The Beatific Vision

arcadia morning

An Arcadian Morning

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

Matthew 5:8

During the quiet hours of the morning, while reading a quality book and writing in my journal, a specific word continued to rise to the surface–blessed. I have not used that word much, but have noticed its increasing use in recent years–cashiers telling me to “have a blessed day,” strangers in parting conversation saying “be blessed,” etc. I have liked hearing that. This morning as the word rolled around in my consciousness, I decided to take my Greek New Testament off the shelf and translate the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. I fastened on verse 8 because of the connection of a pure heart with a beatific vision. Those with pure hearts are blessed because they see God.

I have no desire to restrict the quality of the above text, by wrapping it in some narrow creed. I did that for eleven years as a pastor, but no longer have a political agenda. In my former (intolerant) days, I would have scoffed at Jack Kerouac striving for a “pure heart” and a “beatific vision”, pointing out his alcoholism. I would have trashed Allen Ginsberg’s notion of “treasures in heaven”, pointing out his sexual orientation. Unfortunately, it took years for me to shed these layers of intolerance, but as they fell by the wayside, the power and beauty of language and ideas grew exponentially.

Growing older, I appreciate beauty more than I did when I was younger, and it seems to stand out in bolder relief for me in recent years, because of its stark contrast with the hate and negativity that abounds in our society. I choose to disconnect from the news, from habitual Internet browsing and much of social media because I grew weary of this popular frenzy years ago–it isn’t interesting. It never was. And it doesn’t improve our world. It certainly does not issue from a pure heart. I recall a verse from Proverbs 4:23–“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Light will not emanate from a heart of darkness.

There are paths in my daily routine that intersect with a vitriolic world, but I try my best to transcend that, and feel shamed every time I catch myself stepping into that cesspool. This may be an oversimplified analogy, but my recent reading of the life of Georgia O’Keeffe seems to reveal an artist who continually navigated that unstable path between a contentious Stieglitz Circle and her beloved Ghost Ranch. Once Alfred died, Georgia moved to New Mexico permanently, leaving Manhattan behind, no longer wishing to be embroiled in the art gallery/Wall Street nexus which seemed to bring continual turmoil, uncertainty and angst. She finally settled in her own Arcadia and let New Mexico embrace her spirit. Again, I could be distorting her story, but this is how I see it this morning.

I wish to start every day on the most positive note, and along with my friend and fellow blogger Wayne White (https://ramblingsofafarrier.com/), I wish for someone reading my blog to feel good about life and its possibilities, instead of anger and resentment.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Responses to “The Beatific Vision”

  1. Michael Richards (certainline) Says:

    A thoughtful and honest post. It’s often difficult to recognise past mistakes but this is very moving.

    Like

  2. David Slight Says:

    Nailed it with this one, Dave! I still get your blogs and read them religiously. I particularly enjoyed this musing as it most aptly applies to a current job move I am contemplating. Just trying to follow peace!

    “Blessings” my friend! David Slight

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      Thanks for reading still, Dave, after all these years! I’ll be interested in knowing how that “job move” played out. I still think of you, and wish you the best as you continue your explorations.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Xraypics Says:

    I have just read this to Heather. Both my wife and I, with intolerant religious upbringings, learned the same lessons in love, respect, and tolerance. As you say, it has taken years, and even now, I suspect that transformation is incomplete. But it has brought blessing, and a form of peace within ourselves. Your sermonette today encapsulates, and states our feelings far better than we could have done on our own. Thankyou for that.

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for that encouragement. I regret that religion was more of a scourge than a blessing in my past, and am grateful that I have this chance to experience it in a more positive light.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. alethakuschan Says:

    A beautiful meditation on gratitude — thank you for sharing it.

    Like

  5. Dian Darr Says:

    Wow! So often, I am led to read your blog especially when I need it! Your words really filled me with hope today. I was raised in such an open, tolerant home, that I was just wondering if people can change. Today, I had a brief encounter with a person from my past that had once said a horribly racist statement that I have never been able to forget. Now, years later, I was contemplating change and if it truly happens. Then, I found your blog and my answer was before me! I hope all will find the light that is now a part of you! Thank you, my dear friend!

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      I’m always happy, Dian, when I hear that what I share touches someone else. I’m haunted by this notion of whether or not we are able to change our ways as we continue to grow old. I hate feeling the regrets that I do about much of my past. But at the same time, recognizing those low points gives me hope, knowing that I’ve discerned what is better. And that means I can indeed do something about it as I continue receiving another chance to do it right.

      Like

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