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:
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
Life is worth living?
The anatomy of melancholy
Fingers, hands, and nails
Ethics for the unethical
Treasures of the subconscious
The psychology of work
The philosophy of pleasure
The tenderness and power
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
The philosophy of charity
A thousand tiny delicacies
The problem of giving
Caring for humanity
"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?
More about teen-agers
Content with sawdust brain?
Love begins with a dream
Emergence of character
Prayer and meditation
Making up for wasted time
The divine sense of humor
About Fulton J. Sheen