DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     January 29-31, 1999     vol. 10, no. 20


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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, tying in with what the Holy Father emphasized during his papal visit to the Americas, the Bishop reflects on the tragedies that occur when we mistake ego for love and, rather than giving unconditionally, hold back with certain conditions.

To love is to be free; to hate is to be enslaved!

          The Ego has a peculiar way of disguising the real reasons for its love. It can pretend to be interested in another's welfare while actually it is seeking its own pleasure.

          There are some people who love to boast of their tolerance, but actually it is inspired by egotism; they want to be left alone in their own ideas, however wrong they be, so they plead for a tolerance of other people's ideas. But this kind of tolerance is very dangerous, for it becomes intolerance as soon as the ego is disturbed or menaced. That is why a civilization which is tolerant about false ideas instead of being charitable to persons is on the eve of a great wave of intolerance and persecution.

          The egotist always considers his ego in terms of not having or wanting something. His principal action is drawing something to himself like the mouth which absorbs food. There is no outgoing, no service, and never a sacrifice, because he interprets sacrifice as the diminishing of himself.

          True love, on the contrary, feels that the need to give is more imperious than the need to receive. At the beginning of love there is a feeling that one can never give enough. Regardless of how precious the gift, it still seems to fall short of what one would offer. Price tags are torn off, because we want no proportion established between the gift and the need of giving. The tragedy of love when it begins to die, is that then people do not even give what they have. No longer is there a question of not being able to give enough; there is rather no giving at all.

          In real love there is pity and need. Pity in the sense that one feels the need of expansion and of giving to the point of exhaustion; need, because of a void that one would see filled. True love receives without ever interpreting what is given. It never seeks another motive than that of love itself. He who asks "why" something is given does not trust.

          One of the tragedies of our time is that freedom is interpreted in terms of freedom from something sinstead of in terms of love. The man who loves everybody is a free man; the man who hates is the man who has already enslaved himself. The man who hates is dependent on that which he cannot love - and therefore is not free. To hate one's next door neighbor is a restriction of freedom. It demands walking around the block so one will not see him, or waiting until he leaves the house before leaving oneself.

          It is our loves and desires that determine our pains. If our supreme love is the pleasure of the body, then our greatest pain is loss of health; if our supreme love is wealth, then our deepest worry is insecurity; and if our supreme love is God, then our greatest fear has to be sin.

January 29-31, 1999       volume 10, no. 20
SIMPLY SHEEN - gems from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen


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