DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY, December 22, 1997    volume 8, no. 57

How to Pray with the Heart

Part Thirteen: Understanding the vital role of the Holy Spirit in our life

by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.

      If I really want to take Mary's wishes to heart, I must first give RECOGNITION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT dwelling within me. Even this in itself already needs His help. I cannot even express a belief in His presence unless, He in His goodness and His love for Jesus, prompts me to do so. Once this recognition is made, it is needed for me, and again with His help, to give Him reverence for Who He is and for the reason that He abides within me. It is expected of me to do this at the time of my Confirmation and most certainly along the road of life I come to a spritual maturity with enough composure and enough freedom to extend a loving welcome to Him and, again, with His help, to let Him know that I want His indwelling and I want sincerely for Him to do within me what it is that I need anywhere along the road of life to remain faithful to my vocation as a follower of Jesus. When He first entered my spirit at the time of my Baptism, He brought with Him gifts that, through my acceptance of , and His use of them, together, we can travel along that new road of the fullness of life wherein, though having entered life darkened in mind and weakened in will, I can avail myself of all that is offered to me for my salvation and sanctification.

      However, and this is a big however, though freed from the stain of Original Sin, I still have within me its effects. I find myself offering resistance to the Spirit in doing His work within me, some of this being deliberate, and some of it coming forth from my formed personality. Once I came into self-realization, I found that I have within me qualities, some good and some not so good, which I did not choose, but which were placed within me by those who helped to form me - parents, friends, culture and the like - as also elements which I inherited. My Father Creator, as He envisioned me from all eternity, set within me specific inclinations, potentials, and even limitations long before my creation took place, all in favor of my finally being able to accomplish, within my life on earth, all those things which were within His plans for me. In my next installment I will treat the "spiritual cholesterol" that blocks us from truly praying from and with the heart.

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.

December 1997