DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     June 22, 1998     vol. 9, no. 120


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

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 begins a series on Meekness of Heart in honor of the Sacred Heart and the upcoming month of July - dedicated to the Precious Blood.    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.

Learn from Me for I am Meek and Humble of Heart part one

          "Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden light." Jesus' words in Matthew 11:29 offer us the opportunity to find true peace of soul in our imitation of Him. Nonetheless, this, too, is part of that narrow gate and few there are who find it, and even fewer who have the courage to go through it. Albeit, it is an offer, an invitation, a plea to imitate Him in this particular mode of His Life.

          There is, of course, an alternative to the above invitation and many there are who take it. It is to be brazen and proud of heart. These two qualities lead one to the hardness of heart which Jesus spoke of in St. Mark 16:14, "Afterward He appeared to the eleven as they sat at table; and He upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart." It would seem that it would follow that if one has not meekness, he finds himself in unbelief, and if there is no humility, there is hardness of heart.

          When in His life would you think that these qualities of meekness and humility shone the brightest in the life of Jesus? Was it when He stood before Pilate? When He was being scourged? When He hung pinned to the Cross? Perhaps in all of these, but I think these qualities stood out most as He spent the three hours beaten and broken, hanging naked and covered shame before the reviling crowd. It was an ugly scent and yet within that ugliness there came forth a beauty as no one had ever before or since witnessed. The King of Heaven and earth bridged earth with Heaven to accomplish the purpose for which He came among men. It was so very ugly in what mankind did to Him; it was very beautiful in what He did for mankind. It is the same ugliness and beauty, the same meekness and humility that have manifested themselves down through the centuries and are found in our midst today in the re-enactment of Calvary, in the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass.

          There is beauty in the fact that Jesus has made it possible for the faithful of all centuries to be able to have before their eyes and hearts the continuation of the sacrifice of the Cross. Though not actually present at the scene of the sacrificial crucifixion, through receiving the benefits thereof, the faithful of every age can participate actively in the sacrificial action as confected by Jesus at the Last Supper. The fruits of Christ's suffering and death flow out to the faithful, the fruits merited for them at Calvary. Through the separate consecration of the bread and wine and the fact of the transubstantiation, a real sacrifice takes place each time the Mass is celebrated. At each Mass, Jesus gives Himself again to the Father in our behalf, winning for us a flood of graces and an extended period of mercy. The faithful, as living members of the Mystical Body of Christ, together with its Head, Jesus, working through the priest at the time of the Consecration, actively participate in a mystical, but real sacrificial act of worship, an act duly recognized and readily accepted as such by the Father. Jesus, meekly and humbly makes use of a mere human being, one set apart and anointed, empowering him to bring the sacrifice about in His stead.

    Next installment: Backed by Canon Law

June 22, 1998       volume 9, no. 120
HEARTS TO HEART TALK by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.


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