Fulton J. Sheen

“Illness especially, may be a blessed forerunner of the individual’s conversion. Not only does it prevent him from realizing his desires; it even reduces his capacity for sin, his opportunities for vice. In that enforced detachment from evil, which is a Mercy of God, he has time to search himself, to appraise his life, to interpret it in terms of larger reality. He considers God, and, at that moment, there is a sense of duality, a confronting of personality with Divinity, a comparison of the facts of his life with the ideal from which he fell. The soul is forced to look inside itself, to inquire whether there is more peace in this suffering than in sinning. Once a sick man, in his passivity, begins to ask, “What is the purpose of my life? Why am I here?” the crisis has already begun. Conversion becomes possible the very moment a man ceases to blame God or life and begins to blame himself; by doing so, he becomes able to distinguish between his sinful barnacles and the ship of his soul. A crack has appeared in the armor of his egotism; now the sunlight of God’s grace can pour in. But until that happens, catastrophes can teach us nothing but despair.”


Fulton J. Sheen, Peace of Soul: Timeless Wisdom on Finding Serenity and Joy by the Century's Most Acclaimed Catholic Bishop
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