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 column today in the DAILY CATHOLIC he continues 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-Eight: Zero Resistance, Zero Ego Drive

      I would like t take time to do a bit of introspecting. Perhaps you may want to do the same. Perhaps too we can do it together. Just what is it within you and me that would make us bold enough to choose to resist a loving and concerned Father, and/or even to dare to say "No" to Him to things that He asks of us? What is it with us that we would choose to live a life without Him? Does this sound too harsh to you? Maybe you would like to back off and let me do my own introspecting. On the other hand, harsh as it is, we would both have to admit that as long as we belong to the human race, such action is possible to us and to us all.

      As members of one large family, we are al composed of body and soul, all of us are striving for self-realization, all of us are darkened in mind and weakened in heat through the fall of our first parents. Each one of us, however, has a mind of our own and the freedom to follow a path in life which we ourselves make. Though there are many qualities of body and soul which are the same in all of us, there are qualities in MY body and in MY soul which cause ME to individuate myself from eveyone else and choose not only to want to go my way through life, but actually cause me to break away from all others and go it alone.

      The innate desire for independence and resistance seem to go hand in hand. If each of us would recall our earliest days in life, we would have to admit that anytime we got into a scrap with parents or with our peers, it was because we wanted what WE wanted, we wanted to do what WE wanted to do. Parents at times asked for that which we were not willing to give; they were requiring of us that to which we did not wish to bend. It was the same with our peers; we would choose not to march to their drum beat if we had a drum beat of our own. We found early in life that our desire for independence caused us to resist the wishes and the ways of others.

      You have probably noticed that our generation, or age is one of extreme individualism. What does that mean? In our day, especially in our western culture, what seems to have been done by a super human evil force, the cohesive walls of family, community and even nations, have crumbled. In all facets of our culture, whether it be in art, in business, in politics, in religion, a dissolving of what kept some type of unity in all of these, has taken place. It does not seem that ever in all of history has there been such a violent bent to self-worship. In our day not only is resistance directed towards any and every authority, but individuals resisting individuals to the degree that even the natural bonds set up by the Creator are melting away. I think that this is the very thing that Jesus was pointing out when He said "...father against son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother..." (Luke 12:53). Nor does the dissolving end here. Individuals are breaking apart from within themselves, the body against the spirit, the mind against the will, the emotions against the mind and heart, etc.

      In my next installment, I will continue on this talk about Zero Resistance, Zero Ego Drive bringing you more 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 12-14, 1998