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Archbishop Sheen Today! -- Fountain of mercy
Catholic Online (Renew America web site) ^ | September 21, 2004 | Barbara Kralis

Posted on 09/23/2004 8:46:42 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA

Archbishop Sheen Today! -- Fountain of mercy

Barbara Kralis

Barbara Kralis September 21, 2004

© Catholic Online 2004

What does the Church mean when she uses this theological phrase, 'Fons Misericordiae' or 'Fountain of Mercy?

Let us first look at the Church's definition of mercy: "A moral virtue that prompts its owner to have compassion for and to succour those in spiritual or temporal want."

Mercy is the one distinctive virtue of being a Christian — to be a Christian is to be merciful.

Furthermore, Clemency (mercy) together with charity is a requirement to perform the necessary Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Without works, our faith is dead. [1]

The theology of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confession as a 'fountain of mercy' is found often in Church teaching. [2]

In the 'Catechism of the Council of Trent,' pastors are instructed to teach and compare "...the Eucharist to a fountain, the other Sacraments to rivulets" (n.2).

St. Bernard writes on the 'Fountains of the Savior,' as 'waters of pardon from the Fountain of Mercy to wash away our sins.' [3]

The Byzantines pray in the 'Kontakion of the Protection — Tone 3' to the 'Fountain of Mercy,' the Mother of God, "We believe and profess that you are truly the Mother of God, and that in your deep love for us, you are a Fountain of Mercy..."

Moreover, the Church teaches that of the Seven Sacraments, the other six Sacraments draw souls to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. "The Church of the new Advent...must be the Church of the Eucharist and of Penance." [4]

Jesus is Divine Mercy. He loved the sinful world enough to suffer and die for our redemption — 'debitum amoris.'[5]

He made it possible for sinners to be restored through the Sacrament of Confession to their former righteousness. [6]

Since Confession is the only way for sinners to attain salvation, the successors of St. Peter have made it their chief concern to summon all men to this 'Fountain of Mercy' by encouraging sinners by every means to seek remission. [7]

Most everyone is familiar with the writing of Saint Faustina [8] in her Diary, 'Divine Mercy.' Saint Faustina writes of seeing Jesus in a miraculous apparition in the year 1931 A.D.

As a young Polish nun, Sister Faustina saw Jesus dressed in white garments with red and white rays radiating from the Eucharistic host placed on His heart. [9] Faustina said that Jesus said to her: "The Blessed Sacrament is the Throne of Mercy."

Jesus told Sister Faustina:

"Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature: 'Jesus I trust in you.' I promise that the soul that venerates this image will not perish...I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the Fountain of Mercy."

Recorded three times in the Diary of Saint Faustina, Jesus told Sister Faustina about the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion: "I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My Mercy." [10]

Is not our Lord emphasizing the infinite value of receiving Holy Communion, the Fountain of Mercy, worthily?

We, too, should see in every Holy Communion worthily received the merciful Savior pouring His Blood out as a 'Fountain of Mercy' for us.

Here is a beautiful preparation to recite before receiving Holy Communion, the Fountain of Mercy:

"Oratio Sancti Abrosii ante Missam"

(Prayer of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church) [11]

