A great read for Catholic communicators

My new favorite read: Ex Libris: Fulton Sheen, a book about one of my favorite people written by one of my favorite people!

The past few weeks have been really intense in the carrying out of our mission. Almost immediately after I posted that I would be back to blogging regularly, I was asked to take on an assignment that has basically taken up all my time for the past several weeks. (Which is, of course, not unusual in the world of media!) But now, I am picking back up where I left off several weeks ago, focusing on using God’s gift of creativity to express truth, beauty, and goodness.

The Servant of God, Venerable Fulton Sheen is someone I have greatly admired as a communicator for Christ: he won a television Emmy award for teaching about Christ!

Recently, another Catholic communicator, Emmy-award winning Alexis Walkenstein, published a book introducing the writings, thought, and spirituality of this great man of God. I stole some time this past week to read the entire book and am delighted by the breadth and depth of this easy read.

Alexis focuses on five topics, with excerpts from seven of her favorite books by and about Archbishop Fulton Sheen. She breaks topics into short, 2-3 page chapters. My favorite chapter is “Sanctifying the Moment,” in which Sheen highlights why it is so important for us to live in the present moment:

Every moment brings us more treasures than we can gather. The great value of the Now, spiritually viewed, is that it carries a message God has directed personally to us. Books, sermons, and broadcasts on a religious theme have the appearance of being circular letters, meant for everyone…. But though moral and spiritual appeals carry God’s identical message to all who listen, this is not true of the Now-moment; no one else but I am in exactly these circumstances; no one else has to carry the same burden, whether it be a sickness, the death of a loved one, or some other adversity. Nothing is more individually tailored to our spiritual needs than the Now-moment; for that reason it is an occasion of knowledge that can come to no one else. This moment is my school, my textbook, my lesson…. 

The University of the Moment has been built uniquely for each of us…. originally from Lift Up Your Heart

I think that the Servant of God had such a profound grasp of the present moment not just from his spiritual life and prayer, but also because he was a communicator. As an exceptionally gifted homilist and TV personality, Sheen knew the value of living in the present moment, because he had lots of practice as a homilist and on TV: it is only by being attentive to God’s presence in the moment that we can receive the grace and inspiration of God to communicate as/what God wants us to communicate.

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen was a tremendous gift of God to the people of the 20th century. With his informal language and rigorous logic, he made divine truth accessible to the ordinary person. Author Alexis Walkenstein shows us how Sheen continues to be a tremendous gift of God to the Church in America today, with his unflinching commitment to the Truth, with his intercession for us, and with his in-depth understanding of what it means to be Catholic in America and how to nurture that ability to communicate Christ with not just our words but with who we are.

More to inspire: 

Check out Alexix’s story of how she began to connect with Servant of God Fulton Sheen in this delightful podcast

Read the inspiring story of the miracle approved by the Vatican through Venerable Fulton Sheen’s intercession.

Update on Archbishop Sheen’s Cause

This weekend I enjoyed myself so much celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi with the parish of  St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Somersworth, NH. Since our sisters were sharing our mission with the people at the parish, the pastor invited me to lead a couple of short meditations on the Eucharist during the Corpus Christi celebration in the afternoon. The afternoon consisted of time for adoration, Scripture readings, a procession,  three stations (in honor of the Holy Face of Jesus, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Divine Mercy), and Benediction. I felt so blessed to be able to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi in such a beautiful way.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979), prolific writer who used mainstream radio and television to evangelize in the 1950s with his Emmy-award-winning “Life is Worth Living” series, is further along the road towards being declared a saint. In March, the Vatican’s medical panel officially approved the miraculous nature of the recovery of an infant who was stillborn but recovered after his parents prayed to Archbishop Sheen to heal their son. He is now a healthy three-year-old. This past week, the Vatican’s theological commission also acknowledged the miraculous recovery of the baby. Read the full story here and here.

Of course, you can find many episodes of his radio and TV shows online, as well as read his books. If you have seen favorite shows of Archbishop Sheen online, please share them in the comments below! To find out more about Archbishop Sheen’s life and cause, visit: http://www.archbishopsheencause.org/

You can even download an app to listen to talks from Archbishop Sheen! (Some talks are free, others require payment.) The app is available on iTunes for the iPhone and on the Google Play store for Android phones.

A one-hour documentary was produced about Archbishop Sheen a couple of years ago. The trailer is below: