Wednesday 18th July 2018

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review . . . Unity Of Friendship, Charity, And Family

November 29, 2017 Featured Today No Comments

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN

Go to Heaven: A Spiritual Roadmap to Eternity by Fulton J. Sheen (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2017), 250 pp.; $16.95. Available at www.ignatius.com or call 1-800-651-1531.

A reprint of a book first published in 1949, this masterpiece, like any great spiritual classic, provides riches for the mind as it elucidates the timeless teachings of the Church, serves as an eloquent apologia for the many doctrines of the Catholic faith, offers the best catechesis for adults inspired to enter the one true Church, and makes Christianity a living religion abounding in wisdom, love, and joy.
No matter how much a person knows or loves his faith, he will gain greater depth of comprehension and deeper appreciation for the pearl of great price.
Examining modern man’s struggles in the first chapter, Sheen diagnoses man’s peculiar dilemma as an alienation from himself, his neighbor, and God. Instead of a unity of body and soul and mind and heart — an integrated person ordered by the hierarchy of the intellect governing the passions and the soul ruling the body — man is “so dissociated, so alienated from himself that he sees himself less as a personality than as a battlefield where a civil war rages between a thousand and one conflicting loyalties.”
These tensions that Sheen observed in the 1950s have their updated versions in such contemporary conflicts as career versus family, modern ideologies versus the Church’s social teachings, secular schools versus Catholic education, and moral relativism versus the unchanging teachings of the Church’s Magisterium.
Sheen associates modern man’s alienation from his neighbor with a loss of tradition and of “the accumulated heritage of the centuries.” Alienation manifests itself not only in world wars and class conflicts but also in avarice and self-interest that govern economic policies.
When Christian teaching that enjoins charity and love of neighbor no longer shapes politics, economics, or human relationships, then it follows that “it is only a step from refusing to live with others to refusing to live for others.” Divorce, abortion, and euthanasia provide further contemporary expressions of this alienation from others, forms of disorder that violate the natural unity of friendship, charity, and family.
“No divided is person is happy,” Sheen writes, as alienation from self then erupts into conflict with others and with God: “A person with a fight inside itself will soon have a fight outside itself with others.” This same person will then incite a quarrel with God.
Dogmatic atheism to Sheen reflects self-hatred and rejection of moral certainties — a desperate attempt to vilify religion by hatred in order “to escape the irrationality of godlessness.” This modern malaise Sheen identifies with contemporary man’s unwillingness to embrace what he calls “the romance of repetition” — the life of vocation “consecrated to a single purpose and a final end” instead of the pursuit of novelties, thrills, and glamour.
This romance of repetition does not mean a monotonous existence but a life centered in essential priorities and primary duties that require regular, habitual care and vigilance: “The Christian finds a thrill in repetition because he has a fixed goal; the modern pagan finds repetition monotonous because he has never decided for himself the purpose of living.”
The second chapter explains the way all this discord caused by sin and crime that produce alienation undergoes transformation. Asking “Could that discord be stopped?” Sheen answers “Not by man himself,” but only by “the Eternal coming out of His agelessness into time” can a new order (“a new symphony”) remove the dissonance of strife and bring harmony. Like a generous father or brother who pays for the debts of a prodigal son, “Our Lord takes upon himself all the discords, disharmonies, all the sins, guilts, and blasphemies of man, as if he himself were guilty.”
Unlike Socrates, Buddha, or Confucius, Christ does not qualify simply as a wise philosopher or good man but a second Adam, “the man through whom the human race starts all over again.”
Christ reeducates a world dominated by security, revenge, popularity, pleasure, lust, war, and comfort by the sublime teaching of the Beatitudes that confront all the glib clichés about happiness. This new vision to reorder the world fearlessly declares the heroic greatness of a lofty morality enjoining man “to love Him above parents, to believe in Him even in the face of persecution, to be ready to sacrifice our bodies to save our souls in union with Him.” Christ did not tolerate sin until it became intolerable, but ordered that the evil tree be cut immediately lest it produce bitter fruit.
Nothing in Christ’s teaching accommodates mediocrity or the lowest common denominator. Returning love for hate, carrying the cross rather than returning evil for evil, and forgiving seventy times seven have no moral equivalents in philosophy or other religions.
Christ exposed the cant of worldly wisdom with the expression “You have heard” (Moses allowed divorce) only to refute it with the hard truths of divine authority: “What God has joined, let no man put asunder.” Thus Christ came to heal fallen human nature, lift man beyond the world, the flesh, and the Devil, and to bless man with the divine life of eternal happiness — “to sentence the old man in us to death.”
