Our Lady and Sheen

“Whatever is received is received according to the manner of the one receiving it.”

The quote above is from Sheen’s “Power of Love” from “philosophers of the Middle Ages.”. He goes on to say this means, “food laid on a rock is not received in the same manner as food laid on a tongue,” etc (14).

When we are able to Love, we see the beloved more beautifully than one who does not love. To the varying degrees in which we love, we are able to see more or less beauty; as someone who hates is not able to see the beauty at all, for the beauty becomes hateful.

Sheen writes, “The lover has a vision of beauty which is denied the one who hates. When love goes, often even the truly beautiful ceases to be beautiful. A husband who begins to love another woman will wonder why everyone else considers His wife so attractive,” then, “not only the eyes but also the heart can grow cataracts which distort vision, so that the beautiful may even seem ugly.”

How true is this story to us who have fallen into bitterness against someone, and can no longer see any good. I know I am guilty of allowing one grievance to hold me hostage against a thousand virtues of a man, and I am sorry for this sin.

Husbands, continue to love your wives as Christ loved the Church. In this way your wife will remain beautiful to you, even as we remain beautiful to Our Lord.

March 20, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Why do those content on rationalism not see God?

We see these “great” modern thinkers, philosophers and scientists rebuke the notion of a higher powere, or even worse, God Almighty. Venerable Fulton Sheen wrote about this in relation to our society, in the book I’ve been using for the last… lots of posts… “Go To Heaven.” I hate to be bland, and I hope to add more source material eventually, but sometimes you do not wish to give up a beautiful steak until its done, even when the next course is cheesecake. (Apparently Lent makes me hungry.)

It is possible for a human being to live on one of three levels. The first level is the subhuman, or the animal, in which a man is content to live only for his body… MAn can also live on a second, or higher, level, the rational; here he will pursue a good pagan life and will defend the natural virtues, but without great enthusiasm…For high above these two levels there is a third, which is the divine level; in this, man, thanks to the grace of God, is elevated to the supernatural order and is made a child of God.

These threel levels might be compared to a three-story house: the first floor is hardly furnished at all; the second has some comforts; but the third is orderly, luxurious and full of peace. And individual who lives for purely animal pleasures will take as sheer nonsense the suggestion that there is a level of reason above the first floor, where he lives according to his lusts. And to suggest to those who live on the second floor of reason that there is still a floor above, where peace of mind becomes peace of soul, is to invite them to ridicule the supernatural order.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

“If there were no Cross, there would have been no crib”

I would highly recommend “Go To Heaven” by Archbishop Ven. Fulton Sheen. His deep philosophy on all matters has always impressed me, even before I pretended to grasp what philosophy was.

Sheen writes about the idea that we have that the Cross was the humiliation of Christ, and reverses it. We look at most of the “great” teachers, and death interrupts their teaching, but Sheen points out that the Cross is the fulfillment of the teaching of Christ (along with His resurrection). In his great poetic nature, Venerable Sheen writes:

If there were no Cross, there would have been no crib; if there had been no nails, there would have been no straw. But He could not teach the lesson of the Cross as payment for sin; He had to take it. God the Father did not spare His Son – so much did He love mankind. That was the secret wrapped in swaddling bands.

How much more “humiliating” is it that God would take human nature unto himself, from the secular perspective. What CEO takes out the garbage from his office? What car salesman gets under the hood and helps out a potential customer instead of seeing a sale? Only a great CEO or salesman. How much more, then, is it that God would condescend Himself to enter our lowly form. The Cross is the culmination of that, for we are not yet so perfect as to truly sacrifice ourselves. There is always something that prevents us from being perfect, even if it is thinking that we’re perfect.

From the perspective of faith, God can not lower Himself into humanity, so to speak, rather, “What happened was not so much the conversion of the Godhead into flesh, as the taking of a manhood into God.” (p. 40) How incredible is that idea. I could spend 15 seconds or 15,000 years trying to wrap my head around the mystery of the Incarnation, and be no closer to true understanding. But, I pray that as we approach the Cross, in Lent and daily, that God gives me a deeper fulfilment in the idea that humanity has been once lifted up, and offers us Hope for our future homeland.

Our Lady, Mother of Sorrows, Pray for Us.

February 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

YOLO? Fulton Sheen has something to say about that.

I laughed while I was reading “Go To Heaven” by Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

One way to make enemies and antagonize people is to challenge the spirit of the world. The World has a spirit, as each age has a spirit. There are certain unanalyzed assumptions which govern the conduct of the world. Anyone who challenges these worldly maxims, such as, “You only live once,” “Get as much out of life as you can,” “Who will ever know about it?” “What is sex for if not for pleasure?” is bound to make himself unpopular. (p 41)

YOLO? Maybe… but it’s for all eternity.

