To See God

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

— Matthew 5:8

Some have called the concept of seeing God “the brightest star in the Beatitudes’ constellation.” For ages, Christians have longed to see God. The mystics of the Middle Ages rejoiced in the concept of seeing God, calling it the “Beatific Vision.” This vision was the great quest of theology and even the quest of science as originally constructed—through the examination of the cosmos, humans hoped to more clearly see the Creator.

But Scripture explicitly states that no human can see God directly and live. Yet many still seek to do so. Philip the Apostle said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Even pagan princes have sought to see God. In the ancient Roman Empire, Trajan said to a believer in the true God, “I understand that you believe your God is everywhere . . . I should very much like to see Him.” The believer responded, “I am afraid, sire, that no mortal eye can look upon His glory.” Nonetheless, the king commanded the believer to show him God. The believer suggested to the king that he first look at God’s ambassadors before he look God in the face. With that, the believer led the king outside on a bright, dazzling day and told the king to look at the sun. The king responded, “I cannot, for the light dazzles my eyes!” The believer then explained that if the king could not look at a mere ambassador that carries a message of God’s creation, how could he possibly look into the face of God Himself?

We cannot see God with our limited human eyes. But we can see Him with our souls, experiencing His joy, His peace, and His serenity. I hope that you have the blessing of seeing God this way as you foster a pure heart.

“Jesus, the very thought of Thee, with sweetness fills my breast,
but even more Thy face to see and in Thy presence rest.”
St. Bernard Of Clairvaux