of winning a prize makes each grinding training session count. The hope disciplines the life. So it is with the Christian disciple and the Second Coming. We want to receive our crown, our imperishable victors wreath. As that hope becomes vivid within us we naturally purify ourselves. We see that the things of this world are passing away and set our sights on eternity. The hope of heaven is absolutely essential if we are to endure the more difficult disciplines of the Christian life. When we realize that we are bound for eternal glory then we want to be fit for it. We want to be blameless, spotless and undefiled. We want to have pure hearts for only those with pure hearts can see God.

The Benefits of A Pure Heart

Listed below are five benefits of a pure heart.

Seeing God(Matthew 5:8 NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

The Friendship of God the King (Proverbs 22:11 NKJV) He who loves purity of heart And has grace on his lips, The king will be his friend.

All Things Become Pure (Titus 1:15 NKJV) To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.

God Is Good To The Pure In Heart (Psalms 73:1 NKJV) Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart.

God's Presence (Psalms 15 NKJV) LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? {2} He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart;

The pure in heart enjoy a remarkable degree of fellowship with God and man. They can stand in His tabernacle and dwell in His holy hill. They can see Him. He is their friend. He makes earthly kings to be their friend as well. He is good to the pure in heart and gives them the capacity to enjoy all things as pure and good. For the pure in heart even sexual relationships are pure but to the "defiled and unbelieving' they are "dirty". It is as we purify ourselves from sin that we become close to God, useful in His service and able to truly enjoy all that He has created.

This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at

Matthew 5: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.a-pure-heart Pure as it is used here in the original Greek is katharos. Katharos is pronounced Kath-ar-os. It means of uncertain Affinity; clean (literally or figuratively): clean, clear, pure. Jesus declared to the people that day that if someone was capable of having, keeping or obtaining a pure heart, that they would see God someday.

It is the desire of every believer that, one day, they would see God. However, the enemy of our souls has a desire too. His desire is to keep us from seeing God. Both in this world and in the next. His attempt is to cause us to lose our pure hearts. One thing that I have found to be universal amongst new converts/believers is the pure heart that the Lord gives to them. As newborn babes in Christ, their hearts are open to receive anything that the church has to offer them. They trust the ministry and they trust their newfound church family. Their hearts are pure. Their motives are pure. Their intensions are pure. They are simply thankful to be saved and are happy and content to be a part of the Family of God. These people are the source of revival in the church. They are usually the ones who bring new people to the church. They tell all their family and friends about what the Lord has done for them. They are not afraid or ashamed to declare their Love for God or what He has done for them. What makes these people so important to a communitys infiltration of the Gospel? What makes these people so valuable to the growth and continuance of a church in a given city? Their pure heart. A heart that is pure is capable of loving someone who is unlovable. A heart that is pure is able to look beyond a persons faults and see their potential greatness. A heart that is pure has no selfish motives. It only wants to bless those around it. It labors for the Lord because it loves the Lord and the people who surround their life. This person is not perfect. They are still human. They still make mistakes. They still sin. But Jesus said that because their motives were correct and their heart was pure, that they shall see God. So it seems paramount that a believer in Jesus Christ should seek to have and maintain a pure heart. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jesus desire for those who would follow Him was that they would follow His divine example of a pure heart. If we are going to see God If we are going to find rest for our souls, we must seek to have and labor to keep the pure heart that Jesus intends for all of his followers to have. As mentioned however, it is the role of Satan to trip the church up in what should be the simplest and most rudimentary of ideals. His desire is to keep us from seeing God. So consequently, he works to cause our hearts to lose their purity. One of the main areas that Satan works to destroy our pure hearts is in the area of judging others. Matthew 7:1-2 tells us to Judge not, that we be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Luke told us in 6:37, to Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive and ye shall be forgiven. A person who has a pure heart does not judge or condemn, but they do always forgive others. They realize that if God is capable of forgiving the sinner, then they too should do so. They love the person because Jesus loves them. Regardless of the faults they may see in them. Jesus told us in John 7:24 to Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. What is it about men that they would seek to find the faults of others? It seems to be a universal problem for people of every age and place of society regardless of where they live in this world. People want to judge one another. They want to prove that their own righteousness is better than the righteousness of their neighbor. A common thread of Jesus teachings is the significance of loving people regardless of where they are at in their walk with God. He said in John 15:12, This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. In John 13:35 He told us, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. What does it mean to have love one to another? In I Corinthians chapter 13 Paul describes for us the work of Love. He describes Charity. Charity as it is used here in the original Greek is the feminine noun Agape. It is pronounced ag-ah-pa. Agape means brotherly love, affection, good will or benevolence. In chapter 13, Paul lets us know that no matter how great your faith is. No matter how much you do for the Kingdom of God, if you do not have love for people, you are nothing. There is much to be gleaned from 1Cor 13. Vs 5 however, says that Charity thinketh no evil. Vs 7 lets us know that love believes all things, hopeth all things If we truly have a pure heart. If we truly love people. And by the way, we will never be a help to those around us until our hearts are pure and we can demonstrate perfect love to them. We will not think evil of them when the opportunity to do so arises. And, we will believe in them and hope in them regardless of what is happening in their lives at the current moment. When a child of God considers another person, they should do so in the light of I Cor 13 and ask themselves, 1. Am I thinking evil of this person? 2. Do I believe in this person? 3. Am I hoping the best for this person? Lets face it. None of us are perfect. None of us are without sin of some kind in our life. For some it may be lying. For some it may be stealing. For some it may be alcoholism, or drug abuse.

