1. Purity as the inverse of getting impure. Today’s consumer associates purity mostly with washing powder advertisements. Purity has become a generally available category that can be gained back quickly and cheaply in case we have lost it. However, we deal with remorse and self-cleaning a lot, even if we ignore doing so. (If you want to know more about this, please read the post here.) But sin-centric life is a dead end. Openness to right is a much stronger power than the avoidance of wrong.
2. Purity as cleanness leading to Totality. Sin cannot get close to the totality and purity of God’s Silence, since it perishes there. Thus purity is not the inverse of getting impure but the measure of the closeness to God. (If you want to know more about this, please read the post here.)
3. Purity as a source of love. Purity is the second stage after humility when the most intensive love of Totality start to shine in our souls and washes off everything that has accumulated there as the impurity of human life. Purity not only avoids sin but provides openness and radiates unrestricted love. Purity does not build walls but makes a community of us all – with the power of love. (If you want to know more about this, please read the post here.)
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1. Purity as the inverse of getting impure
Today’s consumer associates purity mostly with a washing powder advertisement. Purity has become a generally available category that can be gained back quickly and cheaply in case we have lost it. The idea of moral purity (that is often identified with refraining from sexual freedom) has been devaluated: in many cases it is considered as an unnecessary self-limitation or (even) as the "losers’ cowardice".
The "Do it yourself" installation of Eugeniusz Get-Stankiewicz is an amazingly condensed metaphor of the "we are able to do anything including the cleaning of ourselves" approach to life. Here comes the Web2.0 Christ. It is interactive, personalized and trendy. But with "making it ready" we do crucify the Savior ourselves. By this the gag becomes masterpiece having a weirdly deep sense. Are we sure that our 'washing powder tinkering' does lead us to cleanliness? Are not we just make our surroundings dirtier and dirtier just for gaining back our own supposed purity?
Awareness of impureness and remorse is very strongly affecting our consciousness and is deeply rooted in human soul. Numerous scientific papers have shown that a rather complex set of rules of self-deceit had been developed in people for getting rid of their sins. Three examples of these: we often consider sins as impossible situations in order to avoid thinking them over at all. We assume that the consequences of our unethical actions lapse on the shorter run and we also forget them sooner. Psychopathic individuals also show regret after their lies but this does not result in avoiding their next one. Let me end this list with two pieces of good news. Transparency is very much worth it: pieces of intimate information disclosed about ourselves are sources of joy in our lives. As an even more important finding: observing the rules is increased even by asking ourselves (or others) beforehand: are you sure that you consider this right?
We deal with remorse and self-cleaning a lot, even if we ignore doing so. But sin-centric life is a dead end. Who lives in the memories of his sins, recompensing and avoiding them, has locked himself in his own Ego and he thinks (admittedly or not) that purification from his sins is his own task – i.e. it his private matter. But the truth is that we cannot monopolize and cannot control Mercy. There is no 'self-mercy'. Sin can only be surpassed by Christ’s sacrifice, with God’s Mercy and Purity. As the Hungarian Lutheran priest, the late Sándor Ágoston said: "God’s love is not a railway station chocolate vending machine, where I throw a prayer at the top and – bang – I receive absolution at the bottom." Openness to right is a much stronger power than the avoidance of wrong.
2. Purity as cleanness leading to Totality
Sin cannot get close to the totality and purity of God’s Silence, since it perishes there. There was such a complete holiness in Christ, which could not be defeated by the sins which were taken from all of us by Him at the Cross. Thus in Christ’s body sin died (and dies in each minute again and again, since Christ's time is not a linear time, like ours, but a time, which fills Totality). Thus purity is not the inverse of getting impure but the measure of the closeness to Christ and God.
As Adam and Eve left the circle of God – their original purity became immediately lost. A lot of people interpret this story that God 'imprisons' us with orders, i.e. the 'responsible human action' should mean to set ourselves free. But gaining this 'freedom' is the very moment when man becomes imprisoned into his own Ego. We believe we became free but we locked ourselves into an unimaginably small prison – if we do not realize this situation, then forever. There is a way out from this self-trap: due to Christ’s sacrifice we can step out of our own egos, and we can get close to God and the Totality of purity. As Giovanni Vanucci phrased it at a spiritual retreat organized by Pope Francis for the Roman Curia in 2016: "Gospel is not about morals but about a moving deliverance."
Thus sin (also according to the original Greek word of the Lord's Prayer, ofeiléma) means debt that ties us to this world and does not let us be close to God. In the Lord's Prayer we ask for releasing this debt, the possibility to get closer to God. The lack of purity ties us here to the Earth. In the Hungarian version of the Holy Bible the word, which is used for the Pharisees’ sin, rapine (Matthew 23:25; Luke 11:39) is also meaning an especially sticky glue, which describes this mortal tie very aptly. Similarly, Saint Ignatius' phrase for the "inordinate attachment and inclination" (Spiritual Exercises, 16th Annotation) refers to the same withdrawing power. It is very important that when God releases our debts and forgives us, at the same time we are given two complementary elements of Mercy. Everyday thinking is concentrating to the feeling that God is 'not angry with us' for our sins but loves us. However, God’s love, because of Christ’s crucifixion, is an unconditional love. Thus it is a much more important element of the Mercy of forgiveness is that God makes us able to release our own debts, and librates us from insisting on the loads of life we carry. The acceptance of forgiveness is the real purification that brings us closer to God. (I wrote about forgiveness in more detail here.)
Péter Grendorf, my Lutheran pastor emphasized the homogeneity of the pure spirit and heart. Real purity is indeed such a purified status where the closeness of God exceeds all other aspects of life. A pure heart is the only one which really can see God since nothing obstructs its vision.
3. Purity as a source of love
"Man should be a mercy for everyone who turns to him.
Being a mercy is our most important life goal."
Purity is the second of Christ's virtues after humility that takes us closer to God. At the first stage, humility, we realize that there are not our Egos in the middle of the world but Totality, and we learn to break out from our Egos’ prisons. Purity is the second stage after humility when the most intensive love of Totality start to shine in our souls and washes off everything that has accumulated there as the impurity of human life. In gradually evolving purity Totality is becoming a more and more central category for the spirit (which reaches Totality in poorness as described in this essay). For the spirit living in purity, being together with Totality is becoming the most important, number one priority of life.
Purity not only avoids sin (because in the status of purity sin becomes impossible), but provides openness and radiates unrestricted love. We build such massive walls with our Egos and impurity which we then try to break down with a whole life’s work. Purity does not build walls but makes a community of us all – with the power of love. But it does even more than this: the openness and the transmission of universal love by those, who live in purity, serve the Glory of God and build the future of our world (about how and why the transmission of universal love and the Glory of God are related to each other I will try to summarize a few thoughts in my blog post on 8th June).