HEARTS TO HEART TALK

How to Pray with the Heart
part seventeen

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 seventeenth column, his tenth in the DAILY CATHOLIC he continues his take on what Reverence is and how satan will do all in his power to diminish it.

   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 Seventeen: Reverence: Revered by God, rejected by satan

     Reverence is definitely a quality of goodness; its source is the heart. The object of the heart (will) is goodness; the object of the mind is truth. The mind could give respect to some awesome truth, but it is incapable of giving anything reverence. We may now have an inkling of why there is a noticeable lack of reverence in our world. Our world, considering it as the culture in which we live, tilts towards the mind, towards knowledge. We are a mentally-oriented people. The author does not believe that this orientation is accidental or coincidental. It is evident that what satan did to our first parents, tricking them out of the heart into the head, is happening to each one of us under his continued diabolic influence. He has an advantage over a civilization drawn out of its heart into its head.

      Satan surely does not reverence Jesus; satan does not reverence Jesus' Mystical Body, the Church. It is precisely this that he works feverishly to attain, to draw reverence for Jesus out of Christ's followers, to draw reverence out of every single person for God, for anyone who is holy, for any thing that represents or reflects holiness. Satan cannot stand reverence and he realizes that without reverence there can be no true love, no true worship, no truly serving God!

     It is no secret that within the last twenty-eight years, there has transpired within the Church, amongst the people of God, a visible lessening of the quality of reverence for Jesus, for the Eucharist, for the priesthood, for all that is holy. In our present day there is an alarming lack of true reverence for the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ. I say, "true reverence" because, there those who have a respect for Pope John Paul II as a man of God, as a charming person, but do not look to him as the visible head of Christ's Church, sets forth. Unfortunately, amongst this group are some priests and bishops who present themselves as pastors of the people, but who lead them according to their own private beliefs, turning them away from the path of reverence for, and obedience to, the true teachings and values set forth by Jesus Christ.

     It is something most regrettable that flocks of people all over the world are being led astray by wolves in sheeps' clothing, unaware that they are being betrayed by the very ones in whom they put their trust. What is even more regrettable is the fact that these very pastors do not have the slightest suspicion that they are being duped by none other than satan himself.

In my next installment I will continue this same trend of thought, speaking of solutions to overcoming these attempts to diminish reverence.

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.


January 1998