DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     October 19, 1998     vol. 9, no. 204

HEARTS TO HEART TALK

Weekly Column by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.

    INTRODUCTION
          "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 a short series on reconciliation and what forgiving and asking forgiveness truly mean. He details the natures of man and how the angels, once they cross the line, cannot cross back over whereas man can through the goodness and mercy of the Almighty.    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.

RECONCILIATION - a price to pay! part two

          There can be no true love expressed by anyone of us unless and until our heart is reconciled with God, our neighbor and ourself. The Commandments are, first, that we love God with our whole being and, secondly, that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. True love and reconciliation go hand in hand. It all comes down to this: in order to fulfill the law of love, we must be reconciled first with God, secondly, with our neighbor and thirdly, with ourselves.

          It should be noted, however, that the order need not always and necessarily be as stated. Reconciliation with self may in instances be necessary before one can be reconciled with neighbor, and reconcilation with neighbor may come as a preparation to be reconciled with God. Grace works at times mysteriously through any given individual, so that ultimately reconciliation in whatever order, ends up so that every single person who desires it, may ultimately live in total reconciliation. Reconciliation becomes necessary when one realizes that he/she has caused hurt to some person. This can be the Person of God, the person of neighbor, or the person of self. There is no need to seek reconciliation with non-persons. Likewise, there is no need to see reconciliation until and unless we realize that we have caused hurt. It is spiritually helpful and praiseworthy when one is not conscious of hurting anyone, yet would find it in one's heart to say, "If I had hurt anyone without my knowledge, I am sorry and would wish to be reconciled."

          Reconciliation is not possible unless there is a sincere regret within one's heart that he/she had caused hurt. It is an act of charity to be able to go to someone and say, "You may not realize it, but you have hurt me." This helps both parties, the one who unknowingly has hurt, and the one hurt. If one has been hurt and keeps it hidden and/or suppressed, it does not contribute to one's peace of soul. If one, not realizing that he or she has caused hurt, finds out, the opportunity to ask for forgiveness is then given and peace can be brought between two people. It is a helpful practice to examine one's conscience daily in order to become aware of having offended someone. The conscience is God-given so that acting upon it one can better maintain within oneself a state of peace.

          In the next installment we will complete this short series, focusing on the fact that to seek reconciliation one must sincerely pray from and with the heart.


October 19, 1998       volume 9, no. 204
HEARTS TO HEART TALK by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.

DAILY CATHOLIC

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