DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN-MON     May 25, 1998     vol. 9, no. 100


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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 begins a 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.


          There is so much confusion all around. Certainly, it is found in all of the world, but one would never expect to find it within the Catholic Church. In our formation, we learned that we could find the Church that Jesus established when He was on earth by the four marks, or qualities, that His Church and only His Church, was to have, namely, unity, holiness, universality and apostolicity. We learned, too, that the only church in existence that has all these marks is the Roman Catholic Church. Each of these marks were explained at length to give each one of us the opportunity to go through them apply them to existing churches, and, on our own, to find THAT church which Jesus founded. On our own, we found it to be the Church to which we had the blessing to belong, the Roman Catholic Church. Now, it seems that the confusion within the Church takes away from its unity.

          The confusion within the Catholic Church was not always there, at least for those of us who carried out its precepts faithfully, and found it to be a haven of peace, joy, security, and strength. Others may have been effected by confusion, but it was nothing that we, of the faithful, even gave a thought to. It must be stated that the mark of unity is in no way threatened by confusion. The Church still teaches a oneness of truth; there is still a oneness in leadership. This confusion has a source outside of the internal fabric of the Church. The Church is still One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic, and will be so till the end of time.

          Today, it is evident that something has happened along the way to unsettle those of us who religiously held onto every precept given to us by our bishop, pastor, and the sisters. Confusion seemed to enter into the minds of the faithful after Vatican II. Why should anything like that be? The Council was convoked by the saintly Pope John XXIII, seen to its happy conclusion, and promulgated by Pope Paul VI. It was a Council, as was every Council in the history of the Church, enlightened, inspired, and guided by the Holy Spirit. As such, it proposed nothing but that which was true, and that which was to bring to the faithful a solid spiritual base from which to enter into a world beset by confusion, plagued by every sort of error and moral aberration.

          The one, true Church of Jesus was now to launch out into the waters of humanism, materialism, paganism, atheism, all fostered by the worldly, and enter into an exciting new evangelization. It was to go out into the secular world, to renew all things in Christ, and with the Holy Spirit reigning within it, and with Mary, His Spouse, declared to be the Mother of the Church, to renew not only the Church, but the entire face of the earth.

          What has surfaced now is that the implementation of some of the decrees of the Council fell into the hands of its enemies and, instead of the Church entering into the secular world to do its best, the secular world entered into the Church to do its worst.

          Jesus, while on earth, spoke words which will give light to the above. I quote the passages to bring forth immediate clarity.

          "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?' He answered, 'an enemy has done this.' His slaves said to him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' He replied, 'No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest, then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn'" (Matthew 13: 24-30).

          "His disciples approached Him and said, 'Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.' He said in reply, 'He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the END OF THE AGE, (author's emphasis) and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send His angels and they will collect out of His kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear" (Matthew 13: 36-43).

          Surely the above, in part, could fit into the entire history of the Church, nonetheless, Jesus made reference to the END OF THE AGE. Making every effort to read the signs of the times as Jesus, Himself, had encouraged, in fact, in a way, commanded us, we have many evidences that we presently are in that frame of time. Jesus makes it clear as to what has happened in the Church. In the next installment we shall continue in this same vein and research what has and is happening.

May 25, 1998       volume 9, no. 100
HEARTS TO HEART TALK by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.


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