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ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS WITH BISHOP SHEEN
One of the many treasures of the Catholic faith is our liturgical calendar, by which we travel the year not only by marking feasts, but also by marking the seasons that accompany them. A beautiful companion to our celebration of Advent is Advent and Christmas with Fulton J. Sheen, which will help you and your family to prepare for and celebrate Christmas. Edited and compiled by Judy Bauer, this slim volume is composed of Scripture and meditations for every day of Advent, followed by readings for each of the twelve days of Christmas. A third section, “A Format for Evening Prayer,” includes sections from the Divine Office, useful for individuals and groups, both as a prayer and a prayer journal.
One of the attractions of this book is its simplicity. Each day’s reading consists of a brief Biblical quotation, followed by a paragraph from Bishop Sheen, and concluded with a unifying prayer. The reading takes only a few minutes, with the potential for meditation adaptable to your individual needs and time constraints. It could easily be inserted into family meal or night prayers without the little ones becoming restless!
It’s also a lovely sampler from dozens of works by the Venerable Archbishop Sheen, whose cause for canonization has placed him back on the front page. Although many of us know him because of his television series, which is still broadcast on EWTN, fewer know him as a prolific man of letters with a luminous writing style perhaps even more attractive than his speaking style. One of Bishop Sheen’s great gifts is his ability to communicate his brilliant mind to the average person, evident in Advent’s Day 13 selection below:
“In what does your life consist except two things: (1) Active duties; and (2) passive circumstances. The first is under your control; do these in God’s name. The second is outside your control; these submit to in God’s name. Consider only the present; leave the past to God’s justice, the future to His Providence. Perfection of personality does not consist in knowing God’s plan, but in submitting to it as it reveals itself in the circumstances of life.
There is only one shortcut to sanctityâ€”the one Mary chose in the Visitation, the one Our Lord chose in Gethsemaneâ€”abandonment to the Divine Will.”
(from Sheen’s The Seven Words of Jesus and Mary)
Truly, the rhythm of our first liturgical season is matched in the cadence of one of Catholicism’s literary giants. Savor his words and the Word this Christmas season.