Fulton J. Sheen: Communism and the Conscience of the West (1948)

Mgr. Fulton J. Sheen

Communism and the Conscience of the West (1948)

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“[Satan] will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the [Catholic] Church. . . . It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content.”

Quote:

The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the Devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as “I am Who am,” and the Devil as “I am who am not.”
Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first “red.” Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as “the Prince of this world,” whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?
The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . .
. . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s.
In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ. . . .
. . . But the twentieth century will join the counterchurch because it claims to be infallible when its visible head speaks ex cathedra from Moscow on the subject of economics and politics, and as chief shepherd of world communism.

(Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West [Bobbs-Merril Company, Indianapolis, 1948], pp. 24-25)

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/28/fulton-j-sheen-communism-and-the-conscience-of-the-west-1948/

CONFESSION IS AN EXPERIENCE OF LOVE AND MERCY, NOT A SENTENCING COURT

CONFESSION IS AN EXPERIENCE OF LOVE AND MERCY, NOT A SENTENCING COURT

pope-francis-massVatican City, 28 March 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Hall of Blessings Pope Francis received in audience the six hundred participants in the annual course of the internal forum of the Apostolic Penitentiary. For a quarter of a century this dicastery has offered the course, especially to recently ordained priests and deacons, to contribute to the formation of good confessors.

In his address, the Holy Father encouraged those present to “treasure the experience acquired with wise creativity, to further help the Church and confessors to perform their ministry of mercy, which is so important”, and reflected on three key points related to confession.

“Firstly, the agent of the ministry of Reconciliation is the Holy Spirit”, he said. “The forgiveness that the Sacrament confers is the new life transmitted by the Risen Lord by means of His Spirit. … Therefore, you are required always to be “men of the Holy Spirit”, witnesses and proclaimers, joyful and strong, of the resurrection of the Lord”. The Bishop of Rome encouraged them to welcome penitents “not with the attitude of a judge or even that of a mere friend, but with God’s charity. … A priest’s heart is a heart that is able to be touched. … If it is true that tradition suggests the dual role of doctor and judge for confessors, we must never forget that the doctor cures and the judge absolves”.

Moving on to the second aspect, he explained, “If Reconciliation transmits the new life of the Risen Lord and renews baptismal grace, then your task is to give this generously to your brethren. A priest who does not take care of this part of his ministry … is like a shepherd who does not take care of his lost sheep. … But mercy is at the heart of the Gospel! It is the good news that God loves us, that He always loves man the sinner, and with this love he draws man towards Him and invites him to convert. We must not forget that the faithful often struggle to receive this Sacrament, both for practical reasons and for the natural difficulty of confessing one’s own sins to another man. Therefore, it is necessary to work hard upon ourselves, on our humanity, so as never to be an obstacle to but rather to facilitate an approach to mercy and forgiveness. … Confession is not a sentencing court, but rather an experience of forgiveness and mercy!”.

Finally, Pope Francis referred to the difficulties that may frequently be encountered in confession. “There are many reasons, both historical and spiritual. However, we know that the Lord wished to offer this immense gift to the Church, offering the baptised the security of the Father’s forgiveness. For this reason, it is very important that particular care is taken in the celebration of this Sacrament of forgiveness and salvation in all dioceses and parish communities. It is essential that in every parish the faithful know when they can find available priests: when there is trust, the fruits can be seen”.

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/28/confession-is-an-experience-of-love-and-mercy-not-a-sentencing-court/

Why God Loves us

Why God Loves us

Archbishop Fulton Sheen 

“God did not love me because I am lovable. I became lovable because God poured some of His goodness and love into me. I then began to apply this charity to my neighbor. If I do not find him lovable, I have to put love into him as God puts love into me, and thereby I provoke the response of love. Now, my personality is restored and I make the great discovery that no one is happy until he loves both God and neighbor.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/27/why-god-loves-us/

MAKE THE EFFORT TO OPEN UP TO GOD

MAKE THE EFFORT TO OPEN UP TO GOD

 

(2014-03-27 – Vatican Radio) In Jesus’ time, the leading class had distanced itself from the people, abandoning them by pursuing their own ideologies and sliding ever downwards into corruption.

