Catholic Thought discussion

19 views
Treasure in Clay > Chapters 1 thru 4

Comments Showing 1-50 of 53 (53 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Summary:

Chapter 1, “It All Depends on How You Look at It”:
As an introduction to his autobiography, Bishop Sheen makes it clear that any record of a life is seen in three ways: (1) As I see it, (2) As others see it, and (3) as God sees it. He can only tell of his life as he sees it.

Chapter 2, “The Molding of the Clay”:
Here Sheen speaks of his being born in El Paso Illinois, how he acquired the name “Fulton,” and of the most important decision of his early life, his parents resolve that each of their children be well educated.

Chapter 3, “The Gift of the Treasure”:
How he had always wanted to be a priest, how that was the most formative decision of his life, and he provides adice on how to determine if one has a vocation to the religious life.

Chapter 4, “After University Studies”:
His intellectual development, his development as a priest, and his assignment to the Catholic University of America as a theology and philosophy professor.


message 2: by Celia (new)

Celia (cinbread19) | 60 comments This book is an inspiration. I am glad to be reading it with this group.


message 3: by Gerri (new)

Gerri Bauer (gerribauer) | 142 comments I'm in awe of Archbishop Sheen's intellectual brilliance and his superb communication skills. At the same time, I remind myself that this is an autobiography and of course he wants to show himself in the best light. There are instances that make me stop and wonder what he is "really" saying. More about that below.

First I have to say I started this read biased in favor of Sheen in part because of nostalgia. He and Cardinal Spellman were towering figures of my youth in NYC. I knew nothing of the conflict between them. I knew them only as important religious leaders of my area, and I looked up to them. I was a baby when Sheen's TV show stopped, but it must have aired near continuously - at least in NY metro area - through the 1960s because I watched it as a child. When I came across the reruns a year or so ago, the whole show, his lessons , and even his presentation style (now so overly dramatic!) were familiar to me.

So, I started reading with a feeling I knew this man. Wrong. It's an easy read, because he's a gifted writer and can certainly tell an anecdote well. There are also many gems of wisdom, such as when he talks about the stages of vocation and how true vocations don't start with "what I want" or what I'd like to do, but with God calling us to service. (page 35 according to my Kindle notes)

I'm intrigued by what he writes about a priest also being a victim (page 23): "In due time, and not in an easy way, I was to learn that a priest is also a victim. But more about that later." I'm not to that point in the book yet, I guess. But I wonder if it's a veiled reference to challenges and difficulties he faced within the Church, which as we all know has its share of fierce politics. On page 36, he mentions that purgation starts in the seminary and continues through life in many forms including betrayals and false accusation. I'm glad he doesn't fling mud. It's refreshing that he writes that such trials are a calling, a way for the clay to be formed into treasure. Refreshing in part because we don't often hear today how bearing one's cross(es) is part of life and a way of growing closer to God.

I also was taken by a comment he made about the rebellions of youth during the time of the book's writing. I was of an age and generation that was part of that rebellion. His comment about why young people were rebelling struck home, because it was applicable to many children of first-generation Americans in NY at that time. Our parents grew up in immigrant poverty, and sweated and worked themselves raw to better their lives and the lives of their children. Yet something was also lost in that process. It wasn't religion. I and others grew up in strong religious families. Yet Sheen put it into words with precision, and it's part of why I am taken by his intellect and communication skills. I quote (page 62), and then will end this too-long post! “… young people are rebelling against the bourgeois ethos of their parents, who believed in the American way of life, which judged prosperity by material achievements. But one thing that their parents never asked themselves was what they would do with themselves after they had bettered.”


message 4: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
I found the first chapter profound. Surely many people have pointed out that a life of a person can be seen from multiple points of view, how the individual sees his own life verses the ways other people see him, and if you sum total all those other people into an outside view then there are two views. That wouldn’t be original, but then Sheen adds a third view, a view from God as the true view. The other two views have a subjective quality to them. But God sees us as we really are, and while that may seem like it’s been said, I don’t think it’s ever been said in the context of a biography. That seems like a very original thought to me. Here he speaks about that God written biography:

That autobiography is the crucifix —the inside story of my life not in the way it walks the stage of time, but how it was recorded, taped and written in the Book of Life.


And Sheen goes on to peak into that book of life:

It is not the autobiography that I tell you, but the autobiography I read to myself. In the crown of thorns, I see my pride, my grasping for earthly toys in the pierced Hands, my flight from shepherding care in the pierced Feet, my wasted love in the wounded heart, and prurient desires in the flesh hanging from Him like purple rags. Almost every time I turn a page of that book, my heart weeps at what eros has done to agape, what the “I” has done to the “Thou,” what the professed friend has done to the Beloved.


He goes on with this thought experiment to delineate some of the joys of pleasing his Beloved. But what a fascinating way to start an autobiography. And then he gives an apology for this work:

What you read is truth nevertheless, but on a lower level: the narrative of a jewel and its setting, the treasure and its wrapping, the lily and its pond.


