“This is the end of our love, an end by which we are not consumed but perfected”

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“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” This is the end of our love, an end by which we are not consumed but perfected. Food is finished when it is eaten, a garment when it is woven. Both the one and the other have an end, but the end of the one is consumption; the end of the other is perfection. Whatever we do now, whatever good deeds we perform, whatever we strive for, whatever praiseworthy object we long for, whatever we blamelessly desire, we shall need no more when we come to the vision of God. What is there to seek for when God is present? What will suffice if God does not?
 
We want to see God, we strive to see him, we long to see him. Who does not? But notice what scripture says: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Provide yourself with that by which you may see him; for, to give a physical example, what use would longing to see a sunrise be if you were half blind?

 If the eye is healthy that light will bring joy: if the eye is unhealthy that light will be a torment. You will not be permitted to see with an impure heart what can be seen only with a pure heart. Far from seeing you will be repelled, driven away. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” How often already has the Evangelist mentioned the blessed, the reason for their blessedness, their works, their services, their merits, their rewards! But nowhere does he say that “they shall see God.”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Of none of these is it said that they shall see God. It is when we come to the pure in heart that the vision of God is promised. This is because it is the heart that has eyes capable of seeing God. To these eyes the apostle Paul refers when he says: “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened.”
 
At present, as becomes their infirmity, these eyes are enlightened by faith: hereafter, as will become their strength, they will be enlightened by sight. “As long as we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord, for we walk by faith and not by sight.” While we are in this state of faith, what is said of us? “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face.”

St Augustine of Hippo

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One Response to “This is the end of our love, an end by which we are not consumed but perfected”

  1. There is this other blogger I follow who posted a couple videos from Christopher Duffley. He is a kid who has been blind since infancy and in one of the videos she posted on her blog, he is citing the second to last verse St Augustine quotes here. Duffley might not be able to physically see but he has been blessed with the ability to see with his heart a lot better than some of us can.

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