DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN-MON     June 1, 1998     vol. 9, no. 105


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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 concludes his series on Let us clutch to our Faith and move on in focusing on opening our hearts and abandoning our will totally to God's Will.    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.


          It would seem that each one of the faithful in our present condition must first identify himself/herself to establish within one's own heart as to whether he/she is a weed or a blade of wheat. The clearest distinction comes froth by attesting to myself that I am either indeed obedient to the Holy Father and the bishops faithful to him, or that I am knowingly following the drum beat of a leader not faithful to him. The distinction between the weed and the wheat will become even more manifest once the new Catechism and the recent encyclical, The Splendor of Truth, become available to the faithful, and both laity and clergy have an opportunity to study these and react to their content.

          There is still something else that Jesus said which should be seriously pondered: "...when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8) and, "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened." (Matthew 24: 21-22).

          What sort of father would the Heavenly Father be if He did not warn ahead of time those children of His who are the wheat, of what to expect of us who sincerely believe that we are in the END OF THE AGE and find ourselves confused at the presence of a weedy environment within His Son's Church? Whatever words Jesus spoke, came forth from the Father under the influence o the Spirit. Our Father in heaven is surely concerned for each one of the faithful as are also the Son and the Spirit, not leave unmentioned, the most esteemed Daughter, the Mother of Jesus, the Spouse of the Spirit, our Mother Mary.

          It is to the advantage of the enemy to have the faithful beset by confusion. It would be in this state that would make it difficult if not impossible for them to recognize the wolves in sheep's clothing, the hirelings, and the false prophets, the false christs.

          We have been gifted with the Faith. We are asked to live our Faith. Jesus often chided His disciples for their lack of faith. On the other hand, He praised those who manifested a strong faith. Jesus and Mary in our own day are making it so clear how important it is for each of us to maintain ourselves in faith. We are asked to pray that our faith within us be strengthened. Our Mother pleads that we pray with the heart so that our prayer would be a prayer of faith. We are asked by her to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance. It is the Holy Spirit Who gives the increase of faith when such an increase is sincerely requested.

          Our Faith teaches us the importance of obedience. Obedience can be genuine and complete only when we live a life fostered by a lively faith, a living faith, and a vibrant faith. The enemy is making every effort to get us out of the heart and into the head to introduce chances for confusion and a weakening of faith.

          In order to survive in faith, in order to remain faithful to Jesus and to His Visible Head on earth, it is imperative that we remove ourselves abruptly from all confusion, clutch to our faith and move on and not fall victim to the condition as did Lot's wife. We must surge ahead, giving loving service to the physically and spiritually needy, ever clinging to the Vine as we are buffeted by strong amoral winds, and put ourselves into the loving care of our Heavenly Father and envelop ourselves within the mantle of our Blessed Mother. Thus we could walk step by step, day by day, unafraid, enemies to the left and right of us, confidently making our way along the pat set out for us - the path which leads to salvation.

June 1, 1998       volume 9, no. 105
HEARTS TO HEART TALK by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.


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