DAILY CATHOLIC     MON-TUES     December 7-8, 1998     vol. 9, no. 237


Weekly Column by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.

          "Hearts-to-heart Talk" is a compendium of talks & writings on "How to Pray with the Heart" by the popular Franciscan from upstate New York - Father Stephen Valenta, O.F.M. Conv. and is a regular column each week on Mondays. This quiet, sincere priest, with over 45 years in pastoral care and in the radio/television ministry, will touch your heart as he pinpoints the "how to's" of praying with and from the heart. In his column today in the DAILY CATHOLIC he continues a crucial series on the foundation of his talks - "How to pray with the HEART" which will lead up to Christmas and properly prepare us during Advent.    Fr. Stephen's column along with columns by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto and Father John H. Hampsch, C.M.F. promise simple, but effective and vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can reach Fr. Valenta at Hearts to heart Center at P.O. Box 212, Rensselaer, New York, 12144 or you can reach him at (518) 434-1723.

How to Pray with the Heart part three

          The fact that I am a person gives me dignity. When God created me, He created me according to His image and likeness. God is a Person; so am I. God is a Spirit; I have a spirit which is my soul. It is in my soul that I have a likeness to God. Faith tells me that, as a person, I have more value before God than all of the other creatures on earth. This indeed gives me importance. This means, too, that as a person, I can have a person to Person conversation with God.

          What is so captivating is that, because God made me unique, meaning that I was not made by mass production, there is no other person like me in all the world. In fact, through the power of God, I have been made in such a way that there has never been anyone just like me in all of history and that there will never be anyone just like me of all the persons that God will still create in the future. Knowing this makes it possible for me never to be burdened by pain that usually comes when I compare myself with any other person. It is not ever necessary for me to do this, in fact to engage in such a practice is a waste of time. God put into me a potential to flower in a way that He had Himself already pre-ordained at the time when He conceived of me.

          Because of the Infinite Dignity of Him Who created and creates every single person, and because each person is created to God's image and likeness, no one needs to look outside of him or herself to establish one's own dignity and importance. It is there from the first moment of every single person's conception. It can thus be easier understood why even after the fall of our first parents, the Lord God went so far as to send His Own Son into the world, to win back for Himself what was snatched from Him by satan even at the excruciating expense of the horrible suffering and painful death of His Incarnate Son. What value must each person have to have necessitated putting His Only-Begotten Son through such an ordeal!

          In the next installment I shall continue in this same vein, treating dignity.

December 7-8, 1998       volume 9, no. 237
HEARTS TO HEART TALK by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.


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