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no. 22


How to Pray with the Heart
part 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 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 sixth column, his first in the DAILY CATHOLIC he continues to explains what it means to a person and the distractions that steer us away from who we really are.    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 Six: The Journey from the Head to the Heart
      In the past installments we have established that God has blessed each one of us with personhood. This means that each one of us, being made to the image and likeness of God, has been endowed with a soul with which we are capable of thought and of performing ordinary acts of life with freedom. The mind (intellect) makes it possible for us to fulfill one of the purposes of life as given to us by our Creator, namely, to know God. With the heart (will) we are able to fulfill the ultimate purpose of being, that of giving service to God.

   God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him, and to be happy with Him for all eternity. In order for us to achieve our final purpose, eternal happiness, it is required of us to give service to our God. We cannot truly serve God until and unless we have a love for Him. We cannot hope to love Him unless we get to know Him first. From this it can be seen that it is a forward and upward climb. Our final destiny cannot be attained until we take that climb step by step.

   The mind is that which can and will take within itself anything that is presented to it by way of the five bodily senses, that of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. It responds to whatever stimulus sets itself before it. This means that although the mind has been given primarily to know God, it is free to seek to know and to know about others. It can occupy itself with objects which in no way have anything to do with God. A person can spend the entire lifetime making use of his or her mind without ever giving God a single thought. It is also true that one can make use of one's will without ever giving God a smidgen of love. It goes without saying that in the final analysis of one's life on this earth, a person can be of service to objects and/or persons without in any way doing something in the service of his or her God. A person can go through life in a way that when all is said and done, he/she in no way accomplishes the purpose set for his or her purpose on earth.

   Unfortunately, most people of our day are making use of their mind for purposes other than to get to know God. They are locked into a culture wherein the mind is king, if not at times, considered even as a god unto itself. This is the reason why the moral life of our day is at such a low ebb. Much of the world is not giving service to God, why, because it does not see Him as loveable. He is not seen as loveable because He is not presented as loveable by the mind. There is in our day a mass deviation from course. Objects other than God are continuously presented to the will by the mind as being of greater value than God. A variety of gods are held in focus and offered as priorities in the pursuit of happiness.

   The mind is a marvelous invention. The Creator is to be given credit for His ingenuity. There is nothing like it that man himself can ever come up with in making use of his own creative powers. If the mind is considered in and for itself, it sets before its users an obstacle to the achievement of his happiness. It was never created to be a creation unto itself. It was created for only one purpose, to serve as a means to an end, the end being to assist man to get to know his Creator and to discover His loveable qualities.

   Next week, I will delve further into the mind-set of the mind and how this gift from God was intended to be used when he created man.

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.

To print this page, we recommend you
CLICK HERE to go to TEXT ONLY format.

November 3, 1997     volume 8, no. 22
Father Stephen Valenta Column

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