That’s what Pope Francis said Thursday morning in his homily while celebrating Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, with the presence of nearly 500 Members of the Italian Parliament.

Most members of Italy’s Parliament attended the mass, including nine ministers and the Speakers of the Senate and the House.

In his remarks, Pope Francis referred to the day’s first reading from the Book of Jeremiah which speaks of the prophet who gives voice to God’s pain regarding a generation which, the Pope observed, failed to welcome his messengers, preferring instead to justify its sins. This turning away from the Lord caused Him great pain, the Pope said, noting that this theme also runs through today’s Gospel reading which speaks of the leaders of the people as being blind to God.

“The hearts of this people, this group, with time became hardened so, so, so much – so that it was impossible to hear the voice of the Lord. And as sinners, they slid (downwards); they became corrupt. It’s very hard for a corrupt person to go back (on his tracks). The sinner, yes, because the Lord is merciful and awaits us all. But the corrupt person is fixated on his affairs, and these people were corrupt. And for this, they justify themselves, because Jesus, with his simplicity, but with his strength in God – he made trouble for them (it: dava loro fastidio).

“These were people, continued Pope Francis, who “have taken the wrong path. They resisted the salvation of the Lord’s love, and thus slipped away from the faith, from a theology of faith to a theology of duty.”

“They rejected the Lord’s love and this rejection put them on a path that was not the dialectic of freedom offered by the Lord, but that of the logic of necessity, where there is no room for the Lord. In the dialectic of freedom, there is the good Lord who loves us, who loves us very much! Rather, in the logic of necessity, there is no place for God: this must be done, this must be done, this must…They have become behavioral (it: comportamentali): well-mannered men, but with bad habits. Jesus calls them ‘whitewashed tombs’.”

Lent, Pope Francis concluded, reminds us that “God loves all of us” and that “we must make the effort to open up” to Him:

“On this path of Lent it will do us well to think about this invitation from the Lord to love, about this dialectic of freedom where there is love, and to ask ourselves, all of us, …am I on this path? Do I risk justifying myself and take another path? A road with many junctions (it: strada congiunturale) because it does not lead to any promise … And we pray that the Lord gives us the grace to always go down the path of salvation, to open ourselves to the salvation that only comes from God, through faith – not from what was proposed by these ‘professionals of duty,’ (it: dottori del dovere) who had lost the faith, and who led (it: reggevano) the people with this pastoral theology of duty.”

 

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/27/make-the-effort-to-open-up-to-god/

An Act of Hope and Confidence in God

 An Act of Hope and Confidence in God

by St. Claude De La Colombiere

My God, I believe most firmly that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing when we rely upon Thee in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon Thee.

People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moment of my life, and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.
Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope. “For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope.” This confidence can never be in vain. “No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded.”
I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness, for I firmly hope for it, and all my hope is in Thee. “In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped; let me never be confounded.”
I know, alas! I know but too well that I am frail and changable; I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue. I have seen stars fall from heaven, and pillars of firmament totter; but these things alarm me not. While I hope in Thee I am sheltered from all misfortune, and I am sure that my trust shall endure, for I rely upon Thee to sustain this unfailing hope.
 
Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty, and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee. Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations; that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assults of the evil one, and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies. I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me, and that I shall love Thee unceasingly. “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.”

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/26/an-act-of-hope-and-confidence-in-god/

THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY – THE WOMAN I LOVE

THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

THE WOMAN I LOVE

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/25/the-blessed-virgin-mary-the-woman-i-love/

Mary, the World’s First Love

Mary

The World’s First Love

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/25/mary-the-worlds-first-love/

FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

March 25

queenship-of-mary-mary-and-angel1

FROM THE VIRGIN MARY IN THE KINGDOM OF THE DIVINE WILL

DAY 19

Mama and Baby JesusLesson of the Sovereign Queen:

