Skip to comments.THE SEVEN WORDS FROM THE CROSS [Good Friday Must-Read by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen]
Posted on 04/06/2012 7:31:22 PM PDT by Steelfish
THE SEVEN WORDS FROM THE CROSS Text from the book: Life of Christ by Bishop Fulton Sheen
Our Lord spoke seven times from the Cross; these are called His Seven Last Words. In His goodness, Our Blessed Lord left His thoughts on dying. He was representative of all humanity. In this sublime hour He called all His children to the pulpit of the Cross, and every word He said to them was set down for the purpose of an eternal publication and an undying consolation. There was never a preacher like the dying Christ; there was never a congregation like that which gathered about the pulpit of the Cross; there was never a sermon like the Seven Last Words.
THE FIRST WORD The executioners expected Him to cry, for everyone pinned to the gibbet of the Cross had done it before Him. Seneca [a Roman philosopher] wrote that those who were crucified cursed the day of their birth, the executioners, their mothers, and even spat on those who looked upon them. Hence the executioners expected a word, but not the kind of word that they heard. The Scribes and Pharisees awaited His reaction, and they were quite sure that He Who had preached Love your enemies, and Do good to them that hate you, would now forget that Gospel with the piercing of His feet and hands. Every one expected a cry, but no one, with the exception of the three at the foot of the Cross, expected the cry they did hear. Like some fragrant trees which bathe in perfume the very axe which gashes them, the great Heart on the Tree of Love poured out from its depths something less a cry than a prayer the soft, sweet, low prayer of pardon and forgiveness
(Excerpt) Read more at opusangelorum.org ...
thx for posting.
One of the most lucid and brilliant articles I have ever read.
Really? It’s rather shallow.
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Rather shallow? Pray tell us why?
Your comment is shallow.
Did you brush the muffin crumbs off your stomach before or after you pecked it out?
Bishop Sheen and “shallow” do NOT go together. I am not a Catholic, but consider Fulton Sheen one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century. I remember as a kid in the 1950’s my Dad, a Methodist churchman, had THE Bishop’s show on Sunday mornings as we were getting ready for church. To be honest, Bishop Sheen frightened me a little with all of his theatrics.lol I’ve had the opportunity to view many of his messages over the past several years as they were rebroadcast on The Church Channel. He was an awe-inspiring figure. (Though Milton Berle may have disagreed ;)
Well, for one, read carefully what he says regarding the Fourth Word. It is little more than saying that Jesus is our example of trust in God. Imitate Him and all is well.
That said, I readily grant you that he says, “Now in the fourth word, He acted as mediator for sinful humanity.” But read what Sheen writes thereafter. Jesus is described as our Mediator in the sense that He shows us how to endure the separation from God brought about by sin and yet not lose trust. What kind of mediation is this?
This fourth word of the Lord is the key word of the seven. This is the climactic point of the vicarious atonement, wherein the Lamb of God, who carries the burden of all the world’s sins, endures the horror of eternal separation from God - Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani! - because of that sin, i.e. hell and damnation, for us, and thus pays our debt of sin. Is this what Sheen says? No, decidedly not. He remains enmeshed in the web of philosophy rather that breaking from it into the pure light of theology. On which point see, for example, 1 Corinthians 1 and 2.
I’m sorry. This is weak tea, irrespective of how much notoriety Bishop Sheen enjoyed in his time. I am simply looking at what he said here. And what he said reveals a shallow grasp of the atonement. His Christology is good, as I would expect from a Catholic theologian. But his Soteriology - at least as here expressed - is weak, whether purposely or inadvertently (which is not mine to judge).
“Your comment is shallow.”
And your almost clever response isn’t?
Not at all. As Chesterton himself remarked in this Fourth Word, Christ takes upon Himself the cry of Job, all human suffering. The “bad” thief succumbs to suffering by separating himself from Christ, the “good” thief trusts in the Divinity of Christ and escorts Christ to paradise. This is what Sheen is getting at. Atheists use the mystery of human suffering to deny God. Chesterton once said, at this moment Christ becomes the “atheist” (he takes up the cry of the atheist) but does not lose his faith in Father. Hence “Into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit.”
Only a very superficial reading of Sheen’s commentary would make this “shallow.” The kind of shallow thinking is what you’d get in your run-of-the mill street corner foursquare church pastor, or televangelists in the vein of Joel Osteen and company.
I just watched the devotions for friday.
Fine. If you consider that deep theological insight, you are welcome to your opinion. I just don’t share it with you.
As far as the comparisons you thoughtfully inserted at the end of your response - no doubt in the interest of civility and reasoned discussion - I’ll give them the thought they merit ... uh, done.
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