For some it may be fornication. For some it may be anger. For some it may be pride. For some it may be bitterness over injuries of the past. For some it may be you name it. But the fact of the matter is No One is without sin! Each of us has a sin problem of some kind. You dont even have to do something evil to sin, all you have to do is think it. Some of our sins are more obvious than others of us. Some are very public sins and some are very private sins. But they are all sins. They are all displeasing to God and they are all what separates us from true Holiness. This however, was the purpose of the Cross of Calvary. This was why Jesus hung and died a horrific death on a Roman Cross. Thank God we have a mediator before God and Thank God we have His forgiveness for our sins (Past, Present and Future). So why do we judge each other? Why do we look for and call out the worst in others? Why do we work to notice and point out what others are doing and not doing right or wrong? What keeps us from looking beyond the immediate fault and seeing the positive work of God in a persons life? Why, when there is so much good that the Holy Spirit is doing in a persons life, do we instead notice only the one or two obvious things that He has not yet perfected in their life? Why is it easier to see the faults in a person than the good that God sees? There is only one reason. Our hearts are not pure. If our hearts were pure, love would cause compassion to well up in our hearts for the person to the point that we would be unable to see the fault in their life and we would instead have and demonstrate faith in their walk with God. It is better to have a pure heart than it is to be without sin. The scriptures shared earlier in this study lets us know that a person with a pure heart will see God. We already know that there is forgiveness for all kinds of sin. So is it imperative for you to point out and notice another persons sin, which would cause you to come under the same judgment? Or to simply trust that the Lord forgives that persons fault and is doing a work of restoration and sanctification in their life whether you can see it or not. This indeed would be what a person with a pure heart would do. The pure heart sees what God is doing and ignores the area of anothers life that is not perfect. Pure In Heart

(The Blessed Family Part 6) By Kim Butts

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matthew 5:8).

In todays world, many people are capable of very godly actions that are completely motivated by impure thoughts or motives, which ultimately results in personal gain or recognition of some kind. God is seeking those who delight in pleasing Him rather than themselves believers whose actions are a direct result of the motivations of a pure heart. Would you like to see your family blessed by God, and completely characterized by purity of heart, so that the Lord is honored and glorified in every thought, word and action? As we examine the perfect Word of God, we will look at ways your household can focus upon developing pure hearts, and make clear the blessing of the promised reward seeing God. The Father has work for His people to doand the pure in heart will be the ones to truly grasp the depth of His desires.

We must understand the significance of our hearts to God. The condition of our hearts is of primary importance to the Lord: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23). In Biblical terms, the heart is considered to be the center of our very being. It includes our minds, our will and our emotions. It is everything that makes us who we are! So, when Jesus stated, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God," I believe He means that we must allow Him full access to everything that we are, so that He can clean and purify us from the inside out. Only then will we have the ability to see what God is doing around us, and yield ourselves to be used for His glory.

Hearts that are impure with the burden and consequences of sin are not yet free to see God. Those with impure thoughts or motives are capable of carrying out acts of godliness however, they will not be blessed by God until their actions are done to please Him instead of themselves. Here are some action points for your family to study and put into practice as you seek to understand how God looks at our hearts:

Ask your children, "When you want to know what someone is like, what is the best way to find out? Can you tell a lot about a person by the way he or she looks?" After you get their responses, read this passage together: "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7b). Ask, "How do you look at someones heart?" Hint: Remember that our hearts include our minds, our wills and our emotions.

Ask each family member to picture the condition of his heart at the moment. You may wish to have them draw a heart. Ask them to color in the heart with the amount of space that is not pure and leave white space for the amount they feel is already pure. Tell them to be very honest, and that they wont have to show their picture to anyone else unless they wish to. Each member of your family will have a powerful picture of where he or she feels his or her heart is in terms of becoming pure before God. Tell them that as they grow in purity, they will want to draw new pictures, with a goal of having a completely pure heart.

