Friday, December 13, 2013

Archbishop Sheen: Life is Worth Living

I found this great clip on Father Anthony Ho's site and wanted to share it:

On the day of his priestly ordination, Father Fulton Sheen resolved to make a Holy Hour every day before the Blessed Sacrament. It was a resolution he kept until the day of his death, but it was not always easy for him to keep his resolution.

Bishop Sheen once began the Holy Hour and fell asleep. He woke up in exactly one hour and thought, “Have I made a Holy Hour?” Then an angel told him, “That’s the way the apostles made their first Holy Hour in the garden, but don’t do it again.”

In order to keep himself awake during the Holy Hour, Bishop Sheen would sometimes pace up and down the aisle. As he got busier in life, he preferred to make his Holy Hour early in the morning. He wrote, “Priests, like everybody else, are divided into two classes: roosters and owls. Some work better in the morning, others at night.”

Bishop Sheen pointed out that the purpose of the Holy Hour is to encourage a deep personal encounter with Christ. He wrote, “Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are preceded by a personal encounter with Him.”

The Holy Hour helped Bishop Sheen tremendously in preserving his priestly vocation. He pointed out that a priest begins to fail his priesthood when he fails in his love of the Eucharist.

In 1950 Pope Pius XII wrote about two points that priests should look for in every young man seriously desirous of becoming a good priest: chastity and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. When Bishop Sheen was giving retreats to priests, he always focused on one general resolution, daily Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament.

Lover of souls

Bishop Sheen had a great love for souls. He reached out to many people through social communication using one of two approaches: direct and indirect. He used the direct approach on radio by presenting Catholic doctrine in plain and simple language and he used the indirect approach on television by starting with topics common to the audience and gradually proceeding to Christian topics.

He talked about art, science, war, humour, and many other themes on television, trying to reach out to the vast television audience of America. His best-known television series was called Life is Worth Living. It had over 30 million viewers.

Bishop Sheen’s usage of social communication attracted converts. Many people wrote to him asking for instruction, and he held classes for them. He made the following observations about souls:

Years ago souls were brought to a belief in God by the order of the universe. Today souls are brought to God by disorder within themselves.

There are not 10 people in the country (the U.S.) who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate the image of the Catholic Church that they have created out of misunderstanding.

Often what appears to be a doctrinal objection to faith turns out to be a moral objection.

It is always well never to pay attention to what people say, but rather why they say it; so often it is a rationalization of the way they live.

In this Year for Priests, let us pray that all priests have the same love for God and for souls as Bishop Fulton Sheen.

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