This new man that Christ forms grows in divine life by the sacraments that bestow supernatural gifts. All the difference in the world separates those who dwell in a state of grace from those devoid of this blessing. This spiritual rebirth does not follow any course of evolution or gradual change, “some push from below, but a gift from above.”
As Sheen explains with a perfect analogy, just as minerals pass into plant life and plants enter animal stomachs and animal flesh goes into human bodies, man himself enjoys “the privilege of being assimilated into higher power” effected by sacramental grace. As plants die when consumed by animals and animals perish when eaten by man, men enter into divine life when they die and are reborn: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”
To live a sacramental life, man must die to the lower life of worldly standards, just as man gains his life by losing it according to Christ’s teaching.
Through the state of grace bestowed by the sacraments, the mind grows in light, the will grows in love, and the soul grows in faith. Two persons with the same education and intelligence — one with the knowledge of faith and the other devoid of sacramental grace — both beholding the Host on the altar will perceive different realities: “The one sees bread, the other sees Christ, not, of course with the eyes of the flesh, but with the eyes of faith.”
Faith, explains Sheen, perfects reason in the way a telescope improves vision. Faith is never blind but founded on the authority and word of God, and faith expands the intelligence to comprehend the truths that unaided human reason cannot fathom.
To enter, then, into this higher life of grace and faith, man needs incorporation into the life of God and the Mystical Body of His Church. Just as Christ became incarnate in the body of His Blessed Mother, He dwells in the Mystical Body of His Holy Church: “Christ is living now! He is teaching now, governing now, sanctifying now.”
Like a branch of a tree, man is a cell in that Mystical Body, receiving the Bread of Life, the strength to carry crosses, and the medicine that heals the wounds of sin. This new life in God perfects human life and elevates it supernaturally so that man becomes “a sharer of the divine nature.”
In this elevation of human life into divine life, love rises and grows as manifested in marriage because “the movement of the heart is an upward spiral” as the spouse and child become the gifts of God for whom a person sacrifices, and “the love, which once meant pleasure and self-satisfaction, changes into love for God’s sake.” This purification of love sanctifies and ennobles marriage and instills a “reverence for the mystery of creativeness” in human procreation that imitates the fruitfulness of God’s generosity.
This entire progression into divine life, sacramental grace, and the ascension of love has as its inevitable destination the four last things of death, the final judgment, Heaven, and Hell — the end of human life that sophisticated modern man conveniently ignores, even though “every thought, every deed . . . is registered and recorded.”
When God sees the human soul in the state of grace and sees its conformity to the divine image, God will keep His promise and say, “Come ye blessed of My Father.” When God beholds the soul that does not reflect the image of God because it remains in a state of unrepentant sin, God judges with the words “I know you not.”
While the modern world views Purgatory as an unfounded fictional realm invented by superstition, Sheen explains that Purgatory tempers God’s love with God’s justice to allow for the necessary purification for admission into Heaven. Because nothing “defiled” can enter the heavenly Jerusalem, “Justice demands that nothing unclean, but only the pure of heart shall stand before the face of a pure God.”
Purgatory, however, also is a place where “the love of man tempers the injustice of man,” meaning that the prayers for the dead can atone for all the ingratitude, insults, and injustices the living carelessly inflicted upon the dead when they were alive. The love that was taken for granted, the affection that was not appreciated, and the sacrifices that never received their proper thanksgiving can receive their due when these unspoken words finally express themselves through prayers for the dead as recompense for the “words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”
Purgatory gives consolation for both the living and the dead. For the living it provides one last chance to atone for callous indifference: “Take away Purgatory and how bitter would be our grief for our unkindnesses and how piercing our sorrow for our forgetfulness.” For the dead it brings the joy of knowing they are remembered and cherished in the knowledge that love never dies and love is stronger than death.
To learn of all the chapters in the spiritual life from birth to death, of the adventures of the soul from Baptism to final judgment, and of the mighty acts of God in man’s journey from a fallen world into a heavenly Paradise, this classic by the Venerable Fulton Sheen provides a map like no other and leaves out nothing valuable or essential to know, see, and remember — an education of the highest excellence.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Elects New Superior General

