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Posted January 11, 2004

Book: From the Angelís Blackboard: The Best of Fulton J. Sheen
Author: Fulton J. Sheen
Triumph Books, Liguori, Missouri, pp. 246

Excerpt from Jacket:

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (1893-1979) is arguably this centuryís most widely acclaimed and best-loved Roman Catholic prelate. A master of the media, spiritual leader, and witty, literate, urbane teacher, Sheen had a far-ranging impact on American culture. There remains in his spoken and written word a keen insight into the universal human condition, and the universal quest for the Divine in the ordinary.

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of his birth, this compendium presents his finest and most enduring messages of counsel, wisdom, and spiritual healing. Drawn from over thirty of his bestselling books, as well as Life is Worth Living, his enormously popular 1950's television series, From the Angelís Blackboard brings together dozens of essays and reflections on a wide range of timely and interesting topics ó including:

- finding oneís purpose in life

- enjoying oneís work

- finding fulfillment in love and marriage

- relieving fears and anxieties

- conquering bad habits

- developing character

- forgiving self and others

- promoting justice, charity, and peace

- reverencing Godís creation

- living prayerfully and mindfully


Divided into three sections ("Mind," "Heart," and "Spirit), these specifically selected and edited texts are a testament to Sheenís own tenacity of mind, heart, and spirit, which won him a loyal worldwide following.

Excerpt from Book

Great Moments of Decision

Napoleon held that the fate of every battle was decided in the space of about five minutes. All the maneuvering and all the preparations led up to the strategic moment of crisis. If the leader had vision to take advantage of those few moments, the enemyís rout would be complete; if, however, the leader allowed it to pass, defeat was certain. In one battle his forces were halted before a bridge over a deep ravine. If the bridge was not crossed, the battle would be lost. The soldiers were afraid to advance upon it inasmuch as it was swept by the fire of Austrian cannons. Napoleon snatched the flag from the standard bearer and rushed onto the bridge shouting, "Forward to save your general!" The effect upon the soldiers was electric, and in that five minutes the battle was decided.

It could very well be that the life of every person is not so much decided by the routine events of every day, but rather during two or three great moments of decision that happen in every life. As Shakespeare put it:

"There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries"

If the opportunity is allowed to slip by unimproved, success turns into failure. There is the name of a place that signifies such a turning point in human lives and that is Kadesh-Barnea, which is situated on the southern border of the Promised Land. There came a point in the pilgrimage when the children of Israel were within striking distance of their inheritance. They sent out spies, twelve of them, to report on the land they were about to take. The majority report, made by the representatives of ten of the tribes, was that the land could not be taken because the cities were too fortified and the enemy too numerous. The minority report, brought in by Joshua and Caleb, was turned down despite the fact that God had told the people through Moses that they would possess the land. It as this point in the journey, like the five minutes in Napoleonís battle, that determined their future. With the fruit of their tribulations within their grasp they refused to take it and thus had to continue wandering in the desert for many years.

. . . There is a Kadesh-Barnea in every personís spiritual life. Oneís background may be filled with unbelief, guilt, dishonesties, adulteries, and any of the seven pallbearers of the soul. Then there comes a moment of illumination to the mind, perhaps in a moment of sickness or a startling thought while reading, or the vision of innocence in a child. If this grace is responded to, a person is lifted out of himself, cuts connections with the past and starts out on a new career and new paths, with heaven shining in his face.

Table of Contents:

Mind

Sanctifying the moment

Conscience, the interior Sinai

Great moments of decision

Encounter with God

Religion has moved to the subconscious

Health and holiness

God is immanent in the world by his wisdom

Habits

Life is worth living?

Fatigue

The anatomy of melancholy

Loveís overflow

Agnosticism

Fingers, hands, and nails

Ethics for the unethical

Treasures of the subconscious

The psychology of work

Heart

The philosophy of pleasure

The tenderness and power

Understanding others

It takes three to make love

Loves reaction to loss

The three tensions of love

Love is a messenger

Altruism, the evolution of love

Are you happy?

The continuation of the incarnation

Selfishness

Courtesy

The philosophy of charity

A thousand tiny delicacies

The problem of giving

Caring for humanity

Modern saints

Spirit

"Aye" or "Nay" to eternal destiny

The hymn of life

The death of life

The depths of simplicity

Grace and faith in Christian life

The first faint summons to heaven

The training of children

What are you like?

Teen-agers

More about teen-agers

Content with sawdust brain?

"Nice" people

Love begins with a dream

Emergence of character

Prayer and meditation

Angels

Making up for wasted time

Peace

The divine sense of humor

Sources

About Fulton J. Sheen