Thursday, February 1, 2018

Go to Heaven (Ignatius Press)

Archbishop Fulton Sheen is a man that needs no introduction. In addition to being a great priest and bishop, he was also a TV "personality" that shared the Catholic faith with millions and a prolific author, whose message still rings true today. Ignatius Press recently reprinted one of his lesser known works entitled Go to Heaven. The title was inspired by a musing Sheen once made about hearing so often the expression "Go to Hell," but never hearing someone say "Go to Heaven." With this work, he hopes to provide a road map for the reader on how to choose Heaven in the life you are currently living, and not taking for granted the serious reality of Hell.

The book begins by examining how man has changed over the years. In the past, man looked to nature to discover God. Instead of seeing all the beauty and complexity that is in the world around them, man now discovers God in man's own distorted nature. This leads to a chapter on how God helps our disordered mind and will. We are then presented chapters on grace and faith and their roles in the Christian life. Sheen beautifully explains that "Grace is the life of God among men," and "Grace makes man more than a 'new creature', and infinitely higher than his former condition." We also learn about how difficult it is to live a Christian life, what Mary's role in the Church is, and the final choice of Heaven or Hell.

Archbishop Sheen's genius is on full display with this work. In fact, if you have ever seen or heard him on TV, you can hear his voice coming off the pages as you read his words. When you think about how long ago this book was written (over 50 years), it is remarkable how accurate and relevant it still is today. The book poignantly explains the struggle of man in his fallen nature and gives him a map on how to find ultimate and eternal happiness. Will the journey be easy? No. Will there be slips and falls and struggles along the way? Most definitely! But like the caring shepherd he was, Sheen wants to ensure as many sheep make it home as possible. Like all of his works, I cannot recommend this one enough!

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