“If I Were Not A Catholic …” (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)


Jakarta, 4 September 2015

A Christian Pilgrim


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I don’t want my life to be mine, I want it to be Christ’s. …… (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)


Jakarta, 13 August 2015

A Christian Pilgrim


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GRANTED there is despair, man is the only creature who can experience it, and as Kierkegaard has so well said, “It takes eternity to make a man despair.” Chickens never have any complexes, roosters no psychoses. No pigs have ever had an Oedipus complex and no hippotamus an Electra complex. Even the best of Christians have a sense of “the absence of God,” particularly when they sin. It is not eh consciousness of breaking the law that disturbs their soul and gives them something of this uneasiness well described by modern poets; rather, it comes from having wounded Someone we love. This is why St. Paul repeatedly says, “Grieve not the Spirit”; the one who lives in the presence of God has an intimate sense of communion with Him, and anything wrong disturbs that communion. In fact, it creates a far greater uneasiness than any atheist could ever know because the Christian has had a greater love. 

Picture two men marrying two old shrews. One of them had been married before to a beautiful young woman who had died. The other had been married. Which of the two suffered more? Obviously the one who knew the better love. Thus there is a despair, and unhappiness, and uneasiness in the soul of a Christian as well as in the soul of an atheist, but the uneasiness in the soul of the Christian is greater, for he had the greater love. 

Note: Taken from Bill Adler (Editor), THE WIT & WISDOM OF BISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN, Garden City, New York: IMAGE BOOKS, 1969, pages 99-100. 

Jakarta, 22 November 2012


A Christian Pilgrim





OUR hungry modern world needs to meditate deeply on this oneness of the ideal with the very Person of Christ. Since the middle of the nineteenth century human hearts have been trying to live on system; on Humanitarianism, the Religion of Modernism, the Religion of Science, the Religion of Humanism, the Religion of Beauty, Freudianism, Theosophism, Spiritualism, Idealism – on a thousand and one mixtures of musty rationalism, moldy superstition, worm-eaten necromancy, soured philanthropy, simian symbolism, which have made mysterious mystics out of men only for a passing hour. But these frozen abstractions cannot satisfy a heart, for a heart cannot live on a system about Truth, or a theory about Love, or an hypothesis about Life. The human heart can live only on love. There is only one thing a human heart can love – and that is a Person. Make that Person one with the Way to be followed, one with the Truth to be known, one with the Life to be lived, and that Way, that Truth, and that Life will pull at a thousand heartstrings, drawing from them the sweet symphony of love. 

Such is the Person of Our Blessed Lord Who alone, of all men, combines the Ideal and the Historical in His own Person. Because He is the Ideal there is the romance of love about His Person; because He is an historical Person there is the truth about that romance. Everyone else told a romance. Our Lord lived it. 

Note: Taken from Bill Adler (Editor), THE WIT & WISDOM OF BISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN, Garden City, New York: IMAGE BOOKS, 1969, pages 94-95. 

Palembang, South Sumatera, 19 November 2012 


A Christian Pilgrim





ONE of the really great needs of our own day is silence. Modern life seems to thrive on a fondness for noise, and by noise I mean not only the staccato barbarism of jazz, or the bleating and moaning of a saxophone orchrestra, bugt also, and principally, the excessive desire for that which distracts – love of amusements, constant goings and comings, excitements and thrills, and movement for the mere sake of movement. What is the reason for this fondness of noise? It is not due to any inherent love of that which is loud, for people generally prefer that which is soft and refined. Rather, the reason is to be found in the great desire on the part of human beings to do the impossible – namely, to escape from themselves. They do not like to be with themselves because they are not pleased with themselves; they do not like to be alone with their conscience because their conscience reproves and carries on an unbearable repartee. They do not like to be quiet …… They do not like to be silent because God’s voice is like a whisper and it cannot be heard in the tumult of the city streets. These are some of the reasons why the modern world loves noise, and they are all resolvable to this: noise drowns God’s voice and stupefies conscience. 

Note: Taken from Bill Adler, THE WIT & WISDOM OF BISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN, Garden City, New York: IMAGE BOOKS, 1969, page 137. 

Jakarta, 3 November 2012 

A Christian Pilgrim 




Suffering is bearable if there is someone we love. No human being is free to decide whether he will go through life without suffering and trial. These constitute as much the essence of life as shadows resulting from sunlight. Our choice is only to decide how we will react to them. Some trials in marriage are of such a magnitude that no human remedy can help; it is then that one must turn to God and the fullness of His love. 


