As I was perusing through a used books warehouse sale recently, God somehow led me to a 1961 Holland-printed, Canadian-published copy of The Fulton J Sheen, Sunday Missal. Without any hesitation, I purchased it for a mere equivalent of USD1.50...truly a great blessing from God!
One can never seem to find priceless spiritual books like these anymore, with such wisdom in thinking even from back then...breaking God's word into human understanding and application. Today, it seems that people do not treasure these spiritual literature anymore...abandoning them...throwing these away...
As documented in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Verbum Domini, Pope Benedict XVI stressed that “the world today is often excessively caught up in outward activities and risks losing its bearings.” How very true these words from the Holy Father...
In any case, glancing through the priceless, almost mint pages, of the Missal, I would like to “multiply” this USD1.50 “investment” and share some of the beautiful excerpts of Bishop Fulton Sheen with all of you - as we move into Pentecost Sunday. Truly, this saintly man continues to be a living prophet for our time.
“The whole world is dying of hunger. The East is suffering from hunger of body; the West from hunger of soul. The words of the Gospel are everlastingly true: “they have nothing to eat.” (Mark 6: 36)
Calvary was only one small place on the earth, a by-way of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome. But what took place there, the sacrifice of the God-Man, can affect men everywhere in all corners of the earth.
The Mass plants the Cross in a town, in a village, in a mission, in a great cathedral; it draws back the curtains on time and space and makes what happened on Calvary happen here.
On the Cross, our blessed Lord knew how every individual soul in the world would react to his supreme act of love; he knew whether or not we would accept him or reject him.
But no one of us knows how we will react until we are confronted with Christ and his Cross, and see it unrolled on the screen of time.
We can know something of the role we played at Calvary by the way we act at the Mass in the twentieth century (or at this present time) and by the way the Mass helps us to live.
In every Mass, therefore the Cross of Calvary is transplanted into New York, London, Tokyo, Nairobi, Hong Kong (or wherever you may be located): all humanity is taking sides, either sharing in that Redemption or else rejecting it, either being on the Cross with the Victim or beneath it among the executioners.
The Mass is that which makes the Cross visible to every eye; it placards the Cross at all the crossroads of civilization; it brings Calvary so close that even tired feet can make the journey to its sweet embrace; every hand may now reach out to touch its Sacred Burden, and every ear may hear its sweet appeal, for the Mass and the Cross are the same.
This world of ours is full of half-completed Gothic cathedrals, of half-finished lives and half-crucified souls. Some carry the Cross to Calvary and then abandon it; others are nailed to it and detach themselves before the elevation; others are crucified, but in answer to the challenge of the world, “Come down”, they come down after one hour…two hours…after two hours and fifty-nine minutes, Real Christians are they who persevere unto the end. Our Lord stayed until he had finished.
So we must stay with the Cross until our lives are finished.
Our human nature is the raw material; our will is the chisel; God’s grace is the energy and the inspiration.
Touching the chisel to our unfinished nature, we first cut off huge chunks of selfishness, then by more delicate chiseling, we dig away smaller bits of egotism until finally only a brush of the hand is needed to bring out the completed masterpiece - a finished man (or woman) made to the image and likeness of the pattern on the Cross.”
We continue to remind ourselves on this journey that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, coupled with the intercession of our Blessed Mother, that truly makes our souls more Christ-like...in the process, bringing about a new Pentecost to transform the world around us...