For this post during the week of Christmas I would like to share with you a short quotation from the late Bishop Fulton Sheen whose cause is being considered for canonized sainthood.
“What a lesson nature teaches about selflessness! Clouds, playing like lambs in the pastures of the sky, never keep their treasures of moisture to themselves, but pour them out in the beautiful benediction of rain to a thirsty earth. No drop of water leads a selfish life. There is no breeze without its mission. Human lives were not sent into this world as ornaments. God has prettier things for that purpose. As the bird that sings for others gladdens its own heart with song, as rivers flee the decay of stagnant self-content to service the mighty ocean, as the sun burns itself out to light a world, so does everything – man included – become good by doing good to others.
But if we are to do good to others, they must be loved for God’s sake. No moral profit comes from doing good to another because “she can get it for us wholesale” or from giving gifts to others because of the pleasure they give us. There is not even great merit in doing good to those who love us. “If you love those who love you, what reward is there in that? Do not sinners do the same?” (Luke 6:32). The greatest spiritual profit comes from loving those who hate us, and from giving gifts and dinners to those who cannot give anything in return, for then recompense will be made in the Kingdom of heaven (cf Luke 14:12-14).”
This is just what God the Father has done for us by sending to us His only begotten Son, we who have nothing except that which is already His, we who are not always His friend but have been His betrayer by our sins. Yet He gives us Jesus anyway for He loves us to such a perfect extent. What then should be our response to this perfect love? Shouldn’t it be the same as Mary’s at the annunciation? Shouldn’t we say yes to God with our whole selves ? This is one of the reasons why I think the national holiday of Thanksgiving is appropriately placed the month before Christmas and it initiates Advent with a right spirit of thankfulness. Thank you God for your wondrous, perfect and Holy goodness. Thank you God for redeeming us in Christ. Thank you God. Alleluia!
A great Christmas Message from Bishop Fulton Sheen prepared by Catholic speakers Mathew Arnold and Terry Barber: Saint Joe Podcast – God Love You – Christ Was Pre-Announced
- Way to Inner Peace, Fulton J. Sheen, Alba House NY – Society of Saint Paul Inc., 1995 [↩]
- The Compendium to the Catechism says that our response to God should be an “obedience of faith, which means the full surrender of ourselves to God and the acceptance of his truth, insofar as it is guaranteed by the One who is Truth itself.” CCC 142-143 [↩]