DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY, December 1, 1997    volume 8, no. 42

How to Pray with the Heart

Part Ten: The Journey from the Head to the Heart

by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.

      In helping us pray more with the heart, one directive can be given in this one: connect each day of the week with a genuine and healthy heart activity. What I mean is this: let Mondays be BELIEVING days (Faith), Tuesdays - TRUSTING days, (Hope) Wednesdays - LOVING days (Charity), Thursdays - OBEDIENCE days, Fridays - FORGIVING days, Saturdays - THANKING days, and Sundays as PRAISING days. If, on each of these days, we could posit the corresponding heart activity, and at the same time cut down on our mental intake, we could keep ourselves in balance. If we follow out this simple directive for a period of time, let's say, two months, we could eventually live in the heart. All of the above heart activities are wholesome and very dear to the Lord.

     The mind is not to be belittled. As was said, it is a marvelous invention on the part of God. It is only that we must make use of it as God intended. Putting it into somewhat of a parallel; speaking of the automobile, the mind is the steering apparatus, the heart is the motor. Both are needed and helpful. If we choose to live in the heart, we would find time that we would have a different type of life. We would have believing thoughts, trusting thoughts, loving thoughts, obedient thoughts, loving thoughts, obedient thoughts, forgiving thoughts, grateful thoughts, and praising thoughts. Not a bad kind of of a life to lead. It is the life that Jesus led.

     The journey from the head to the heart is not an easy one. Our God never promised us an easy life. This journey is one that our God wishes each one of us to make. He is and will continue to be a constant Helper to each one of us every minute of the day, but He will not force His help upon us. He gives us the Holy Spirit, the Church, Scripture, the Sacraments, the Holy Father to help us along. Once we decide to make use of the helps given to each one of us along the way, we will find it quite easy to live in the heart, and what is so helpful - once living in the heart, we will find it easy enough to pray with the heart, and praying with the heart, we will find a peace and joy within our hearts that the world cannot give.

     Next week, as we continue in Advent, I will layout ways to better pray with the heart where that true peace can only be found.

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.

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