HEARTS TO HEART TALK

How to Pray with the Heart
column twenty-six

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 continues his series on Reconciliation with God, with ourselves, and with our neighbor, and how we are so often in the mind that the heart cannot forgive - either ourselves or others, and thus we rationalize and hold grudges.    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-Six: Reconciliation

      Reconciliation is attained when there is an act of forgiveness on the part of the one hurt, and the acceptance of forgiveness on the part of one having done the hurting. For true reconciliation to be accomplished, one must forgive with oneís whole heart as well as accepting forgiveness from oneís whole heart. True reconciliation cannot be achieved if one says, "I forgive you, but I will never forget what you did to me." Our forgiveness or accepting forgiveness must be patterned after Godís. He never remembers our hurts after He has forgiven us. It can be noted that in Godís case, He never has to accept forgiveness from us because it is against His very nature to hurt anyone.

      The price of reconciliation is very high. It needs that all pride must be squeezed out of each heart. No reconciliation is possible when one refuses to find guilt in oneís behavior. In todayís world when there is the craze to rationalize in order to justify oneself for any and every action, reconciliation is not even sought after. Anger and hatred surface as a result. It is no wonder that we have families and nations torn apart. Prayer with the heart is a must! Without it, no one can find humility enough to apologize and ask for forgiveness either from God, from neighbor, or even from self. Special graces are needed from God for reconciliation, graces which cannot be received unless we have a heart to Heart relationship with Him. Yes, the price of reconciliation is very high, but we only get what we pay for. If we wish to live a life of peace and joy, the highest quality of life known to God and man, we must be ready to humble ourselves before God and our fellowman at any price. Reconciliation is that experience of heart which the world today needs more than ever!

      Those of us of the Fold, those of us who claim to be Maryís children, have every grace available to us, most certainly, the grace of total reconciliation. How Our Lady pleads for reconciliationís amongst all of Her children. It is no wonder that we hear of her apparitions beginning to come to an end. There is nothing else She can do. She has most assuredly outdone Herself in our day. Let us all fulfill what She is asking and be reconciled with one another.

In my next installment, I will talk about Zero Resistance, Zero Ego Drive.

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          March 30, 1998