Keep up your Lenten battle with true Hope and Joy!

February 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot and Jesus of the Scars by Edward Shillito

Fr. Z has a reading of the poem Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot on his blog. I also found this poem which I think is great for Holy Week, but I will forget, and so I present it as a possible Lenten meditation for those who like poetry. Originally in “Masterpieces of Religious Verse” it was found in “Go To Heaven” by Venerable Fulton Sheen.

Jesus of the Scars

If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on The brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.

The Heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars we claim Thy grace.

If when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.

-Edward Shillito, 1872-1948

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Chesterton and Sheen on Jesus as just a “good man”

Many people state that they like Jesus because “he was a good man.” This gets them off the hook, in their mind, of acknowledging that no single man has affected the world so much as Christ. Sheen writes:

Good men do not lie. But if Christ was not all that He said He was, namely, the Son of the living God, the Word of God in the flesh, then He was not “just a good man”; then He was a knave, a liar, a charlatan and the greatest deceiver who ever lived. If He was not what He said He was, the Christ, the Son of God, He was the anti-Christ! If He was only a man, then He was not even a “good” man.
But He was not only a man. He would have us either worship Him or despise Him – despise Him as a mere man, or worship Him as true God and true man. That is the alternative He presents. (Go To Heaven, p 37-38)

Perhaps we are entering a time when men despise him more and more because of this choice. Perhaps it is the same spirit that lead to His crucifixion.

Venerable Sheen goes on to quote G. K. Chesterton, “Expect the grass to wither and the birds to drop dead out of the air, when a strolling carpenter’s apprentice says calmly and almost carelessly, like one looking over his shoulder: ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’ ” (p 39) I love the way Chesterton phrases things!

Lord our God, help us to love you more, then do with us as You will.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Sheen on Christ and modernity (and antiquity)

In Venerable Sheen’s book, “Go To Heaven,” there is a passage that I think is very relevant for today. In describing the Beatitudes, Sheen gets into the nitty gritty of the statements Our Lord is making. After saying “You have heard,” and then we here the rest of God’s command of true LOVE. As Sheen writes, and we all need to consider if we are called to the vocation of marriage:

Christ affirmed that when a man married a woman, he married both her body and her soul; he married the whole person. If he got tired of the body, he might not thrust her body away for another, since he was still responsible for her soul. So He thundered, “You have heard.” In that expression He summarized the jargon of every decaying civilization [take heed]. “You have heard, ‘Get a divorce; God does not expect you to live without happiness'”; then came the “But.” “But I tell you that the man who puts away his wife makes an adulteress of her, and whoever marries her after she has been put away, commits adultery” (Matthew 5:32).
What matters if the body is lost? The soul is still there and that is worth more than the thrill a body can give, more even than the universe itself. He would keep men and women pure, not from contagion, but from desire of another; to imagine betrayal is in itself a betrayal. So He declared: “What God has joined, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9).
No man! No judge! No nation! (Go To Heaven, p 43-44)

Let us join together with those in the world praying for the union of souls with each other and with God, the strengthening of marriage, and the desire to love as God has Loved. Let us image the love of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph her most chaste spouse.

Saint Valentine, Pray for us.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Loneliness pt. 2

A continuation from my last post.

“Love!? Of course that’s the answer to my loneliness! If someone would love me, I wouldn’t be lonely! Thank you for stating the obvious, that doesn’t help.” That was my response… sort of.

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen is much more wise than I am. By the time he was my age, he was a priest and was making a Eucharistic Holy Hour daily, and the School of the Eucharist is the greatest classroom on Earth. How then is love the answer to loneliness, if not in the way we think?

Sheen writes that those who feel the most lonely feel so because of “an abnormal complex to be loved.” The desire to be loved is normal for humans, but the lonely demand love, and “to demand love is to kill it.” When love decreases, loneliness increases, and the demand for love increases, which makes love decrease and a spiral is born. The wife demands more time from her husband in order to prove his love, as Sheen points out, the husband resents this demand after a while, and a marriage is ruined.

Sheen compares the abnormal desire for love that wounded men feel to the Dead Sea: “The fresh waters of the Jordan pour into it but, having no outlet, it’s waters suffer no living creatures to flourish therein. It condemns itself to sterility because it does not serve.” Similarly, “Loneliness, by a curious paradox, is begotten of the madness of the arms opened to be embraced but never extended to serve.” How true, since love is a sacrifice. The more we love, genuinely and unselfishly, the more we Love through God, the more we have love.