Now pray together, asking the Father to give you hearts that are pure. Psalm 51:10 is a wonderful prayer: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Explain that in this prayer, you are asking God to create a brand new heart, which only He can do. He has done this for us through Jesus. When our sins have been forgiven, we can have clean hands and pure hearts. "Who can say, I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin" (Proverbs 20:9)? God cannot accomplish His will through dirty, impure vessels. He can always work through us when we are weak or damagedbut not when we are polluted by the impurities caused by sin.

Read this passage together: "Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob" (Psalm 24:3-6).

Talk about this passage together. Ask your family, "What does it mean to lift up your soul to an idol? Discuss some of the idols that may be in your livesor even in your home. Examples may be TV, computers, video games, work, sports, etc. Ask, "What does it mean to swear by what is false?" Talk about some of the lies that our culture tries to make us believe are true. This is a good time to talk about sin issues and how sin can keep us from having pure hearts. Be sure to share with your family the importance of dealing with sin through confession and repentance.

Discuss how the passage says that those who have a pure heart will receive a blessing from the Lord, just as it says in Matthew 5:8. Talk about what it means to be a generation of those who seek the face of God with pure hearts. Ask, "How do you seek the face of God?" Discuss how this means that we are to be faithful in prayer. Lead your family in prayer: "Father, we want to be the generation You are talking about the one that seeks Your face with pure hearts. Show us how to make our hearts pure."

We must understand the significance of seeking the Lord with pure hearts. We read in Psalm 24:6 that the generation that seeks God with pure hearts will receive blessing from Him. The Lord has plans for us to worship and serve Him that we can only know through the intimate connection of prayer from hearts that are pure.

Read this passage together as a family: "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22). Ask, "What are the evil desires of youth? After your family has an opportunity to respond, talk about how the evil desires can be overcome. Discuss how those who have pure hearts will flee from the evil desires and go after righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Remind them that a pure heart includes their attitudes and motives. Even if they do good things for the wrong reasons, the Lord will know: "and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts" (1 Chronicles 28:9).

Ask each family member to share one thing that he or she has done that was good, but was done with the wrong motive (example: making the bed of a sibling to get that brother or sister to give you something you want. Explain how the action might have been good, but it wasnt done to please God, but for selfish gain). Prayer: Ask each family member to reveal at least one thing that needs to be overcome so that he or she can seek the Lord in prayer with a pure heart. Pray for one another to be able to conquer these difficulties.

We must understand the significance of seeing God. When our minds, mouths, actions, motives, etc. are purified, God promises a blessingthat we will see God. All of us, as Christians, want to see where God is going and what He is doing. Its just a natural desire because we know He holds us, our families, and the circumstances of our lives in the palm of His hand. God has plans and purposes that are known only to Him because they are too amazing and too big for us to comprehend: "Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty" (Job 11:7)?

Sometimes, however, He chooses to reveal certain things to us so that we can learn how to live lives that are pleasing to Him: "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29). After the Father has created new, purified hearts in us, He will allow us to see more of what He is up to, and show us how we can be a part of what He is doing. How can anything be more exciting than this? If we truly want to see God working all around uswe must first yield our hearts to His molding process. Such a process is only possible when we are willing. God cannot purify hearts that are not seeking to be cleansed. It is important to teach our families not to miss the fullness of the opportunities God lays before us and to see Him working around us because we cant or wont allow the process of purification to take place.

Our gracious Father has wonderful plans for us: "But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations" (Psalm 33:11). What are the purposes of His heart that involve us, our children, and our childrens children? I believe His intentions for us are clearly revealed in Jeremiah 29:11-13: "For I know the plans I have for youplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."

Ask your family what they think it means to "see" God. After everyone shares, see if anyone has mentioned seeing what God is doing around them, instead of what God may "look" like. Explain that we cannot physically "see" God because He is too amazing to look atand that we will not have that opportunity this side of heaven.

Ask your family why it would be a blessing to "see" God. What do they think they would do differently if they could see Him? Would they want to do what He is doing? Would they spend more time worshiping Him? Talk about what your responses would be with this blessed access to God.

Here are some additional passages to read, study and pray through as your family seeks to become pure in heart:

1 Thessalonians 2:4 "We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts."

Proverbs 22:11 "He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend."

1 Timothy 1:5 "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

As we seek to please the heart of the Father, we need to be a people concerned about the condition of our hearts. The promised blessing after we have allowed the Lord to clean up our inside world, is that He will begin to allow us to see Him working in our outside world. Make this passage from Psalm 139:23-24 be a daily prayer for your family: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."