Now, child of my Heart, pay attention to Me and listen: several days before the descent of the Eternal Word upon earth, I could see Heaven opened and the Sun of the Divine Word at Its doors, as though to look out for the one upon whom He was to take His flight, to render Himself Celestial Prisoner of one creature. Oh, how beautiful it was to see Him at the doors of Heaven, as though on the lookout to spy the fortunate creature who was to host her Creator! The Sacrosanct Trinity no longer looked at the earth as alien to It, because there was little Mary who, by possessing the Divine Will, had formed Its Divine Kingdom in which the Word could safely descend, as in His own residence, in which He would find Heaven and the many suns of the many acts of Divine Will done within my soul. The Divinity overflowed with love, and removing the mantle of Justice which It had worn with the creatures for so many centuries, It covered Itself with the mantle of infinite mercy, and decreed the descent of the Word… and It was now in the act of sounding the hour of fulfillment! At this sound, Heaven and earth were astounded, and all stood at attention, to be spectators of such a great excess of love, and a prodigy so unheard-of.

Your Mama felt ignited with love, and echoing the love of my Creator, I wanted to form one single sea of love, so that the Word might descend upon earth within it. My prayers were incessant, and while I was praying in my little room, an Angel came, sent from Heaven as messenger of the great King. He came before Me, and bowing, he hailed Me: “Hail, O Mary, our Queen; the Divine Fiat has filled You with grace. He has already pronounced His Fiat, for He wants to descend; He is just behind my shoulders, but He wants your Fiat to form the fulfillment of His Fiat.”

At such a great announcement, so much desired by Me – although I had never thought I was to be the chosen one – I was stupefied and I hesitated one instant. But the Angel of the Lord told Me: “Do not fear, our Queen, for You have found grace before God. You have conquered your Creator; therefore, to complete the victory – pronounce your Fiat.”

I pronounced my Fiat, and – oh, marvel! – the two Fiat fused together and the Divine Word descended into Me. My Fiat, which received the same value as the Divine Fiat, from the seed of my humanity, formed the tiny little Humanity which was to enclose the Word, and so the great prodigy of the Incarnation was accomplished.

Oh, power of the Supreme Fiat! You raised Me so high as to render Me powerful, to the point of being able to create within Me that Humanity which was to enclose the Eternal Word, Whom Heaven and earth could not contain! The Heavens were shaken, and all Creation assumed the attitude of feast. Exulting with joy, they peeked over the little house of Nazareth, to give homages and obsequies to the Creator made man; and in their mute language, they said: “Oh, prodigy of prodigies, which only a God could do! Immensity has become little, power has made itself powerless, His unreachable height has lowered itself deep into the abyss of the womb of a Virgin and, at the same time, He is little and immense, powerful and powerless, strong and weak!”

My dear child, you cannot comprehend what your Mama felt in the act of the Incarnation of the Word. All pressed upon Me and awaited my Fiat, I could say, omnipotent.

Now, dear child, listen to Me: how much you should take to your heart doing the Divine Will and living of It! My power still exists: let Me pronounce my Fiat over your soul. But in order to do this, I want your own. One alone cannot do true good; the greatest works are always done between two. God Himself did not want to do it by Himself, but wanted Me together with Him, to form the great prodigy of the Incarnation. In my Fiat and in His, the life of the Man-God was formed; the destiny of mankind was restored, Heaven was no longer closed, and all goods were enclosed between the two Fiat. Therefore, let us say together, “Fiat! Fiat!”, and my maternal love will enclose in you the life of the Divine Will.

Enough for now; tomorrow I will wait for you again, to narrate to my child the continuation of the Incarnation.


The soul:

Beautiful Mama, I feel stupefied in hearing your beautiful lessons. O please! I pray You to pronounce your Fiat over me; and I will pronounce my own, so that the Fiat which You so much yearn to reign as life in me, may be conceived within me.


Little Sacrifice:

Today, to honor Me, You will come to give the first kiss to Jesus, and will say to Him, as many as nine times, that you want to do His Will; and I will repeat the prodigy of making Jesus be conceived in your soul.


