DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     August 3, 1998     vol. 9, no. 150


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 his series on the craftiness of the the fallen angels and how they can deceive us all if we are not rooted in love, truth and goodness in the heart.    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.

The subtleties of satan part three

          One of the other subtleties of satan is that he so cleverly works things that it becomes part of the way we live in our day, to take life EASY. DON'T EXERT, is the order of the day. Well, you may say, what's so bad about that? When we don't exert, we do not have power to resist evil, nor do we have energy to do that which is virtuous. We become like strands of straw in a fast flowing river. When we do not put forth effort into life, we become victims of every force in life. Every fad, every promotion of the media governs our behavior. We do not have the energy to make decisions for ourselves. Because satan has taken the world to be his own, he governs it in the way that serves his purpose; he, together with the demons under his charge, men and women who have given themselves over to him.

          CONFUSE THEM! That is the order that satan gives to his legions. When the mind does not know what to do or what even to think, satan has us in the palm of his hand. We know what it feels like when we are driving along to a destination and we become confused because we either took a wrong turn or missed a road sign. Satan thrives on confusion. Hardly does our world today recognize the darkness it has been put into because of the manipulations of Satan in bringing mankind into a state of utter confusion.

          What gives him special jubilation is when he sees that he has succeeded in bringing confusion into Christ's Church. Through this, he has put a noose around the necks of the faithful, for in the state of confusion, they do nothing. Spiritual growth, evangelization, and the influence of the Holy Spirit are brought to a halt, or, to a very slow pace.

          Another subtlety Satan thrives on is the introduction of speed into our daily living. HURRY UP! The mind and the will cannot work well when there is the pressure brought on by our culture propelling it to speed everything up. Our way of life is a far cry from that of our grandparents. In years gone by, there was a more deliberated life. People were not so in a hurry and so could take more time to think more clearly and to do things better. It is an interesting point that, as we have with us fast foods, fast this and that, instant this and instant that, we still complain that we don't have time to do what is expected of us. "Hurry up and wait" comes to the foreground quite often. How does Satan gain in all of this? When we try to pray and when we try to serve God, it does not work when we do it in a hurry. The mind and especially the heart need to be in a peaceful state if they are to do their best in the service of their God. God is deprived of so much when we try to give to Him what is His in a hurry.

          The process of separating the faithful from their shepherd is also one of Satan's subtle ways in gaining control of human beings and revenging himself on God. He, amongst other means, uses the media to accomplish this. There is the dissecting of whatever comes out of the Vatican for the faithful. It is no business of the media, but the media makes it its business and makes it very difficult for the faithful to give respect and obedience to what the Holy Father as the Supreme Shepherd, wishes of his flock. There is so much of the priest bashing going on. Satan has a major part in this, and through it, prods people to lose reverence for their priests upon whom in so many ways they depend so much.

          There are many more subtleties, too many for us to go into now. From what has been already put forth, it is clear that satan is shrewd and cunning. He is pulling out all stops and making use of every one of his fallen angels, as also people in our midst into whom he has entered, to bring destruction to faith, to trust, to love, to obedience. We must be careful not to become obsessed by him or his ways, for then, we, too, play into his hands.

          To counter Satan's strategy of subtleties, we have the strategy of Our Blessed Mother Mary. We are told by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures that Mary's strategy will ultimately win out. This is indeed hopeful.

          Mary has been teaching us how to detect satan's subtleties and how to become victorious over satan. This will be treated in the next issue.

    NEXT WEEK: Part Four of the sublteties of satan

August 3, 1998       volume 9, no. 150
HEARTS TO HEART TALK by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.


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