How to Pray with the Heart
column twenty-seven

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 twenty-sixth column, his nineteenth in the Daily CATHOLIC he he begins a series on Zero Resistance, Zero Ego Drive in focusing on 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.

How to Pray with the Heart

Column Twenty-Seven: Zero Resistance, Zero Ego Drive

      Suppose Our Lady would appear to you and, looking square into your eyes would ask, "Why are you resisting me?" Suppose that while she was talking to you, you spotted Jesus behind and a bit to the left of her, and with His eyes, you heard Him asking you the same question. The, suppose that now you were all shook up and lo and behold the Holy Spirit would interiorly touch the depth of your soul with that very same question, "Why are you resisting Me?"

      To all of the above, after you got over being nervous, you, with a quiver in your voice, would respond, "I didnít know that I was." Each of Them in Their Own way would let you know deep inside that they understood.

      Nothing in all of Godís terrestrial creation resists Him, except humans. Nothing in all of Godís terrestrial creation is able to say "No" to God. Only man. God knew that this would be the case much before He created human beings and yet, He, despite this knowledge went right along and created them nonetheless. This is the price that Our Father Creator chose to pay. He could have created human beings who would always say "Yes" to whatever He wanted, but then they could not express love and give Him free service. The fact that He chose to make mankind free, that is, endowed with a free will, which free will could choose to resist Him, gives indication of how much value He put onto a free and loving act of obedience.

      What is awesome and quite frightening is the fact that even if God knew beforehand that men would resist Him and say "No" to Him at any given time within the span of their life, He still chose to create them. What is even more awesome and more frightening is the fact that He has created billions upon billions of human beings despite the fact that He knew from all eternity that their resistance to His Will and a continuous "No" to Him during their lifetime, would ultimately cause them to live for an eternity without Him, without the joy of ever seeing Him "face to Face" and loving Him "heart to Heart."

      What all this means on a practical level is that each of us has the distinct responsibility to make decisions upon decisions, not to resist Our Maker and conversely to make a decision upon decisions to do His Will on a day to day, on a moment to moment basis. Now, who of us can do this? I know that I canít. I know that I havenít. I know that I wonít. The very thought that I have given resistance to my loving Father, and what is worse, that till the day I die, I am capable of giving Him resistance, is saddening and when this thought comes forth from the heart, it is enough to bring me to tears.

      In my next installment, I will continue on this talk about Zero Resistance, Zero Ego Drive with some introspective thoughts.

To review Father Valenta's previous columns in this series, go to Archives beginning with the August 18, 1997 issue of A CALL TO PEACE: volume 8, no. 16.

Daily CATHOLIC          April 6, 1998