DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     May 18, 1998     vol. 9, no. 96


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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 Shortcuts to the Heart 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.


          As a person, having at my disposal the power to make decisions, I will be taught by the Spirit to govern my mental intake, to direct my mind to take in only that matter which will help me to enhance my life and bring it into a conformity with that life which God planned for me even before He made me. I will not allow my mind to wallow in bits of knowledge, the knowledge of facts which are of no eternal consequence. I will get to want to know only that which God, He Who owns me, wants me to know.

          The second part of our simple formula, that is, the revving up of heart activity, addresses itself to that part of the soul which is known as the WILL. As human beings, we are composed of the body and the soul. The body works through its five senses, the soul works through the mind and the will. Underlying all of this is the PERSON of me, the I of me, wherein I am in charge of making use of the body with its senses as also of the soul with its two faculties, the mind and the will. It is this will which we speak of as the heart. Ordinarily it would be more correct too speak of the brain and the heart which physical parts are the channels through which the mind and will of the soul operate. When we speak of increasing heart activity, we make reference to performing acts of the will.

          There are certain acts of the will which are merely human; there are other acts which are under the influence of the Holy Spirit. On the ordinary human level, we make use of the will in putting forth power into life, are determined to do something, to make decisions on a purely human level, and loving on the human level. Although it is of some value to live in the heart on a merely human level, this is not where the will is at its best. It is at its best when it is under the influence of the Holy Spirit living and operating with it. Some of these acts are: believing in, trusting in, and loving God, obeying Him, thanking Him, accepting His forgiveness and forgiving our fellowmen, praising Him, giving Him reverence, and the like.

          To remember that when we were baptized the Holy Spirit took up His bode within us is a very good thing. We cannot experience the full impact of the Spirit unless and until we are living in the heart, or, to put it more accurately, living in a way that the will plays an essential part in our daily life. The Holy Spirit can be considered as the Soul of our soul and the Heart of our heart. As the Spirit of Love, He shares with us His Life and elevates us to the sharing of His Life.

          The more we are able to put ourselves under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the more frequent and of a higher quality are our will or "heart" acts. It is this realization, namely, that the Holy Spirit takes the initiative within us that makes it possible for us very easily and quickly to live in the heart.

          Once I SLOW DOWN, I can take charge of my mind, I can limit its intake and be concerned with the quality of my thoughts. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I can find Him living within my heart, I can welcome Him, and allow Him to do for me whatever He knows best to do for my best well being. He will carry on a continuous activity, prompting me in acts of faith, trust, love, obedience, gratitude, forgiveness, reverence and the like. Engaging in this type of life, I will find a peace that the world cannot give. I will find joy. I will find and enjoy a living relationship with Life itself. This all becomes possible when I take the time to just SLOW DOWN!

May 18, 1998       volume 9, no. 96
HEARTS TO HEART TALK by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.


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