DAILY CATHOLIC for February 16
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no. 33


How to Pray with the Heart
column twenty-one

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 twenty-first column, his fourteenth in the DAILY CATHOLIC he continues his series on Unity and how man puts too much emphasis on the mind and not enough on the heart which causes disunity and weakness for only in unity is there strength.    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
Unity can only come from and with the heart!
     The life of our Catholic faith is to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. If we wish to have unity in our own lives, we must be obedient to the Father as was Jesus, and being obedient to Jesus makes it possible for us to be obedient to the Father. It is in obedience that unity is found; it is in disobedience that division is found. It's as simple as that.

     Personally, what does this mean for each of us? With the help of grace it is vital that each of us strive to establish unity within ourselves. There is to be an internal order of things. The mind must be subject to the heart; the heart must be subject to the Divine Will.

     What does this mean to each one of us as children of the One Father? It means that as Jesus commanded, we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves, in fact, that we are to love our enemy even if our enemy does not love us.

     What does this mean to each of those consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? It means that each one must reach out to others by way of the heart. It means that if there is a wish to be effective in carrying out Our Lady's pleas, especially to help her to win her battle against satan, each of her little ones must be bonded to all others in love. Anytime the mind is allowed to divide members of her family, there is a tilt in favor of satan and our Heavenly Mother's position is weakened.

     It is sad that there are those of Mary's children who belittle each other, criticize each other, look down upon each other, mistrust each other, compete with each other, judge each other, snub each other, ridicule each other, hamper each other, slander each other, are hostile towards each other, treat each other with a lack of love and the litany goes on.

     In unity there is strength. There can be no strength if we do not live in our hearts. We know that all would go better and we would be of greater help to Mary if, as she asks of us, we would pray with the heart. We cannot however pray with the heart if we do not live IN the heart! We do not live in the heart if we do not do hearty things. If we wish to be a source of strength in Mary's cohort of little people, it must be that each of us must make a decision to be generous in doing hearty things for each other. Let's make Valentines Day every day! Not in the same manner as we're prone to celebrate such as this past weekend, but in God's Way for it is the Holy Spirit Who is the Chief Unifier! In addition to our consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, there is an additional need to enter into a consecration to the Holy Spirit. Mary, herself, extends an invitation to each of her children to lean more on her Spouse so that her Immaculate Heart may triumph sooner.

In my next installment I will begin to touch on listening to Jesus for when we do, we are listening to our heart.

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.

February 16, 1998     volume 9, no. 33
Father Stephen Valenta Column

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