We can be loved by man, and we can e Loved by God; which then is stronger? The infinite Love of God, of course, is unceasing. If we love out neighbor out of Love of God, don’t we have love flowing through us? We have love straight from the source, no middleman is necessary. The next question is a simple one: “Would we rather have others love us, or have true Love?” If we would rather have others love us, over true Love, are we not showing pride? Indeed we are trying to posses others, even if we feel that it is a powerful good.

If we choose the later, true Love, we possess it as a gift from the Father so that we may give it freely. It is a transient possession, the virtue of Charity. We become a channel of true Love through our desire to love God so much that we can not help but love our neighbor. We then have the self-sacrificing love that is the grain of wheat falling on the ground; we are the father fighting for the freedom of his children; we are the mother curled around her infant to protect him from harm; and we unite ourselves with the greatest love of all, the Love that is Calvary.

Then, with that Divine Love flowing through us, how could we dare think ourselves lonely? Indeed, we have united ourselves in communion with the greatest un-lonely, the Holy Trinity.

I am on my way to my cousin’s wedding, what a great occasion for love of family. In my next post, I will try to relate how the Servant of God Fulton Sheen advises helping those who are lonely.

God love you!

September 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Loneliness

I recently had an experience with a person who told me that the entire world hated him. My heart ached at the familiar pangs of rejection and self-loathing, which seem to me to be long ago and recent, as most things do that are large in one’s life.

Just a few days later, I have been delving further into Venerable Fulton J. Sheen’s book: Footprints in the Darkened Forest. His third chapter is entitled “Loneliness,” and now so is my post.

There are many types of loneliness, but there is one source. That source is the desire to be loved more and more. Loneliness happens, as Sheen points out, to all in this world, and is natural and to be expected; but the lonesome fall deeper into despair because they think it is not so. In this world, after the fall, corruption ensued, including in our relationships.

We can even be lonesome together, once we have found that true love. “A basic loneliness exists in all human love simply because we become used to it or take it for granted,” Sheen writes. Impossible, you reply! “I love my husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend/parents/etc. I will not cease loving them!” It is true that you may have found the perfect one for you to love and spend a lifetime with, and praise God! You have the proverbial pearl of great price, you have seen the richness of a jewel and have entered into a very powerful love! But, Ven. Sheen finishes his sentence with, “as the jeweler becomes used to handling precious gems.” We must be on guard against complacency in our relationships before we begin to lose that enjoyment we have in the beginning of our relationships, when we notice every sparkle and glow! (pg 22)

Ven. Sheen reminds us that love is not simply two people meeting at a well saying, “I will not hurt you, if you do not hurt me.” We must make ourselves open to another, bold and courageous in love, for as he continues, “To love is to make oneself vulnerable and softens one to a point of becoming a target to the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.'” (pg 22)

In 2007, I heard Rev. Fr. Boniface Hicks, OSB tell an auditorium of Penn State students one Sunday about this idea of love. He informed them, and this recent alum, of the most painful part of friendship and love: betrayal. Betrayal hurts the worst, and I can’t put ideas as eloquently as this holy monk can, because we open ourselves up to love and nothing protects us. Our bodies have a rib cage to protect our heart, but emotionally, as we get closer to ones we love we open that rib cage, thus nothing can protect us from the wound we incur. Our immediate action is to cover up our wound, yet Christ asks more of us. Christ asks us to turn back towards those who have wounded us and present them our exposed heart again. How hard is this challenge that Fr. Boniface presented to the group at Mass! But, how right he was. To retreat from love is loneliness, and loneliness is detachment, and detachment is death, as Sheen points out (pg 23).

How do we leave loneliness? Well, my plane is landing… So I’ll try to present Archbishop Sheen’s answer in my next post! Sneak preview… Love!

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Great Sheen News

Dear Friends of Sheen,

Breaking news from Rome: Today, July 28, 2012, the Holy Father signed the decree declaring Archbishop Sheen to be VENERABLE! Obviously, there is a lot more news and details to come yet today, but we wanted you all to be the first we told about this historic day. This day would not have been possible without your commitment of prayer. Let us celebrate!

We will also let you know about special celebrations being planned in Peoria to offer Thanksgiving to God in honor of VENERABLE FULTON.

Deo gratias,
Msgr. Stanley Deptula

Happy Eve of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Let us pray for our Pope!

June 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment