‘Sculpting’ Our Souls During Lent: 3 Quotes from Ven. Fulton Sheen

sculptor-work-10630486

“A sculptor who wishes to carve a figure out of a block uses his chisel, first cutting away great chunks of marble, then smaller pieces, until he finally reaches a point where only a brush of hand is needed to reveal the figure. In the same way, the soul has to undergo tremendous mortifications at first, and then more refined detachments, until finally its Divine image is revealed. Because mortification is recognised as a practice of death, there is fittingly inscribed on the tomb of Don Scotus: ‘Bis Mortus; Semel Sepiltus’ (twice died, but buried only once). When we die to something [selfish or worldly], something [pure and virtuous] comes alive within us. If we die to self, charity comes alive; if we die to pride, service comes alive; if we die to lust, reverence for personality comes alive; if we die to anger, love comes alive…

We can think of Lent as a time to eradicate evil or cultivate virtue, a time to pull up weeds or to plant good seeds. Which is better is clear, for the Christian ideal is always positive rather than negative. A person is great not by the ferocity of his hatred of evil, but by the intensity of his love for God. Asceticism and mortification are not the ends of a Christian life; they are only the means. The end is charity. Penance merely makes an opening in our ego in which the Light of God can pour. As we deflate ourselves, God fills us. And it is GOD’s arrival that is the important event…

Never forget that there are only two philosophies to rule your life: the one of the Cross, which starts with the fast and ends with the feast. The other of Satan, which starts with the feast and ends with the headache.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to ‘Sculpting’ Our Souls During Lent: 3 Quotes from Ven. Fulton Sheen

  1. Toadspittle says:

    “Never forget that there are only two philosophies to rule your life: the one of the Cross, which starts with the fast and ends with the feast. The other of Satan, which starts with the feast and ends with the headache.”

    Oh, well.
    There go the philosophies of Socrates, Plato and the other ancient Greeks, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Shintoism, Descartes, Kant, Hume, Wittgenstein, Native American Indians, Aztecs, Incas…and… Islam.
    …The stunning arrogance.

    (Nice snap of the sculptor. Left thumb in the correct position.)

  2. domenicswife says:

    Toadspittle, it’s a Catholic blog post. Fulton Sheen was a Catholic bishop, talking to Catholics about living as Catholics….which is why those would be the philosophies to rule their lives. He didn’t say there weren’t any other philosophies ever in the world.

    Stunning ignorance. Yes.

  3. Toadspittle says:

    Yes, Domenicswife*.
    I know it’s a Catholic blog post.
    But there is the rest of the planet to consider. Even for a American bishop.
    After all, “What knows he (or she, of course) of Catholic blog posts – who only Catholic blog posts knows?”

    *Domenic?

  4. domenicswife says:

    Once again, totally missing the point.
    Spittle*

    *Spittle?

  5. mkenny114 says:

    Another great pre-Lenten post! Amazing coincidence though – I was watching an episode of ‘Life is Worth Living’ on Character Building just yesterday, where he used the analogy of the sculptor and a piece of marble. Great advice, as are the other two quotes 🙂

  6. crow says:

    It seems you already have the headache, Mr Spittle.

  7. Toadspittle says:

    Indeed I do, Crow. Had it all my life. Won’t bother naming it.

    And I’ve been reflecting on this post and see that domenicswife raises an interesting point, which I naturally missed at first, being thick and all.

    Yes, Ven. Sheen was indeed preaching talking to the choir when he said this, presumably around the 50’s , when Toad was a toadpole of around 14 or so. Those were the Good Old Days, when Catholic youngsters like him lived in a stultifying, hermostatically controlled bubble of 24 hour, non-stop Catholicism, repression, Hell, Sin and Damnation, from which the only escape was to run away from home as soon as possible.
    (which I did.) Still, it gave the likes of us something solid to kick against.

    Then along came horrid old Vat II and spoiled everything.
    And now here we are – in the cruel secular world of Socrates, Wittgenstein, and Islam, and so on. And there’s no going back into the bubble.
    For any of us.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s