Lord Jesus Christ, I approach Thy banquet table in fear and trembling, for I am a sinner and dare not rely on my own worth but only on Thy goodness and mercy. I am defiled by my many sins in body and soul and by my unguarded thoughts and words. Gracious God of majesty and awe, I seek Thy protection, I look for Thy healing. Poor troubled sinner that I am, I appeal to Thee, the Fountain of all Mercy. I cannot bear Thy judgment, but I trust in Thy salvation. Lord, I show my wounds to Thee and uncover my shame before Thee. I know my sins are many and great, and they fill me with fear, but I hope in Thy mercies, for they cannot be numbered. Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal King, God and man, crucified for mankind, look upon me with mercy and hear my prayer, for I trust in Thee. Have mercy on me, full of sorrow and sin, for the depth of Thy compassion never ends. Praise to Thee, saving sacrifice, offered on the wood of the cross for me and for all mankind. Praise to the noble and precious Blood, flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ and washing away the sins of the whole world. Remember, Lord, Thy creature, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy blood; I repent my sins, and I long to put right what I have done. Merciful Father, take away all my offenses and sins; purify me in, body and soul, and make me worthy to taste the Holy of Holies. May Thy Body and Blood, which I intend to receive, although I am unworthy, be for me the remission of my sins, the washing away of my guilt, the end of my evil thoughts, and the rebirth of my better instincts. May it incite me to do the works pleasing to Thee and profitable to my health in body and soul, and be a firm defense against the wiles of my enemies. Amen.

Here, below, is a popular Bishop Sheen vignette on this subject.

Fountain of Mercy

By Bishop Fulton J. Sheen


A woman wrote to me about her brother, saying that he was dying in a hospital and that he had been away from the sacraments for about thirty years. She said he led not just a bad life, but he was an evil man. He did much to corrupt youth and circulated all manner of evil pamphlets among the young to destroy both faith and morals.

His sister said that about twenty priests had called on him, and he threw them all out of the hospital room.

"So, will you please go to see my brother," she asked me?

Last-resort Sheen, I visited him this particular night, and stayed about five seconds. I fared no better than anyone else.

But instead of making just one visit, I made forty. For forty straight nights, I went to see this man. The second night, I stayed ten or fifteen seconds. I increased my visits by several seconds every night. At the end of the month, I was spending ten to fifteen minutes with him.

I never once broached the subject of his soul until the fortieth night. That night I brought with me the Blessed Sacrament and the holy oils, and I said to him:

"William, you are going to die tonight."

He said, "I know it."

"I'm sure you want to make your peace with God tonight."

He replied, "I do not. Get out!"

I said, "I'm not alone."

"Who is with you?"

"I brought the good Lord along. Do you want him to get out, too?"

He said nothing. So, I knelt down alongside of his bed for about fifteen minutes because I had the Blessed Sacrament with me. After the prayer, I again said:

"William, I'm sure you want to make your peace with God before you die."

He refused and started screaming for the nurse. So, in order to stop him, I ran to the door as if I were going to leave Then, I quickly came back. I put my head down alongside of his face on the pillow, and I said:

"Just one thing, William. Promise me, before you die tonight you will say, "My Jesus, mercy!"

"I will not! Get out."

I had to leave. I told the nurse that if he wanted me during the night, I would come back. About four o'clock in the morning, the nurse called and said he had just died. I asked her how he died.

"Well...about a minute after you left, he began saying: 'My Jesus, Mercy' and he never stopped saying it until he died."

There was nothing in me that influenced him. Here was a divine invasion upon someone who had the faith once and lost it. [12]


1. Cf. James 2:20, "Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren;" James 2:26, "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead."

2. Cf. 'Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,' n. 10.

3. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons for the seasons and principal festivals of the year, volume 1, The Carroll Press-Westminster, MD 1950. Here: First Sermon for Christmas Day: On the Fountains of the Savior, 381-389.

4. Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter 'Redemptor hominis,' 1979.

5. "Debitum amoris," the debt of love that we owe God for His Divine Mercy to us.

6. Cf. Mt. 16: 19, Jesus said to Peter: "I will give you keys of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven; Mt. 18: 18, Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven."

7. 'Salutis Nostrae' ('Proclaiming a Universal Jubilee), Encyclical of Pope Clement XIV, April 30, 1774.

8. On April 19, 1983, Sister Faustina was raised to the Altars of the Beatified by Pope John Paul II; Blessed Faustina was canonized Saint Faustina on April 30, 2000.

9. Cf. message 441.

10. 'Diary of Divine Mercy,' n. 1109, n. 300, and n.699.

