DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     April 16-18, 1999     vol. 10, no. 75


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          Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, we are bringing you daily excerpts from his writings. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but we'd like to modify that for Bishop Sheen's words can be likened to springboarding a thousand pictures that we formulate in our thought process in which we can see the simplicity of our faith. The problem is we have overcomplicated things. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed our daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".

         Each Friday we bring you longer articles by the good Bishop. This week, he points out that the latch on the door to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is on our side He expects us to open the door. He won't beg us, He might pass us by if we do not invite Him in. Bishop Sheen illustrates the innkeeper who refused Joseph and Mary a room at the inn in Bethlehem. Can we imagine what Our Lord said to Him when that same innkeeper stood before the gates of Heaven asking for admittance? Just remember what Christ said in Matthew 7: 23, "I never knew you. Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity!"

Don't pass by without knocking!

          What does the Gospel mean when it says, describing the Risen Lord's appearance at Emmaus, "He gave the impression that He was going on farther; but they urged Him to stay with them?" It means that Our Lord passes us by each day in every opportunity to do good. If we neglect the opportunity, He does not reveal Himself. When the false Christ comes he will say, "I am the Christ." But not so with the Divine Christ. He seems to walk by us, trying our dim eyes and weak hands to see if we have faith enough to want Him to stay with us. He leaves us in darkness if we ask not for the Light. Never does He act independently of our desires for intimate union with Him. He breaks down no doors; the latch is on our side. He stands without the door and knocks.

          He has "no place to lay His head" unless a friendly soul, like the friends at Bethany, give Him lodging. The innkeeper at Bethlehem missed the opportunity of forever saying of his inn, "Jesus was born here." "I was a stranger and you took Me in," He will say on the Last Day, but He will be only a stranger to those who did not press the invitation.

          This same principle of hiding until sought after is evident throughout His life. At Jericho there was a blind man by the name of Bartimaeus who kept crying out, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me." The Lord pretended to pass him by, but despite the rebuke even of others in the crowd the blind man cried out more loudly and was cured.

          So it was with the woman who came from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon and pleaded that He cure her ailing daughter, who was troubled by an evil spirit; He gave her no word in answer. His disciples came to Him and pleaded with Him. "Rid us of her," they said. But after further testing her faith, He answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And from that hour, her daughter was cured.

          Every word that comes to us about the uncomfortable, the homeless, the lepers, is the Son of God passing by. If we let Him ass, He may never be recalled. Graces unused are not often repeated; whispers ignored do not become shouts. All through life, our hands will stretch forth empty of the richest blessings of wisdom and truth unless they are first used to clutch at the sleeve of the Divine Who gives the impression that He would pass us by. Emotional responsiveness without practical issue harms the soul. The drama stirs the emotions , but awakens no duties toward the afflicsted on the stage. For the moment we may feel we are on the side of the angels. But that is what the Romans called ignis fatuus - the empty fire - the pleasurable glow that consumes no evil and illumines no path.

April 16-18, 1999       volume 10, no. 75
SIMPLY SHEEN - gems from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen


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