Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wisdom from Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“And yet at that moment when a tree of his own creation turned against Him and became a cross, when the iron of His earth reacted against Him and became nails, when roses rebelled against Him and became thorns, at that second when a sickle and a hammer combined to cut down the weeds on Calvary’s hill to erect a gallows and drive nails through hands to render impotent the blessings of love incarnate, He, like a tree which bathes in perfume the ax which kills it, lets fall from His lips for the earth’s first hearing the answer to the riddle of hate and anger: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” ~Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Ah, Fulton Sheen.  I don't think it was possible for that man to have written anything that wasn't soul-moving.  A good friend of mine recently sent me his beautiful poem, Complain! on the value of complaining to God alone.  I could use a lot of work in this area, complaining far too often to others instead of saving my sorrows for God alone, so hopefully the inspiration I feel in reading and re-reading this will become a valuable asset to my spiritual life.  Am I alone in that particular struggle?  I hope not and so I felt that this poem was too good not to pass on.  I am grateful to God for the wisdom of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  He was, and through his writings continues to be, a great witness to the faith!

by:  Archbishop Fulton Sheen

God does not frown on your complaint.
Did not His Mother in the Temple ask:
“Son! Why hast thou done so to us?”
And did not Christ on the Cross complain:
“My God! Why hast Thou abandoned Me?”
If the Son asked the Father,
And the Mother the Son – “Why?”
Why should not you?

But let your wails be to God,
And not to man,
Asking not, “Why does God do this to me?”
But: “Why, O God, dost Thou treat me so?”
Talk not about God, as Satan did to Eve:
“Why did God command you?”
But talk to God, as Christ to His Father.

And at the end of your sweet complaining prayer
You will say: “Father, into Thy Hands I commend my spirit.”
You will not so much be taken down
As the thief on the left,
But be taken up as the thief
Who heard: “This day, Paradise.”

They who complain to others never see God’s purposes
They who complain to God find that
Their Passion, like Christ’s, turns into compassion.

Only He who made your wound can heal it.
The Love that tightened your bow-strings
Did so, not in hurt, but in love of music.

Do not all lovers ask in doubt: “Do you love me?”
Ask that of the Tremendous Lover
And each scar will seem a kiss!
God is not “way up there.”
He is taking another body – your own
To carry on the world’s redemption.

Too few offer Him a human nature
Like Mary at the angel’s call –
So He conscripts you, drafts you,
Inducts you into His Army.

Complain that your shoulders
Ache beneath your pack –
But see His  own, smarting
Under a cross beam.

Complaint to God is dialogue,
And dialogue is prayer.
Not the ready-made, packaged, memorized
Lip-service of the book and candle,
but the encounter and the union
That only lovers know!


  1. Hmmm. You know, I am an analyst at heart. I dig into problems and try to discover the what's and why's. Usually there are satisfactory answers and/or compromises to be reached when all the facts are considered. But you have to find the facts.

    I perceive that many people are um, well lazy is a word that comes to mind. They do have questions about things, which is well and good, but either they ASSUME an answer convenient to themselves, or they ask someone else --- and want an answer in 140 characters of less. Suggesting they research the details of a doctrine in the catechism gets a "yeh, I'll try to do that," and suggesting a good book on the topic gets: "I don't have time for that." Yet they will complain about something they don't understand for months and years, and maybe even leave the Church.

    I ask God for many things, wisdom and mercy are at the top of the list, but I take the Parable of the Talents seriously. He has blessed me with a mind; He expects me to use it.

  2. Pray for me to Fulton Sheen. Ask in his intercession to pray for me against impossible situations. Lust has consumed me and I've fallen to gravely ill into it, that I'm falling in perverse desires. I need help, ask God to please, literally, lift me out of the place I'm in and grant his pardon and peace and strength. Ask God to please wash me of all my sins and offenses. Let him not let me down to despair nor leave me vacant to only be left myself and my own free-will. Ask God to please deliver me in the most miraculous way. I wish he would cleanse me and purify me, my heart, soul, and body through a miracle of penance and mercy. I wish he would see all my problems, obstacles, and challenges stopping me from confession, and to know how superficial my confession will be without a real acknowledgement of those sins in sincere sorrow which my repeated committing of sins has really cause a rupture to my conscience and soul. I need help, the grace of God, his assistance in aiding me in pardon and mercy. I pray for the real hope to be literally lifted from where I am into his hands, in his arms, and bearing me in the arms of his mercy through confession. I want Christ in the Sacrament, Christ in flesh, Christ incarnate and not some new age false existence trying to resemble Christ in my life. I want to not only pray, but believe, and to live out faithfully the holy rosary. I have family who need most needed help. I ask all my grandmother's prayers be heard too. I pray the hurt and pain I've caused others which I'm in real trouble for, God may turn around and not lend me to despair in face of his wrath and punishment, but lend me to his mercy not cooperating with my downfall which would justify rebellion, but to grant me without question full merit of his mercy. Please, amen.

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    I am so sorry for your pain. Know of my prayers and of God's great mercy and love for you.