Friday, October 23, 2015

The Enduring Faith and Timeless Truths of Fulton Sheen (Servant Books)

When you talk about great Catholics in U.S. history, Archbishop Fulton Sheen is almost always one of the first names mentioned. He just had a way of teaching the faith that made it so simple to understand, which is quite remarkable because people with his level of brilliance usually have a hard time of relating their knowledge to everyone else. In addition to his intellect, I also appreciated his honesty. He was never afraid to mince words and tell people that they were sinning. In our modern culture, where it seems like there is no right or wrong, we could use a man like him again. He was also a big reason why I am Catholic today. I remember watching his television show, Life is Worth Living, and listening to talks of his both during my road to Catholicism and still to this day. His messages truly are timeless. Author Mark J. Zia thinks so as well and it is demonstrated in his book The Enduring Faith and Timeless Truths of Fulton Sheen.

Zia begins his introduction by telling us that there are five aspects of Sheen that are relevant today and make his life attractive to us. They are as follows:

1. He was a contemporary American.
2. His sense of humor was legendary.
3. He was exceedingly wise.
4. He was a Catholic bishop.
5. His cooperation's with God's grace was crucial to the success of his ministry.

Zia then uses life stories and massive amounts of quotations of Sheen to instruct us on matters of the faith, such as Mary, the priesthood, the pope, the Eucharist, Confession, etc. The most interesting chapter to me was Chapter Three: On Suffering and Death.The chapter begins by telling of a trying ten years in Sheen's life. Sheen's superior and once friend, Cardinal Spellman was grooming Sheen to one day take his spot as Cardinal. However, in 1957, Spellman demanded that Sheen hand over funds to him, which were allotted to the poor. Sheen refused and Spellman vowed and delivered revenge. It was during this period of revenge in which Sheen wrote The Life of Christ, an amazing book and one that changed my life reading it. Also in this chapter is a beautiful exposition on the two thieves who were crucified on either side of Jesus. I'd recommend buying the book for this alone, but I am biased toward that Scriptural passage as I claim the Good Thief as my Confirmation saint.

This brief book is an excellent introduction to Fulton Sheen and his teachings. I was surprised by how much I learned about the man, as I considered myself well-versed in who he was. If you would like to better know this great man, what he taught, and what he believed I can think of no better book to start with than this one. May this book be used to inspire the next generation of American Catholics, and may Sheen's cause for canonization be re-opened and soon!

This book was provided to me for free by Franciscan Media in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!