DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     October 5, 1998     vol. 9, no. 194


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 completes a short series on surrendering our will to God's Will. It is not as easy as it may sound, but with prayer and letting our thoughts be given to Him, we can more readily accomplish this goal.    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.

Our thrust into life is not to be with Thought, but with Surrender part two

          Jesus came into the world to save mankind. He is the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Savior. Just what does that mean? If His coming was to re-do what Adam and Eve had undone, He came to lead mankind back into the heart, back into obedience. Obedience to our God is the same as being surrendered to Him, to His Will. The whole thrust of Jesus' Life was to be surrendered to the will of His Father. "My food is to do the will of Him Who send Me." John 4:34. In other words, this is what Jesus lived on. He was always SURRENDERED to the Will of His Father.

          This, then, is to be our life if we are to be followers of Jesus. This hopefully we are. It means, then, that if we live in THOUGHT, we have a journey to make, from thought to SURRENDER, to a life of obedience to the Will of the Father. We, as Christians, are to unite ourselves to the SURRENDERED state of Jesus, spending our time and energies to leave a life of THOUGHT and gradually take on a life of SURRENDER so that in time and with the help of grace, we can become true followers of Jesus when we follow through on His command that we are to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind and our whole strength. What is love other than the gift of one'' self to the beloved. What am I being asked to do, but to give of my self in total SURRENDER to Jesus, Who in turn, will bring me in that state to the Father.

          We are composed of body and soul. It means that there will be no surrender of body until and unless there is first the surrender of the spirit. We have been put on this earth to "know, love and SERVE God, and so to be happy with Him forever in heaven." Serving is of the heart, but knowing WHO to serve, is of the mind. Likewise, we cannot expect to serve God until we are able to love Him; we are not able to love Him until we know Him. The mind, therefore is to be a servant of the will, it is to present to the will, the One Who it is to love and serve.

          Total surrender to the Will of God is that which each one of us is to work towards. It does not come right away; it has to be worked on. It comes by way of a process. Nonetheless, in time, to those of good will, a life of total and loving surrender to the Will of God is possible and should become desirable. Impossible, no; difficult, yes. It is the ultimate challenge of life, to bring the mind under the discipline of the will and to bring the will under the Will of the Father. The more often we elicit individual acts of obedience to God, the quicker will we be able to live by the "food" that Jesus lived by.

          The fact that the world is kept in thought, stimulated to keep the mind active all the time, making it so that we keep ourselves in thought and not allow ourselves to plunge into will, thus into obedience, is something that we can blame Satan for. It is he who stands to gain most if we keep ourselves in thought and shy away from surrender. Anytime, therefore, we can make an act of obedience to God, as small an act as it may be, we thwart the ploys of Satan, and put ourselves into the court of Jesus, of Our Lady, and ultimately be of help to them both to put Satan under the heel of Jesus, under the heel of Mary.

October 5, 1998       volume 9, no. 194
HEARTS TO HEART TALK by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.


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