This past Tuesday, myself and one our parishioners by the name of John, began a six-week Lenten reflection series based on the book, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary, by Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. This idea of offering a book study during Lent came to me one night about three weeks ago, and after getting approval from my Pastor to run the series, John and I were off and running.
The series is part of our Porta Fidei (Door of Faith) adult faith program which is overseen by me as the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis. Also part of the program at this time is our weekly Saturday Morning Speaker Series and the Jesus Shock Follow-Up and Discussion, which concludes this Sunday night, March 16.
It’s my hope to share with you each week some of the great quotes from the book that we chose and shared with the participants. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was a master of not only the spoken word, but the written word as well. The Seven Words of Jesus and Mary is the perfect book for the Lenten Season since it takes the words of Mary from the Scriptures and unites them to the last seven words of Jesus on the Cross. I would really encourage you to purchase the book this Lent and begin reading it. It’s fantastic!
Although there are many wonderful lines in this book, here are the six we chose for Week One –
1. “These words of Jesus and Mary seem to suggest that there is sometimes wisdom in not knowing. Ignorance is here represented not as a cure, but a blessing. This rather shocks our modern sensibilities which so much glorify education, but that is because we fail to distinguish between true wisdom and false wisdom.”
2. “The ignorance which is here extolled is not ignorance of the truth, but ignorance of evil. Notice first of all in the word of Our Savior to his executioners:…It was not their wisdom that would save them, but their ignorance.”
3. “Tremendous are the responsibilities of knowing. Those who know the truth will be judge more severely than those who know it not.”
4. “The one peculiar and terrifying thing about sin is that the more experience you have with it, the less you know about it. You become so identified with it that you know neither the depths to which you have sunk nor the heights from which you have fallen.”
5. “People living in dirt hardly ever realize how dirty dirt is. Those who live in sin hardly understand the horror of sin. The one peculiar and terrifying thing about sin is that the more experience you have with it, the less you know about it. You become so identified with it that you know neither its depths to which you have sunk nor the heights from which you have fallen.”
6. Would you not like to be right now, just as you came from the hands of God at the baptismal font, with no worldly wisdom yet gathered to your mind, so that like an empty chalice, you might spend your life filling it with the wine of Love? The world would call you ignorant, saying you knew nothing about life. Do not believe it – you would have Life! Therefore you would be one of the wisest persons in the world.”
Next Wednesday I will post the quotes from Week 2. If you are in the Phoenix Metropolitan area and would like to come to the study, feel free to contact me at the parish.