Practical Faith Aka Wasting Your Life…

Practical Faith Aka Wasting Your Life…

From Wikipedia…

Fulton John Sheen was an American archbishop of the Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio. Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria in 1919, Sheen quickly became a renowned theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in 1923. He went on to teach theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of America as well as acting as a parish priest before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951. He held this position until 1966 when he was made the Bishop of Rochester. He resigned in 1969 as his 75th birthday approached, and was made the archbishop of the titular see of Newport, Wales.  Ends.

The archbishop has clearly made a serious attempt to connect the Gospels in a very practical way with everyday life; he’s worked hard to make the young people in his audience aware of the missionary nature of their Christian vocation – that is, he is teaching the truth that they are responsible for showing Christ to others.  Is this typical of sermons today… or has something been lost?

Comments (17)

  • Michaela

    Hilarious and profound! What a fantastic prelate Archbishop Fulton Sheen was. RIP!

    September 12, 2021 at 7:44 am
    • Lily


      I agree about “hilarious” – he has a great sense of humour.

      September 12, 2021 at 6:36 pm
    • editor

      Michaela & Lily,

      Yes, “hilarious and profound” sums up the Archbishop’s talk perfectly.

      September 12, 2021 at 8:27 pm
  • Athanasius


    I agree, I think he puts most prelates to shame today by his obvious love for Our Lord and His Church. With Modernism came gross ignorance of the supernatural and the reason for our existence on this earth.

    September 12, 2021 at 12:35 pm
    • Laura


      I’ve asked around and it surprises me that Bishop Sheen went along with the new Mass, didn’t stick with the old. Do you think I’m right in saying that this would be because he only experienced the changes in their early stages, that if he was here now, he’d be another Archbishop Vigano?

      September 12, 2021 at 7:51 pm
      • editor


        Amazingly, only today I said much the same as you have written here to a friend. Just as most of the laity (my now ashamed self included) went along with the new Mass etc assuming the best of our superiors, so, I suspect did many prelates, Fulton Sheen included. I think if he were with us today, he’d be on our side and, undoubtedly, signed up to comment on this blog 😀

        September 12, 2021 at 8:31 pm
      • Athanasius


        Sadly, Bishop Sheen did go along with the changes, including the New Mass. Indeed, my understanding is that he went so far as to warn one lady against Archbishop Lefebvre and his SSPX. I also understand from previous research that a lot of the ladies who worked in and around the diocesan offices in the late 1960s and early 70s were not exactly the most modestly dressed.

        He was a good Archbishop in so many respects, especially in his sermons, but it seems his fame and the position of authority he held caused him to lose sight of what was going on all around him in the Church. Either that or he saw it but was not prepared to sacrifice everything to oppose it. I was so greatly disappointed when I researched and found these things out. Still, we take the good for his life, which is that he was a very good preacher who never preached the heresy a lot of his confreres were preaching. I think deep down he knew and was very unhappy with what was happening in the Church.

        September 12, 2021 at 9:15 pm
    • editor


      Never a truer word – it would be a great use of episcopal time to devote an hour each day to watching Fulton Sheen sermons and talks on video. It’s called “fun learning” these days!

      September 12, 2021 at 8:28 pm
  • Josephine

    Fantastic talk. How much interesting stuff he packed in there, both humour and serious Gospel reflections.

    “has something been lost” in modern preaching – yes, I’d say so. I can’t remember ever hearing an informed sermon like that delivered so convincingly. There we see and hear a bishop who is also a believer!

    September 12, 2021 at 6:28 pm
    • editor


      If only priests knew how powerful their words can be, when faithfully explaining the Gospel. Fulton Sheen knows how to bring the Gospel to life, using his knowledge of the culture of the day, not to mention human nature!

      September 12, 2021 at 8:33 pm
  • Laura

    I agree – Bishop Fulton Sheen puts modern bishops completely to shame. He is obviously full of the love of God and zeal to teach the faith.

    I love his humour, as well. It’s not the jarring “joke” type of humour you sometimes get at the new Mass, but it is worked into the narrative of the talk or sermon. I think he is speaking in a school (the bells is a clue, LOL!)

    September 12, 2021 at 7:49 pm
  • Nicky

    I’ve been a Fulton Sheen fan for many years now. I always recommend his book, Life of Christ, to everyone who is interested in solid spiritual reading. His knowledge of the way of life at the time of Christ makes it a really superb read. It’s a deeply spiritual book.

    I loved his talk on “Wasting Your Life”. As others have said it is very profound but with lots of humour. I’m sure the kids in his audience will remember that talk even today.

    September 12, 2021 at 8:02 pm
    • editor


      You’ve been visiting this blog long enough to know that I seldom miss an opportunity to advertise that same book – it’s one of my all-time favourites. The Bishop recounts the Gospel content in a lively way, with many profound observations – it really is a “must have” in the spiritual reading department.

      September 12, 2021 at 8:36 pm
  • RCAVictor

    It took me a while to figure out what the point of this talk was…and I think it took good Bishop Sheen a while to get to that point, but it seems he was speaking to a group of school children and trying to be entertaining and a teacher at the same time. Three things struck me as strange: one, he was wearing cardinal red (or so it seemed). Two, the crucifix around his neck looked like one of those modern downplays of a real crucifix. Perhaps a sign of his surrender to Vatican II, I don’t know. Three, I’m used to seeing and hearing the priest make the sign of the cross, with the accompanying blessing, after the sermon, not “God love you.”

    (I also had trouble figuring out what the story of David pouring out the water of Bethlehem had to do with the sermon message. It seems David was offering it to the Lord because the 3 men retrieved it at the peril of their lives, but wasn’t it the three soldiers who “went the extra mile,” not David?).

    That said, the message was outstanding (or, I should say, what I got from the message): when it comes to loving God and neighbor, don’t hold back, and instead of worrying about consequences or making calculations, keep your eyes on the Lord. Unfortunately, I’m one of those who worries about consequences and makes calculations.

    September 12, 2021 at 11:38 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      I thought the talk (it wasn’t a sermon in Church, from what I can gather) was imaginative in that he was identifying “waste” as people would normally see it, and showing how it is, in spiritual terms, generosity, giving to God without counting the cost (to quote St Ignatius!) In other words, “wasting your life” in this context means being generous with your time, talents, energy, you name it, for God, to do God’s will and work, to give yourself to the apostolate in one way or another, without stinting.

      I’m not informed enough about vestments etc. to comment on the “cardinal red”. Nor did I notice anything untoward about the crucifix – I don’t remember noticing it, to be honest. I can be very unobservant to the point where I’m on record as hoping I’m never called as a witness to a crime in any trial. I’d sooner be the Judge 😀

      Your concluding sentence interests me – I wonder if you pay too much attention to details that may or may not matter, and that is a cause of your concerns about consequences and making calculations etc? Just a thought. I do have the odd one!

      September 13, 2021 at 10:32 am
      • RCAVictor


        Let me put it this way: I’m not likely to be jumping out of the boat and trying to walk on water towards Our Lord any time soon. That is, unless He gives me the courage and faith to do so…

        September 13, 2021 at 3:05 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Unless He sends me a first class swimming instructor, I won’t be trying to walk on water either – believe me 😀

        September 13, 2021 at 3:58 pm

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