LINCOLN, Neb. — The general chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of apostolic life that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, Monday elected Father Andrzej Komorowski as its next superior general. The July 9…Continue Reading

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently…Continue Reading

Election of the Superior General . . . Society of Saint Pius X

Election of the Superior General On July 11, 2018, Father Davide Pagliarani was elected Superior General, for a mandate of 12 years, by the 4th General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X. The new Superior General is 47…Continue Reading

Paradoxes and indicators of Capella’s and McCarrick’s cases

These days we will find out whether Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, the former advisor to the Washington nunciature that the Vatican sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for possession and distribution of “large quantities” of child pornography, will present an appeal…Continue Reading

Diocese led by pro-gay bishop says it’s ‘up to each parish’ whether to promote homosexuality

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic church in the heart of Appalachia has attracted media attention for the Gay Pride Month banner stretched across its front lawn. The local ordinary, Bishop John Stowe, has a record of collaborating with a…Continue Reading

Al Gore: Pope Francis a ‘moral force’ for solving climate crisis

(Vatican.news) Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, is one of the world’s most vocal defenders of the environment. His 2007 documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, won an Oscar and his Climate Reality Project recently hosted…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops heading to border to tackle family separation issues

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A delegation of Catholic bishops from across the country are heading to the border on Monday. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will lead the delegation in its visit to the…Continue Reading

Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality ‘evil’, McAleese says

The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is “evil”, former president Mary McAleese has said. Speaking ahead of her inaugural participation in the Dublin Pride event on Saturday, where she will march with her son Justin and his husband, the former…Continue Reading

Senate Will Vote Before Elections on Replacing Pro-Abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy

The United States Senate will vote before the elections this November on a replacement for pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made that announcement today shortly after the surprising but welcome announcement that the longtime abortion…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider respond to Pope Francis’ inflight intercommunion comments

ROME, June 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church — even in exceptional cases — by a Protestant or other non-Catholic constitutes a “lie” that betrays the Apostolic tradition and the Church’s constant practice…Continue Reading

German Bishops Publish Intercommunion Handout with a Rhetorical Trick

Today, the German bishops have published their very controversial pastoral handout which allows Protestant spouses of Catholics, in certain cases, to receive Holy Communion. Since Pope Francis, on 21 June, objected to a national bishops’ conference publishing such an official text, the…Continue Reading

Vikings host ‘LGBTQ summit’ to promote ‘inclusion’ in sports

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Minnesota Vikings are hosting a conference and fundraiser today for “LGBTQ inclusion in sports,” the first of its kind in the National Football League (NFL). The event will include speeches, interviews, and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

British pro-lifers say abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ harm women and children

London, England, Jul 12, 2018 / 12:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a decision from the United Kingdom’s High Court, two women are attempting to overturn a ban on prayer and public discussion of abortion near a British abortion clinic. On July 2, the High Court of England and Wales upheld a “buffer zone” imposed by Ealing Council, west London, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. The zone prevents any pro-life gathering or speech, inc

Calligraphers face jail time for not promoting same-sex ‘weddings’

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Arizona calligraphy artists faced with fines and jail time for declining to take part in promoting gay “weddings” are asking the state’s Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the city of Phoenix’s law that compels them create artwork that violates their religious beliefs. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, face up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and three

Bishop Paprocki disagrees with US bishops’ support for unions that fund abortion, LGBT

