How to Pray with the Heart
part eighteen

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 eighteenth column, his eleventh in the DAILY CATHOLIC he continues his take on what Reverence is and how we can overcome the obstacles satan throws in our way.

   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 Eighteen: Reverence: Solutions to attaining and keeping it.

     Innocence, good will, and sincerity always invite the loving mercy of the Heavenly Father. No one is lost except it be through one's deliberate choic. Nonetheless, what advice can be given to the people of God in our day to protect themselves against the forces of evil, to be able to maintain themselves in reverence despite the odds of satan's cunning power? The very best advice that can be given is for each person to remain faithful to the Holy Father John Paul II and the Magisterium, that is the bishops joined in obedience to him. It is true that it is not always the easiest thing that the Holy Father with his bishops are setting forth for acceptance and obedience. It is up to each person to make a deliberate effort to see and search for the True Shepherd. It is for each and every person to put forth positive exertion in order to identify for oneself pastors who are united to the Vicar of Christ, and anchored in faith, not to follow those who with sweet talk portray themselves as wiser and/or more practical than the Holy Father.

      The easiest way then to retain reverence in one's heart is to pray with the heart. When one engages in such prayer, the Holy Spirit is invited to be active within one's heart and it is He Who is the Source of discernment. He will quickly alert one of false teaching, of a false pastor. There need be no fear on the part of any one of the remnant who lives protected within the Mantle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. To remain little is a must! In one's childlike littleness there is faith, there is humility, there is reverence. Reverence opens the door and keeps the door open for obedience. Every act of obedience to the True Shepherd increases and solidifies one's life of reverence.

In my next installment I will talk about Unity - for in Unity there is strength!

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