11. St. Ambrose's Dies natalis was 397 A.D., ('day of death' or 'birthday' into eternal life.)

12. Source: "The Holy Eucharist and the Gospel," video, produced by Sheen Productions, Inc., 23 E. Main St., Victor, N.Y.

Barbara Kralis, the article's author, writes for various Christian and conservative publications. She is a regular columnist at, Catholic, The Wanderer newspaper, New Oxford Review Magazine, Washington Dispatch, MichNews, Catholic Citizens of Illinois, Phil Brennan's WOW, ChronWatch, etc. Her first journalism position was with Boston Herald Traveler, 1964. Barbara published/edited 'Semper Fidelis' Catholic print newsletter. She and her husband, Mitch, live in the great State of Texas, and co-direct the Jesus Through Mary Catholic Foundation. She can be reached at:

© Copyright 2004 by Barbara Kralis

TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: confession; divinemercy; eucharist; jesus; mercy; sacraments; sisterfaustina

1 posted on 09/23/2004 8:46:43 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA
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To: GirlShortstop; NYer; Pyro7480; AAABEST; ArrogantBustard; Maeve; AskStPhilomena; ...

Abp Sheen Ping

2 posted on 09/23/2004 8:49:09 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: Convert from ECUSA
The theology of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confession as a 'fountain of mercy' is found often in Church teaching. [2]

Amen. Confess often: Nothing like it for keeping oneself honest. The Grace received through this sacrament is truly life changing.

3 posted on 09/23/2004 8:58:24 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: Grey Ghost II; Mershon; Mark in the Old South

Archbishop Sheen Ping.

4 posted on 09/23/2004 9:52:15 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Spot-on and Amen, AB! You're right on the money with what you said! I've found it true for me already, and my first Confession was 5 months ago, just before Easter.

5 posted on 09/23/2004 9:53:54 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: Convert from ECUSA

I ordered Archbishop Sheen's Easter Mass in 1940 in Chicago on DVD. I understand it is quite good.

6 posted on 09/23/2004 10:36:45 AM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah (lex orandi, lex credendi)
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To: thor76

Archbishop Sheen ping!

7 posted on 09/23/2004 11:19:44 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
EWTN has his show "Life is Worth Living" in their on line audio library. Definitely worth a listen.

EWTN Sheen Library

8 posted on 09/23/2004 4:16:53 PM PDT by dha (The safest place to be is within the will of God.)
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To: Convert from ECUSA

I had the great priviledge of serving mass with Sheen on more then one occasion as a youth in NYC.

I had been told many wonderful things about him, but the most profound thing I remember about him was that he was very quiet before and after mass. Not at all like his "stage personality"

Oh yes, he had an ego, and vanity was surely one of his faults. But he was very quiet, reserved and even genuine with me....he did not say much. If I did not know who he was, I would have just assumed he was another ordinary priest going to say an ordinary mass. There was nothing about him which would indicate his status or fame. As the Irish would say: "there were no airs about him".

He impressed me as being simple, direct and unassuming.

I also had the idea that he was deep in thought......or in prayer, both before and after mass.

One of my dearest treasures is an autographed picture of himself.

Little did I realize when I served mass with him, and received that picture, that it might yet one day be considered a second class relic of a future saint!

9 posted on 09/23/2004 6:54:36 PM PDT by thor76 (Vatican II is Grand Theft Ecclesiastical)
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To: Convert from ECUSA
There was nothing in me that influenced him....

I heard (on an EWTN recording) Archbishop Sheen humbly refer to this as "we are pencils in the hand of God".

I believe it's impossible to tire of the wisdom of the Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton Sheen!

Thank you Convert from ECUSA for the ping. Pax et bonum!

10 posted on 09/23/2004 8:11:55 PM PDT by GirlShortstop ( O sublime humility! That the Lord... should humble Himself like this... )
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To: GirlShortstop

:) You are very welcome!

11 posted on 09/24/2004 5:18:12 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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