By Sister Marianne Ferguson OSF
Jesus says that the motivations for our speech and actions flows out of the heart. The Purity of Heart that Jesus mentions in the Beatitudes relates to sincerity or to the consistency between our intentions and our actions. It is easy to profess very noble intentions, but then perform the good action for appearances or to impress others. Here’s an example: a Politician was running for reelection many years ago. Every two years he would come to mass and offer to take up the collection. During a class I was teaching on sincerity, I asked my students at Buffalo State College to give me an example of doing the right thing for the wrong reason. He said, “going to church to meet girls.”
We can ask the Spirit for help in determining how pure are our own efforts to do good for others. What are our own unconscious motives that might make us look good? We can ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us through the gift of self- knowledge. We can assume that most of our actions are propelled by mixed motives, but through prayer, we might learn which motives predominate. Virtue might be its own reward, yet we are entitled to enjoy satisfaction and joy from our actions that are aimed for the good of others. The challenge is to see that our intentions and actions are consistent with each other so we can truly be the pure in heart.