Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Fulton Sheen: Cross of Christ

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on January 12, 2009

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, "God Love You All!"

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, “God Love You All!”

For the next few weeks (or however long God desires it) I will review a series of talks given by Archbishop Fulton SheenI will try as best as I can to quote him accurately – thus all his direct quotes will appear italicized and in “quotation marks”

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Archbishop Sheen opens this talk with a reflection on the epistle reading for that day from the book of Jonah.  What follows is a series of comparisons and insights that had my head a bobin’ up and down with a smile broadly on my face.  However, with so much information, this reflection will take a few days to complete.   And if you want the rest of the story, purchase the DVD, A Family Retreat with Archbishop Fulton Sheen. 🙂

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Jonah – one of the 12 minor prophets sent to the Ninevites to preach repentance he did not want to preach God to pagans almost as if saying, “The God of the Jews cannot be the God of the Gentiles!” much like what Jesus’ disciples encountered when they began to preach the message of salvation to the Gentiles.

When Jonah got the short straw on the ship, he admitted to being responsible for the storm arising so suddenly:

 

“The failure of one can be the cause of the failure of many.
The salvation of one can be the cause of the salvation of many.”

Example: One of Joshua’s men stole some Babylonian booty and Israel lost their battle as a result of it (cf Joshua 7).

Jonah is swallowed by a ‘big fish’ He spent three days there.  Finally he is spewed out onto the shore and went to Nineveh He did as God commanded, and went a preached repentance to the Ninevites, and they repented by order of their king (btw, the Veggie Tales group does an EXCELLENT job with this story!)

But Jonah did not really believe that they deserved forgiveness and that God would actually forgive them.  So Jonah goes and sits on a near-by hilltop to observe the destruction he believes will occur.  Jonah is said to be a bald man, and sitting on that hilltop with the sun beating down on his bald head was rather warm:

 

“The sun just scorched his bald head.  Then a little plant began to grow,
maybe a gourd with a big leaf and it showed the head of Jonah.
He was calm, peaceful, and cool.  And then a little worm came
and ate the plant, and Jonah began to scorch again.  God said to him,
‘You had nothing to do with the that plant, and now when it withers away,
you are angry’.
God said, ‘Shall I not be mindful of the 120 thousand people of Nineveh
who know not their right hand from their left?'”

This is the story – God’s concern for the Gentile.  The NT mirrors Jonah when Jesus speaks of Jonah’s being in the belly of the whale for three days (Mt 12: 38-41) and three nights And there is something much greater than Jonah here, signifying that the Son of man must also be in the…

 

“belly of the earth for three days.  In other words, Our Lord would be crucified and buried for three days and then rise from the dead, so in the past Jonah had undergone his ‘passion’, his ‘Good Friday’ in the belly of the fish and then comes again ‘to life’ on the shore.  This is what is known in scripture as a ‘Type’.”

An example of Type: When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus and said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” ~Jn 3: 14-15

Now, in the OT (cf Numbers 21: 4-9), the Israelites had sinned against God and were bitten by serpents:

 

“God said to Moses, ‘make a serpent of brass; hang it up on the crotch of a tree; and everyone who looks at that brass serpent will be cured of snake bite’.  Now, there’s nothing about looking at a brass serpent that could cure a snake bite.  Nothing.  But it was a test of their faithWould they obey God?  All who looked…were cured of the poisonous bite.
Now Our Lord comes along and says, ‘I’m that serpent!’  This is one of the few instances, in which, the same word…applied to evil is applied to good.  Another is the ‘lion’.  The devil is a lion
(cf 1 Peter 5:8),
Our Lord is the lion, the Lion of Judah
(cf Rev 5:5)...
Meaning that when the Antichrist comes he will act like Christ…”

(Put that to memory, folks!  When you see him putting on airs and strutting about as if he were some kind of divine being, remember the words of Fulton Sheen!)

Just as the serpent Moses put on a pole for the people to look at looked like the poisonous snakes that bit the Israelites, it really had no poison within – after all it was brass…

“So Our Blessed Lord, on the Cross, would look as if He was guilty of sin, full of the poison of human guilt.  But as the brass serpent had no poison…, so Our Blessed Lord had no sin in Him.  And all who would look upon Him would be healed.  Healed of what? Of GUILT.”

Next:

Part II

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