Fulton Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

American Roman Catholic Archbishop, Canonization for Sainthood began in 2002

Author Quotes

Love of God thus becomes the dominant passion of life; like every other worth-while love, it demands and inspires sacrifice. But love of God and man, as an ideal, has lately been replaced by the new ideal of tolerance which inspires no sacrifice. Why should any human being in the world be merely tolerated? What man has ever made a sacrifice in the name of tolerance? It leads men, instead, to express their own egotism in a book or a lecture that patronizes the downtrodden group. One of the cruelest things that can happen to a human being is to be tolerated. Never once did Our Lord say, “Tolerate your enemies!” But He did say, “Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you.” Such love can be achieved only if we deliberately curb our fallen nature’s animosities.

Not only were the Jews expecting the birth of a Great King, a Wise Man and a Savior, but Plato and Socrates also spoke of the Logos and of the Universal Wise Man 'yet to come'. Confucius spoke of 'the Saint'; the Sibyls, of a 'Universal King'; the Greek dramatist, of a saviour and redeemer to unloose man from the 'primal eldest curse'. All these were on the Gentile side of the expectation. What separates Christ from all men is that first He was expected; even the Gentiles had a longing for a deliverer, or redeemer. This fact alone distinguishes Him from all other religious leaders.

Our thoughts make our desires, and our desires are the sculptors of our days. The dominant desire is the predominant destiny. Desires are formed in our thoughts and meditations; and since action follows the lead of desires, the soul, as it becomes flooded with divine promptings, becomes less and less a prey to the suggestions of the world.

So much do the will and its sin become wedded together that a soul will say, "Let me alone. I made my bed and I will lie in it."

The essence of prayer is not the effort to make God give us something. Prayer, then, is not just informing God of our needs, for God already knows them. Rather, the purpose of prayer is to give God the opportunity to bestow the gifts He will give us when we are ready to accept them.

The neighbor is the one who is in need of your esteem. The saints have more of our esteem than do sinners, but on this earth charity must be guided by the greatness o either spiritual or corporal misery. If two are in misery and equally needy, then we can give to the one closest to us either by blood or by friendship.

The sun which warms the plant can under other conditions also wither it. The rain which nourishes the flower can under other conditions rot it. The same sun shines upon mud that shines upon wax. It hardens the mud but softens the wax. The difference is not in the sun, but in that upon which it shines. The Divine Life which shines upon a soul that loves Him, softens it into everlasting life; that same Divine Life which shines upon the slothful soul, neglectful of God, hardens it into everlasting death.

This is a very imperfect analogy, because the nature of a thing is not a core but a principle.

Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved; there can be no world peace unless there is soul peace. World wars are only projections of the conflicts waged inside the souls of men and women, for nothing happens in the external world that has not first happened within a soul.

What is prayer? The best definition of prayer is that it is a lifting of the mind and the heart to God. Prayer is a dialogue. Man breaks silence in two ways: a dialogue with his fellow man and a dialogue with God.

Why is anyone lovable - if it be not that God put His love into each of us?

It was through a loss of belief in the moral law that politics became so important. In the day when Christianity was the soul of civilization, when all men recognized they had a common end, both eternal and temporal, politics and economics held a secondary place (to the moral).

Love of self without love of God is selfishness; love of neighbor without love of God embraces only those who are pleasing to us, not those who are hateful.

Nothing ever happens in the world that does not happen first inside human hearts.

Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is 'timing' it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.

Some change their philosophy of life with every book they read: one book sells them on Freud, the next on Marx; materialists one year, idealists the next; cynics for another period, and Eberals for still another. They have their quivers full of arrows but no fixed target. As no game makes the hunter tired of the sport, so the want of destiny makes the mind bored with life.

The evil in the world must not make me doubt the existence of God. There could be no evil if there were no God. Before there can be a hole in a uniform, there must be a uniform; before there is death, there must be life; before there is error, there must be truth; before there is a crime, there must be liberty and law; before there is a war, there must be peace; before there is a devil, there must be a God, rebellion against whom made the devil.

The nice people do not come to God, because they think they are good through their own merits or bad through inherited instincts. If they do good, they believe they are to receive the credit for it; if they do evil, they deny that it is their own fault. They are good through their own good-heartedness, they say; but they are bad because they are misfortunate, either in their economic life or through an inheritance of evil genes from their grandparents. The nice people rarely come to God; they take their moral tone from the society in which they live. Like the Pharisee in front of the temple, they believe themselves to be very respectable citizens. Elegance is their test of virtue; to them, the moral is the aesthetic, the evil is the ugly. Every move they make is dictated, not by a love of goodness, but by the influence of their age. Their intellects are cultivated—in knowledge of current events; they read only the bestsellers, but their hearts are undisciplined. They say that they would go to church if the Church were only better—but they never tell you how much better the Church must be before they will join it. They sometimes condemn the gross sins of society, such as murder; they are not tempted to these because they fear the opprobrium which comes to them who commit them. By avoiding the sins which society condemns, they escape reproach, they consider themselves good par excellence.

The temptations of the saints were seen as opportunities for self-¬discovery. They allowed temptations to show them the breaches in the fortress of their souls, which needed to be fortified until they would become the strongest points. This explains the curious fact about many saintly people-that they often become the opposite of what they once seemed to be.

This is what Aristotle meant when he said that the object of science is the necessary and the universal; man and not this man.

Upon men of good will now falls the burden of preserving the moral law in the political order. If the moral law is rejected the nation falls: for unless the electorate votes from an informed conscience, rather than from propaganda, a democracy can vote itself right out of democracy -- as Germany did.

What men do not see is that the fracturing of the spiritual community means the loss of inclusive and unifying moral sanctions over the whole of man's activities. The modern world has no cement to bind together personal morals and the morals of political and economic life. If a time ever comes when the religious Jews, Protestants and Catholics have to suffer under a totalitarian state denying them the right to worship God according to the light of their conscience, it will be because for years they thought it made no difference what kind of people represented them in Congress, and because they never opposed the spiritual truth to the materialist lie.

Woe is me and woe unto us, if the believing element in our country does not allow its belief in God and morality to seep deep down into the action in the polling booths. The first effective campaign against full blown communism is to wage war against our temptation to abandon the spiritual in the realm of the political. Nothing can do men of good will more harm than apparent compromises with parties that subscribe to anti-moral and anti-democratic and anti-God forces. We must have the courage to detach our support from men (and women) who are doing evil. We must bear them no hatred, but we must break with them.

It was to a virgin woman that the birth of the Son of God was announced. It was to a fallen woman that His Resurrection was announced.

Man is incurably curious.

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Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen
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American Roman Catholic Archbishop, Canonization for Sainthood began in 2002