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no. 42


How to Pray with the Heart
part ten

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 will be a regular column in each on-line issue. 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 tenth column, his fifth in the DAILY CATHOLIC he concludes his theme of the Journey from the Head to the Heart before beginning helpful directives that help us pray with the heart.    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
Part Ten: The Journey from the Head to the Heart
      In helping us pray more with the heart, one directive can be given in this one: connect each day of the week with a genuine and healthy heart activity. What I mean is this: let Mondays be BELIEVING days (Faith), Tuesdays - TRUSTING days, (Hope) Wednesdays - LOVING days (Charity), Thursdays - OBEDIENCE days, Fridays - FORGIVING days, Saturdays - THANKING days, and Sundays as PRAISING days. If, on each of these days, we could posit the corresponding heart activity, and at the same time cut down on our mental intake, we could keep ourselves in balance. If we follow out this simple directive for a period of time, let's say, two months, we could eventually live in the heart. All of the above heart activities are wholesome and very dear to the Lord.

     The mind is not to be belittled. As was said, it is a marvelous invention on the part of God. It is only that we must make use of it as God intended. Putting it into somewhat of a parallel; speaking of the automobile, the mind is the steering apparatus, the heart is the motor. Both are needed and helpful. If we choose to live in the heart, we would find time that we would have a different type of life. We would have believing thoughts, trusting thoughts, loving thoughts, obedient thoughts, loving thoughts, obedient thoughts, forgiving thoughts, grateful thoughts, and praising thoughts. Not a bad kind of of a life to lead. It is the life that Jesus led.

     The journey from the head to the heart is not an easy one. Our God never promised us an easy life. This journey is one that our God wishes each one of us to make. He is and will continue to be a constant Helper to each one of us every minute of the day, but He will not force His help upon us. He gives us the Holy Spirit, the Church, Scripture, the Sacraments, the Holy Father to help us along. Once we decide to make use of the helps given to each one of us along the way, we will find it quite easy to live in the heart, and what is so helpful - once living in the heart, we will find it easy enough to pray with the heart, and praying with the heart, we will find a peace and joy within our hearts that the world cannot give.

     Next week, as we continue in Advent, I will layout ways to better pray with the heart where that true peace can only be found.

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.

December 1, 1997     volume 8, no. 42
Father Stephen Valenta Column

December 1997