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, July 11, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Hailed by free speech and religious liberty advocates alike, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that public sector employees can no longer be required to pay mandatory fees to support unions which promote causes and political activities – including abortion – to which they are opposed. The ruling has also exposed a significant rift among the nation’s Catholic bishops. Despite public sector unions’ unabashe

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump’s choice to succeed the pro-abortion, pro-gay Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the president announced Monday night. Trump praised Kavanaugh’s committment to “equal justice under the law” and called him a “brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style.” He is “universally regarded as…one of the finest legal minds of our time.” Kavanaugh formerly clerked for Kennedy. “Justice Kennedy devoted his career to…Continue Reading

Prof fired by Catholic university for defending marriage has huge court win

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, July 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The professor forced out by a Jesuit-run Catholic university for blogging about an undergrad student being assailed by his teacher for his having voiced defense of marriage has won in court. In a landmark decision Friday the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Marquette University violated John McAdams’ right to free speech when it suspended him for writing the blog post, and it ordered the University to restore McAdams immediately with his full rank,…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Federal District Court . . . Orders End To HHS Mandate For Ave Maria Law School

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal district court issued an order Wednesday, July 11 that permanently prevents the federal government from enforcing the HHS mandate against a Catholic law school in Florida represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys. The order also declares that the mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Obama-era mandate…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic … Old And New Tyrannies Borne Of Lust

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s “Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic” column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Book Review… What Man Does Not Reverence, He Will Profane

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Society and Sanity, by Frank Sheed (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2013), 261 pp. $17.95. Available from www.ignatius.com or at 1-800-651-1531. This new edition of Sheed’s 1953 classic work of apologetics brings to mind the famous myth of Procrustes’ bed. The wicked king captures his victims then tortures them if their legs do…Continue Reading

How Vice Can Absorb Virtue

By DONALD DeMARCO Just as the Devil is at war with God, so too, vices are at war with virtue. The Devil wants people to believe that God does not exist. He also wants people to believe that neither does virtue exist. He would like to demolish virtue. One way of achieving this is to…Continue Reading

Henan, China… New Limits Imposed On The Religious Freedom Of Catholics

BEIJING (AsiaNews) — The Chinese government is approving increasingly restrictive measures against Catholics in the central province of Henan. As Eglises d’Asie reports, five new rules have been imposed which include the requirement of religious working in the province to collect data and information on their faithful. A priest from the Diocese of Zhengzhou reports…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Leadership Studies?

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER (Editor’s Note: Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He serves in the Diocese…Continue Reading

Sheep Without A Shepherd

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Jer. 23:1-6 Eph. 2:13-18 Mark 6:30-34 In the first reading today, God speaks a word of woe through the Prophet Jeremiah to the shepherds who mislead the Lord’s flock entrusted to their care. God says that these shepherds scattered the flock and drove them away and did not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . In Death The Church Gives Everything

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Funerals, as many priests have learned, can often be pastorally challenging and problematic episodes. Grieving family members who are not dealing with death on a regular basis by practicing their faith are suddenly confronted with its reality upon the passing of a parent or other family member. Parents who have to bury a child sometimes…Continue Reading

Martin Luther… The Man And The Myth

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 (Editor’s Note: As this October marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Raymond de Souza is taking a break from his usual apologetics to correct the popular image of Luther.) + + + In the last article, I quoted from…Continue Reading

The Anatomy Of A Moral Act

By DON FIER Last week, as we considered the role that human freedom plays in the economy of salvation, it was immediately acknowledged that “man’s freedom is limited and fallible” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1739). Free will, so wondrously bestowed upon man as an essential element of his great dignity of being created “in the image and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Veronica Giuliani

By CAROLE BRESLIN In July, the month of the Precious Blood, the Catholic Church remembers saints by the name of Veronica. On July 12, the memorial of Veronica (meaning “true image”), the saint from the first century who presented her veil to wipe the face of Jesus, is celebrated. Three days before that, on July 9, St. Veronica Giuliani is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord had a special love for the poor when He walked this earth. At one time He rebuked one of the apostles, saying, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11). Rather than avoiding the destitute or shun the homeless, Christians are called to love them as we love ourselves. At the beginning of…Continue Reading