Ejaculatory Prayer:

Powerful Queen, pronounce your Fiat, and create the Divine Will in me.

The Catholic Encyclopedia:  The fact of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is related in Luke 1:26-38. The Evangelist tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David, and was espoused (i.e. married) to Joseph, of the same royal family. She had, however, not yet entered the household of her spouse, but was still in her mother’s house, working, perhaps, over her dowry. (Bardenhewer, Maria Verk., 69). And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said to her: “Hail, full of grace (to whom is given grace, favoured one), the Lord is with thee.” Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the angel continued and said: “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.” The Virgin understood that there was question of the coming Redeemer. But, why should she be elected from amongst women for the splendid dignity of being the mother of the Messiah, having vowed her virginity to God? (St. Augustine). Therefore, not doubting the word of Godlike Zachary, but filled with fear and astonishment, she said: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?”

The angel to remove Mary’s anxiety and to assure her that her virginity would be spared, answered: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” In token of the truth of his word he made known to her the conception of St. John, the miraculous pregnancy of her relative now old and sterile: “And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God.” Mary may not yet have fully understood the meaning of the heavenly message and how the maternity might be reconciled with her vow of virginity, but clinging to the first words of the angel and trusting to the Omnipotence of God she said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.”

The Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus in His human nature. Through His mother He is a member of the human race. If the virginity of Mary before, during, and after the conception of her Divine Son was always considered part of the deposit of faith, this was done only on account of the historical facts and testimonials. The Incarnation of the Son of God did not in itself necessitate this exception from the laws of nature. Only reasons of expediency are given for it, chiefly, the end of the Incarnation. About to found a new generation of the children of God, The Redeemer does not arrive in the way of earthly generations: the power of the Holy Spirit enters the chaste womb of the Virgin, forming the humanity of Christ. Many holy fathers (Sts. Jerome, Cyril, Ephrem, Augustine) say that the consent of Mary was essential to the redemption. It was the will of God, St. Thomas says (Summa III:30), that the redemption of mankind should depend upon the consent of the Virgin Mary. This does not mean that God in His plans was bound by the will of a creature, and that man would not have been redeemed, if Mary had not consented. It only means that the consent of Mary was foreseen from all eternity, and therefore was received as essential into the design of God.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/25/feast-of-the-annunciation-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary/

Santa Maria Greca – Corato

Santa Maria Greca – Corato

On the occasion of the feast of the Madonna Greca, after a complex process of restoration, it will be reopened to the crypt of the Shrine which houses the icon depicting the Madonna Greca (oil on panel). According to tradition, the effigy to the miraculous events that took place in 1656 and that have made ​​the protector of Corato.

Located in the historic center, the Diocesan Shrine of Santa Maria Greca is a valuable building that has for the city and for the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie great importance in terms of historical, artistic and religious.

Throughout the ages, has been a place of pilgrimage related to Marian devotion. Since 1963, with the burial of the mortal remains of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta (which is in the process of beatification), the church has also become a destination for visitors from all over the world.

The growing number of visitors who are attracted to other artifacts of artistic present in it, has made ​​it increasingly necessary to adapt the facilities, services and spaces to the changing needs.

The building consists of an upper church and a crypt has been, over time, various changes, demolitions, reconstructions and additions to the present day.

The restoration was made ​​possible in part thanks to the financing of the fund 8xmille of the Catholic Church and the Financing of the Italian region of Puglia. Above all, however, must be counted the economic effort of so many parishioners who have generously contributed because this place was returned to the city for the benefit of all. A special thank you, I wish to extend to those who actually carried out the restoration. First in the designer and director of the work arch. Rosalia Lojodice, to the Company Co.me.st. Giuseppe Storelli and all the workers intervened with competence and generosity.

Sac. Sergio Pellegrini, pastor

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/24/santa-maria-greca-corato/

Luisa Piccarreta – 2005 Congress, Corato Italy

Luisa Piccarreta – 2005 Congress, Corato Italy 2005

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2014/03/24/luisa-piccarreta-2005-congress-corato-italy/