Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Posts Tagged ‘fall’

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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Sin and Redemption: Romans 5 & 6…Part I

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on July 31, 2008

“So often when we think we’re rising up on our own power, God is just ‘setting-us-up’ for a bigger fall… in LOVE .” ~ Dr Scott Hahn

Okay, so last week we talked about TRUST, Obedience of Faith, and Concupiscence (the ability to sin).   We know that sin came into the world because of one man (Romans 5:12), and that death is the result of that sin.  Specifically, what kind of sin are we talking about here?

A sin of such originality that never before had it been seen among man: the sin of turning away from the Creator-God who walked with them in the garden at the cool of the day (cf Gen3:8).  An intimate friend who gave man dominion over all the wild beasts of the earth (Gen 1:28), and every possible plant for food that a person could want (Gen 1:29).  See anything that man was lacking?  Any reason thus far for turning away from God?  Hmmm, food, power (dominion), shelter (garden of paradise), Love (Gen 1:26 – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery), Life (Gen 2:7b),… anything missing?  Gosh, I can’t think of anything, can you?

We continue… Man turned away from God’s friendship, from God’s care, he decided he could do things on his own without the help of God (Gen 3:6-7).  Now, God could have said, “Be dust!” Because God IS God and He has the right to turn HIS creation back into the NOTHINGNESS as it was in the beginning (refer back to Gen 1… where did God get all that stuff to make light, night, water, etc…?).  But that’s not what God did.

God knew that man had chosen to follow his own path, to make his own way in the world and to do so without Him.  Still, God gave man that chance to “come clean” about what he (referring to both the male and female here) did – i.e. disobeying God and eating of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  But instead, both Adam and Eve just sort of  “past the buck”, you might say.

Eve blamed the serpent, Adam blamed… God … what?!  It’s true, read it: The man said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree and I ate.”

(Just so you know, I had to be reminded of this little known fact myself at that retreat I went to 2 weeks ago… and this after having just completed and exegetical class in Gen 1-11!  Oh the humiliation!!! But I digress… 🙂 )

So Adam is saying, “It’s Your fault, God!  You’re the one who put her here.  She’s Your responsibility, not mine.”  This from the guy who just a chapter earlier said, “At last!  This (Eve) is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” (cf. Gen 2:23).  Oh what a wounded race we are!  To be praising one minute and cursing the next.

And, wait a second, didn’t God put the man in charge of the garden – Gen 2:15?  That being the case, Adam has no caseAdam is responsible here.  He’s responsible for all that goes on in the garden.  He was the one put in charge.  Eve is just a culpable for eating the fruit, but she wasn’t put in charge, Adam was.

See how quickly conflict arose in man’s life?  Conflict that until the moment we ate of the fruit, DID NOT EXIST.  This is the first part of what is meant by death ( You shall die, Gen 2:17b) – the death of peace, tranquility, and harmony with all of creation AND with our Creator.  There is a second part, but we’ll get to that a little later.  (Btw, the Hebrew translation says “death death”, signifying the importance of the meaning.)

As we know, man doesn’t repent and “come-clean” admitting our sin, so what is God to do?  If we were God we might say, “Punish them! Dust, ye are dust!”  Thank heavens we are NOT God.

God did not destroy us, no.  God instead gave us MERCY.  How?  He makes us a promise as He’s cursing the snake, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise (crush) your head and you shall bruise (bite) his heel” (Gen 3:15).

One day, sin will be destroyed (crushing of the head of the serpent – Satan), and it shall come about from the “seed of a woman” – the New Eve – who will bear a Son, and this New Adam will bring about Life (Romans 5:18).

Side note: He will crush your head: All translations that say “she” are incorrect according to the Latin and Hebrew texts, PERIOD.

Adam’s not “off the hook”, he receives his own fair share of justice.  God responds to Adam in Gen 2:17-19, giving him the life Adam chose: not to live in the garden of paradise, not to have God’s intimate friendship, not to have a life of passion and purpose with right understanding.  Nope.  Instead he’ll work a “cursed ground” by the “sweat of his brow”, plowing and sowing, eating what he reaps.

But the worst part of this whole deal, he’ll return to dust – you are dust and to dust you shall return (Gen 2:19b).  God said, “You may freely eat of every tree in the garden; but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Gen2:16-17)  – You are dust and to dust you shall return… This is the second half of that death death (Hebrew translation), that I had mentioned earlier.  So we have both a physical death AND a spiritual death.  BOTH/AND – GOOD THEOLOGY… And remember, there is a promise… Gen 3:15…

“We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Forged in the fires of human passion, choking on the fumes of selfish rage.  And with these are ‘hells’ and our ‘heavens’, so few inches apart, we must be awfully small, and not as strong as we think we are.” ~Rich Mullins, “Songs”, 1996.

Next week- Part II … getting into that promise – Gen 3:15

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