Beauty in a woman and strength in a man are two of the most evident spurs to love. Physical beauty and vitality increase vigor in each other, but it is to be noticed that beauty in a woman and strength in a man are given by God to serve the purposes of allurement. They come at that age of life when men and women are urged to marry one another. They are not permanent possessions. They are something like the frosting on a cake, or like the electric starter of an automobile motor. If love were based only on the fact that she is a model and he is a fullback on a football team, marriage would never endure. But just as the frosting on the cake leads to the cake itself, so too do these allurements pass on to greater treasures. 

Once, on congratulating a wife who had a very handsome husband, we heard her reply, “I no longer notice that he is handsome; I notice now that he has greater qualities.” 


Each instinct and passion of man is amoral; it is only the abuse of these passions that makes them wrong. There is nothing wrong about hunger, but there is something wrong about gluttony; there is no sin in thirst, but there is a sin in drunkenness; there is nothing wrong with a man who seeks economic security, but there is something wrong with a man who is avaricious; there is nothing to be despised in knowledge, but there is something to be condemned in pride; there is nothing wrong with the flesh, but there is something wrong in the abuse of the flesh. Just as dirt is matter in the wrong place, so sin is flesh in the wrong place. Sex has its place in that area of life designed for its fruition, but the misuse of it outside of that natural and supernatural bond is wrong. 


…… though the love of man differs from an animal, the love that is in the soul is related to a body. Nothing that exists in the mind ever came, at least in its humble beginnings, to be a part of knowledge except through the senses. Even the purest and sublimest loves of the soul cannot express themselves except in symbols derived in part from the body. Furthermore, the greatest of all thinkers, Thomas Aquinas, said that there is no moment in which the body and soul are in closer relation and in which there is a greater repercussion of one on the other than in the union of husband and wife. 

…… inasmuch as love involves both body and soul, it follows that there are two possible kinds of error. One is the Victorian error, which emphasized the soul in love without the body; the other is the Freudian error, which emphasized the body without the soul. Within a century the world has passed from one extreme, in which sex was a subject nobody could talk about, to our present period, where people can talk about nothing else. 


Note: Taken from Bill Adler (Editor), “The Wit & Wisdom of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen”, Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1969, pages 25-27,29. 

Jakarta, 15 May 2012 

A Christian Pilgrim 




It is not true that human relations are matters of instinct and in particular of the sex instinct. Man is not a creature of instincts like an animal. Sinece he is a rational creature, his instincts are to be directed reasonably. Most men have a hunting instinct, but this does not give them a right to shoot their mothers-in-law. There are times, too, when a instinct has to be suppressed; a husband must often suppress an instinct for his wife’s sake, and the wife must suppress an instinct for her husband’s sake. 

Nor is it any truer to say that marriage is based on sex adjustment than that education is based on teacher-student adjustment. Marriage is based on love, not sex, sex being one of the means God has instituted for the deepening of love between husband and wife. Sex is biological and has its definite zones of satisfaction; under certain circumstances, love includes all of these, but it is directed to the totality of the person loved – his or her mind, body, soul. To make marriage a matter of sex adjustment is to reduce human beings to the level of jackals and the ethics of the home to the practices of a barnyard. Animals feel, but man loves. 


Why is it that lovers always speak of “our love” and understand it as something more than the addition of the love of each? They feel themselves as pulled together by some bond outside of them, so that instead of two in love there seem to be three. There is the beloved, the lover, and love. What is this but a reflection of the Triune God, where Lover, Beloved, and God are one? 

Why is it that everything becomes part of their love? Moon and stars, flowers and the birds, evening skies, waterfalls, and the fresh breath of springtime all seem to be ministers to their love. This can only be because love is already in them, put there as they fell from the hand of Uncreated Love. Lovers have better vision than others, and that is why they can see in things the love God put there. 


To be the victim of an unhappy marriage does not necessarily mean one is deprived of happiness. There are levels of happiness. One is the level of the flesh, another the level of the mind, another the level of the Divine. The law running through the universe is that no one ever mounts to a higher life without dying to a lower one. Love either mounts it or it dies. When the roadway of the flesh is blocked, the highway of the spirit can be opened. What is true in marriage is also true in the spiritual life. Souls dedicated to God often have the “dark night of the body.” In both cases the acceptance of trials and sacrifice is the condition of finding richer areas of love. 


Note: Taken from Bill Adler (Editor), “The Wit & Wisdom of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen”, Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1969, pages 22-24. 

Jakarta, 4 May 2012 

A Christian Pilgrim