Monday, March 16, 2015

Characters of the Passion (Angelico Press)

This week at Stuart's Study, I'll be highlighting one of the most well known and beloved American Catholics in recent history, Fulton Sheen. That means that I will be reviewing three of his recently re-released works. During this week, I encourage you to discover other works of his, re-listen to his old programs, and pray that his cause for canonization will be re-opened. Now, let us begin with the first review - Characters of the Passion.

Characters of the Passion is a brief (72 page) book perfect for reading and reflecting through Lent or Holy Week. It is divided into seven chapters and focuses on the following people - Peter; Judas; Pilate; Herod; Claudia and Herodias; and Barabbas and the Thieves. It concludes with a brief reflection on the Scars of our Lord and how Christ can bring us hope if we but believe He is God and follow Him.

The most interesting chapter to me dealt with Herod, not the Herod who killed all the males of Israel when Jesus was a baby, but Herod's son - the one who had John the Baptist beheaded. We don't think of Herod too much when it comes to the Passion, but he was there. After Jesus is held before Pilate, he is then sent to Herod. Sheen points out that Herod was descended from Esau, makes an interesting comparison between the two, and explains why Herod acts the way he does. He then takes the time to answer one of the great questions of the Passion. Why did Jesus stand silent before Herod? I'd tell you, but you'll have to buy the book and find out.

It's amazing to read a book that is almost sixty years old and have the message still be pertinent to today. Fulton Sheen always seems to accomplish that though. His words prove timeless, because they contain truth, and truth is never timeless. There are a lot more characters that could have been discussed including Mary, Simon of Cyrene, and Joseph of Arimathea, just to name a few. Why they weren't, I do not know. But the fact that they weren't doesn't lessen the book at all. Highly recommended!

This book was provided to me for free by Angelico Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here! Also, be sure to check out their other Sheen titles - A Brief Life of ChristThe Cross and the Beatitudes, and Seven Words of Jesus and Mary.