ARCHBISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN’S MESSAGES – LENTEN SEASON (2)
 The Kingdom within. You may be dirty with work, but your hearts are clean. You may not have a college degree, but you know more than many college professors who have not yet learned why they are here or where they are going.
You may be the tramp in the street, the old woman in the breadlines, the little child in the orphanage, but because you know God made you and act on that belief, you know more than Einstein – a thousand times more. You know THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS. You looked for happiness not on the outside in material circumstances, but on the inside – for the “Kingdom of God is within you.”
 Worshipping God. God does not need praise, but we need to give it. Little girls at springtime often gather dandelions and give them to their mothers. Now the mothers do not need the dandelions. But the child needs to give them. By accepting the dandelions, the mother is training the child in love, kindness and obedience. Not to give a gift to the mother, however humble the gift, would mean the child was wanting in affection and obedience.
God does not need our praise; we need to give it. God pretends to need us, but we really need Him for our perfection.
 Reforming Ourselves. Everyone else who ever lived told us how to reform the world. But Our Lord told us how to reform ourselves. He told us the world can be made better only by making ourselves better. Everyone else told us how to make the road smoother. Our Lord told us to turn straight around and take a new road, to renounce what seemed good, pick up what had been thrown away, worship that which was burned, learn that which seemed foolish, crucify not our enemies but our lower selves, purge our hearts, hate hatred, love executioners, transform our souls and answer with a strong “No” of Christ to the foolish “Yes” of the world.
 Repentance: A Fresh Start. Repentance, the most ancient of Lenten themes, is easily misunderstood by Christians today. In a world of instant communications, instant food, instant diets and instant-beauty aids, we often think of repentance as instantaneous transformation. We are rotten on moment, pure the next. This is bad psychology, because it leads us to think God accepts us only after and because we have reformed. It leads also to discouragement because we soon see how quickly we fail after we had repented. The Prodigal Son did not say in himself: “I know what I will do. I will work myself back up by my own bootstraps, make myself acceptable again and then I will return to my father.” No, he went back a repentant, but not yet fully reformed, prodigal. We must think of repentance as a beginning rather than an ending, as a change of heart that only gradually leads to a change of ways. Repentant sinners are still sinners, but the difference is, they no longer want to be sinners.
 Christ wants Repentance. Even the most casual reader of the New Testament must be impressed by the importance placed on repentance. The first sermon Christ preached was on the subject of repentance: “From that day Jesus began to proclaim the message, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is upon you.” The first sermon of Peter was on repentance; the first sermon of Paul was on repentance; the sermon Christ preached before ascending to heaven was the theme of His first. Repentance is the burden of the New Testament teaching.
Source: Path to Peace [excerpted from the works of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen by James E. Adams for Creative Communications for the Parish, St. Louis, MO: 1985]
Jakarta, March 29, 2011 [The 3rd Week of Lent]
The Christian Pilgrim (compiler)