I guess one of the pitfalls of an autobiography is to come across as too self-oriented. This is about as humble a way to start as I could imagine.


message 5: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Gerri wrote: "I'm in awe of Archbishop Sheen's intellectual brilliance and his superb communication skills. At the same time, I remind myself that this is an autobiography and of course he wants to show himself ..."

Well said Gerri. I was too young to be conscious of his TV shows, but I have watched several now and his communication skills are superb. I was surprised to learn he had a PhD and that he taught at universities. I find his communication techniques so nonacademic. He talks to the common man, and yet doesn't compromise intellectual substance. And he's got such charisma that you want to stay and listen. He may have been the greatest evangelist of them all.


message 6: by Manny (last edited Sep 23, 2019 09:29AM) (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Out of curiosity, did any of you reading know before reading the book he had a PhD and taught in universities?


message 7: by Nikita (last edited Sep 24, 2019 12:54AM) (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments As I mentioned in the Introduction thread this book has been on my bookshelf just waiting to be read. I am very glad to finally do just that.

My initial thought of his writing style is a sense of humble, honest, and frankness all wrapped together. He writes as he would speak to you as if you were having a conversation, giving your spiritual direction, or giving a talk. I had read his book 'Three to Get Married' when I was preparing for my wedding to my husband. That book gave me the same impression I felt with this autobiography.

I would like to write my highlights for each chapter. I hope you all do not mind this method.

Chapter 1:

"When the record of any human life is set down, there are three pairs of eyes who see it in a different light. There is the life:
1. As I see it.
2. As others see it.
3. As God sees it."
-This opening to his autobiography captured me instantly to keep reading. I will be keeping this close to my heart to remind me to overcome my insecurities.

"The Lord does not choose the best. I was not given a vocation because God, in His divine wisdom, saw that I would be better than other men. Even God's love is blind....He often chooses weak instruments in order that His power might be manifested; otherwise it would seem that the good was done by the clay, rather than by the Spirit." -I find Venerable Fulton Sheen relatable, even if he was a Bishop and I am just a laywoman. I think that is his charm that God saw could be used for His children. Ven. Sheen is able to give advice within his autobiography even though the one reading is not a priest. (I will mention this in a later chapter reflection).

Chapter 2:

"Clay has to be molded, and that is done primarily in the family, which is more sacred than the state." -This is something that needs to be emphasized in our time to which I think sadly has been slowly forgotten. The Domestic Church is the main source for not just ourselves, but those in our care (whether our children, spouse, or a family member in our particular care). It is this molding that helps form one to listen to what God is calling His children to do and molds us on how to protect the Church and love her.

I never knew how he got his name "Fulton", but when I read that passage I laughed a bit and said, "What a way to get your name."

His passage from St. Thomas Aquinas about work and play I actually can say I have never heard of until reading his autobiography. "Work has a purpose, play has non, but there must be time in life for the purposeless things, even foolishness."

The surprise debate with Dr. Alexander I was amazed that Ven. Fulton Sheen ability to just go with it. It is moments like those that I hope if I am ever confronted I am able to converse with confidence as he did.

Chapter 3:

"Never once did my mother or father say a word to me about becoming a priest, nor did I speak to them about it until the day I went to the seminary. Their only response then was: "We always prayed that you might become a priest; if it is your vocation, be a good one."" -A piece of advice that I hope that others will know and hold dear like I do. When my husband and I were speaking about children (not relevant, but we are trying, but are dealing with infertility) we talked about how to address vocations. We both made the agreement that we would make sure our children would know all the vocations (single, married, priesthood, and religious life), but never force one vocation on them. I have in my years since becoming Catholic noticed parents (not all) push a particular vocation. I sadly had to hear a mother who was complaining about a parish dance for the youth group. She was complaining because after the dance her son was thinking his vocation might not be for the priesthood. She said she is thinking to not let him go to anymore dances or activities so he can go back to thinking of becoming a priest. I have heard the other extreme where parents do not want to hear their children thinking of becoming a nun, religious sister, or a priest when they want them married and giving them grandchildren. As we are called to be open to Life so, too must we be open to Vocations.

"No true vocation starts with "what I want" or with "a work I would like to do." If we are called by God, we may be sent to a work we do not like, and "obedience is better than sacrifice."" -when I read this quote to my husband he was confused by the last part and honestly, I would have too, but I thought about what he means by sacrifice and God calling us. What I think he means in this passage is we say "I want to be a missionary" or "I want to be a wife", but if God is calling us to not go into missionaries, but to be more contemplative. Not obeying because of what we think we must do/want to do could make us sacrifice the gifts that God wanted us to use and in turn could harm us in our spiritual life and those around us. Yes, we are to sacrifice, but we are asked to listen to God to know what our sacrifices should be. I hope I made sense in my reflection...sometimes what I reflecting doesn't make it on page written or typed.

The three stages of a vocation that he mentions I feel could be used for all the vocations, not just priesthood.

