Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Fulton Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

American Roman Catholic Archbishop, Canonization for Sainthood began in 2002

"An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support."

"An overemphasis on temporal security is a compensation for a loss of the sense of eternal security."

"The principal reason for sex deification is loss of belief in God. Once men lose God, they lose the purpose of life; and when the purpose of living is forgotten, the universe becomes meaningless. Man then tries to forget his emptiness in the intensity of a momentary experience."

"The way not to lead a monotonous life is to live for others."

"There is no surer formula for discontent than to try to satisfy our cravings for the ocean of Infinite Love from the teacup of finite satisfactions."

"Many souls fail to find God because they want a religion which will remake society without remaking themselves."

"Depression comes, not from having faults, but from the refusal to face them."

"Freedom does not mean the right to do whatever we please, but rather to do whatever we ought... The right to do whatever we please reduces freedom to a physical power and forgets that freedom is a moral power."

"Self-expression can be wrong as well as right... When self-expression is identified with irrational surrender to lower instincts, it ends by making the person a slave to those passions. Self-denial is not a renunciation of freedom; it is rather the taming of what is savage and base in our nature for what is higher and better. It is a release from imprisonment by our lusts and passions."

"Sex has become of the most discussed subjects of modern times. The Victorians pretended it did not exist; the moderns pretend that nothing else exists."

"A great illusion of lovers is to believe that the intensity of their sexual attraction is the guarantee of the perpetuity of their love. It is because of this failure to distinguish between the glandular and the spiritual… that marriages are so full of deception."

"Direct love toward God and peace comes over the soul: turn it from God, and the heart becomes a broken fountain where tears fall “from the sighful branches of mind.”"

"As for the necessity of coining new names for God, it is incomprehensible that philosophy and civilization can be enriched by ceasing to think of God as Life, Truth, Beauty, and Love, and beginning to think of Him as a blind and whirling space-time configuration dancing dizzily in an Einstein universe, plunging forward along a path of which He is ignorant, toward a goal of which He knows nothing whatever."

"Faith is not a dam which prevents the flow of the river of reason and thought; it is a levee which prevents unreason from flooding the countryside."

"Freedom does not mean that right to do whatever we please, but rather to do whatever we ought... The right to do whatever we please reduces freedom to a physical power and forgets that freedom is a moral power."

"In times of prosperity the church administers; in times of adversity the church shepherds."

"Hell is the ego, sated with its own satisfied wishes, having to consume itself forever with no hope of release."

"Most souls are afraid of God precisely because of His Goodness... Our greatest fear is not that God may not love us enough but that He may love us too much."

"It takes a brave man to look into the mirror of his own soul to see written there the disfigurements caused by his own misbehavior."

"Love is a mutual self-giving which ends in self-recovering."

"No amount of libido, or passion, no external force, and no inner prompting to sin can make the human action of man anything but free. We are never tempted beyond our strength. Every moral failure is ours alone, because our choices are our own."

"Prayer is not just the informing of God of our needs, for He already knows them. God does not show Himself equally to all creatures. This does not mean that he has favorites, that He decides to help some and to abandon others, but the difference occurs because it is impossible for Him to manifest Himself to certain hearts under the conditions they set up. The sunlight plays no favorites, but its reflection is very different on a lake and on a swamp."

"No one has the right to despise the rich until, like Our Lord, he has proven himself free from the passion to possess… and then he will not wish to despise any one."

"Perfection is being, not doing; it is not to effect an act but to achieve a character."

"Prayer begins by talking to God, but it ends by listening to Him."

"Self-discipline never means giving up anything - for giving up is a loss. Our Lord did not ask us to give up the things of earth, but to exchange them for better things."

"Repentance is not self-regarding, but God-regarding. It is not self-loathing, but God-loving."

"The world is just a scaffolding up which souls climb to the kingdom of Heaven."

"The great characteristic of our age is not its love of religion, but its love of talking about religion."

"We desire unity of religion but not when purchased at the cost of the unity of truth."

"Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius. "

"Life is like a cash register, in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded. "

"Pride is an admission of weakness; it secretly fears all competition and dreads all rivals. "

"The proud man counts his newspaper clippings, the humble man his blessings. "

"If there is continuity in the universe, it is fitting that there should be intelligent beings without bodies which are called angels."

"All our anxieties relate to time. ... The major problems of psychiatry revolve around an analysis of the despair, pessimism, melancholy, and complexes that are the inheritances of what has been or with the fears, anxieties, worries, that are the imaginings of what will be."

"If all things in this universe exist, it is because they participate in the Being of God, if there are some things with life, it is because they are reflections of the life of God; if there are beings endowed with intellect and will — like men and angels — it's because they are a participation of the Sovereign Intellect which is God."

"Too many people get credit for being good, when they are only being passive. They are too often praised for being broadminded when they are so broadminded they can never make up their minds about anything."

"Some will not look on suffering because it creates responsibility."

"There are angels near you to guide you and protect you, if you would but invoke them. It is not later than we think, it is a bigger world than we think."

"Right is right if nobody is right, and wrong is wrong if everybody is wrong."

"A dying man asked a dying man for eternal life; a man without possessions asked a poor man for a Kingdom; a thief at the door of death asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise. One would have thought a saint would have been the first soul purchased over the counter of Calvary by the red coins of Redemption, but in the Divine plan it was a thief who was the escort of the King of kings into Paradise. If Our Lord had come merely as a teacher, the thief would never have asked for forgiveness. But since the thief's request touched the reason of His coming to earth, namely, to save souls, the thief heard the immediate answer: 'I promise thee, this day thou shalt be With Me in Paradise' It was the thief's last prayer, perhaps even his first. He knocked once, sought once, asked once, dared everything, and found everything. When even the disciples were doubting and only one was present at the Cross, the thief owned and acknowledged Him as Savior."

"A higher form of prayer than petition and a potent remedy against the externalization of life-is meditation."

"A man may stand for the justice of God, but a woman stands for His Mercy."

"A woman never tells you why she loves; she just tells you how she loves."

"Abstraction is the condition of the science of metaphysics, but in no way is its content."

"A teacher who cannot explain any abstract subject to a child does not himself thoroughly understand his subject; if he does not attempt to break down his knowledge to fit the child's mind, he does not"

"A spirit of license makes a man refuse to commit himself to any standards. The right time is the way he sets his watch. The yardstick has the number of inches that he wills it to have. Liberty becomes license, and unbounded license leads to unbounded tyranny. When society reaches this stage, and there is no standard of right and wrong outside of the individual himself, then the individual is defenseless against the onslaught of cruder and more violent men who proclaim their own subjective sense of values. Once my idea of morality is just as good as your idea of morality, then the morality that is going to prevail is the morality that is stronger."

"A woman gets angry when a man denies his faults, because she knew them all along. His lying mocks her affection; it is the deceit that angers her more than the faults."

"All love craves unity. As the highest peak of love in the human order is the unity of husband and wife in the flesh, so the highest unity in the Divine order is the unity of the soul."