1. Vocation is a sense of the holiness of God
2. Vocation is a profound sense of unworthiness: "God can do something with those who see what they really are and who know their of cleansing but can do nothing with the man who feels himself worthy."
3.Respond

"God does not make anything with the purpose of destroying it. There is no waste in life. Childhood is not a waste. It has relationship to the rest of life. That portion of us which is tried and tested, which is subjected to many trials, is not a waste. The tears, the agonies, the frustrations, the toils are not lost. All of these, which seem to militate against life, are worked into new forms. Life may be marred into a broken thing, but God can make it into a thing of beauty." -This particular passage speaks volumes to be. It speaks to me and my life and my conversion to the Catholic Church. I was a broken thing, the list of misfortunes that he spells out I know and yet my broken self God turned into something beautiful, I just have yet to see it fully.

What did everyone think about the particular episode he had about getting a young boy back in Catholic school? I think I heard Ven. Fulton Sheen tell this story in an episode of his or radio program of his. My husband when I read him the passage thought that was interesting to think about.

"When you put a painting in candlelight to examine it, the imperfections do not appear; when you put it under the full glare of the sun, then you see how badly chosen are the colors and ill defined the lines. So it is when we measure ourselves by God, we fall infinitely short; and when we compare ourselves with many who have given us inspiration, we feel a deep sense of unworthiness. But behind it all, and despite all of this, there is the tremendous consciousness of the mercy of God. he did not call angels to be priests; He called men. He did not make gold the vessel for his treasure; He made clay. the motley group of Apostles that He gathered about Him became more worthy through His mercy and compassion. I know that I am not afraid to appear before Him. And this is not because I am worthy, nor because I have loved Him with deep intensity, but because He has loved me. That is the only reason that any one of us is really lovable. When the Lord puts His love into us, then we become lovable." -This is such a moving passage, that honestly I have no words to express how moving it really is to me.

Chapter 4:

"After about a year the Bishop phoned: "Three years ago I promised you to Bishop Shahan of the Catholic University as a member of the faculty." I asked: "Why did you not let me go there when I returned from Europe?" "Because of the success you had on the other side, I just wanted to see if you would be obedient. So run along now; you have my blessing.""-Please tell I am not the only that laughed when reading this passage.

Overall I am loving this book and I cannot wait to read the next chapters. Hope everyone is enjoying their time reading his autobiography. I do apologize if my reflection was too long or not clear.

God Bless,
Nikita


message 8: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Manny wrote: "Out of curiosity, did any of you reading know before reading the book he had a PhD and taught in universities?"

I had thought he had a PhD and possibly taught, but that is due to watching the episodes I have seen of his show.


message 9: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Nikita wrote: ""When you put a painting in candlelight to examine it, the imperfections do not appear; when you put it under the full glare of the sun, then you see how badly chosen are the colors and ill defined the lines. So it is when we measure ourselves by God, we fall infinitely short; and when we compare ourselves with many who have given us inspiration, we feel a deep sense of unworthiness. But behind it all, and despite all of this, there is the tremendous consciousness of the mercy of God. he did not call angels to be priests; He called men. He did not make gold the vessel for his treasure; He made clay. the motley group of Apostles that He gathered about Him became more worthy through His mercy and compassion. I know that I am not afraid to appear before Him. And this is not because I am worthy, nor because I have loved Him with deep intensity, but because He has loved me. That is the only reason that any one of us is really lovable. When the Lord puts His love into us, then we become lovable." -This is such a moving passage, that honestly I have no words to express how moving it really is to me."

Nikita, that is a moving passage. Very nice highlights. You must have copied them by hand. Thank you.


message 10: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Nikita wrote: ""No true vocation starts with "what I want" or with "a work I would like to do." If we are called by God, we may be sent to a work we do not like, and "obedience is better than sacrifice."" -when I read this quote to my husband he was confused by the last part and honestly, I would have too, but I thought about what he means by sacrifice and God calling us. What I think he means in this passage is we say "I want to be a missionary" or "I want to be a wife", but if God is calling us to not go into missionaries, but to be more contemplative. Not obeying because of what we think we must do/want to do could make us sacrifice the gifts that God wanted us to use and in turn could harm us in our spiritual life and those around us. Yes, we are to sacrifice, but we are asked to listen to God to know what our sacrifices should be. I hope I made sense in my reflection...sometimes what I reflecting doesn't make it on page written or typed.."

This too is very profound. "Obedience is better than sacrifice." It doesn't say we are not to sacrifice. It doesn't say that obedience is not sacrifice. But sacrifice can have an element of ego in it that obedience doesn't have. For instance I know a person who goes to great lengths to fast, and not just on Fridays. There's a sense of self-satisfaction there. [Perhaps that's presumptuous on my part. Perhaps she feels she's being called to it, and so it would be an act of obedience.] Anyway my point is that sacrifice is not necessarily an unwelcomed act. Obedience is always an act of following someone else's will over yours.


message 11: by Madeleine (new)

Madeleine Myers | 562 comments I found and kept this on the Laudate app: from the writings of Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi: "A little drop of simple obedience is worth a million times more than a whole vase of the choicest contemplation." - Saint Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi


message 12: by Gerri (new)

Gerri Bauer (gerribauer) | 142 comments Sheen's comment about obedience being better than sacrifice also stopped me in my tracks while reading. It really makes you think. I agree with Nikita that one lesson for us is to follow God's will and use the gifts he gave us, not the gifts we think we have or we want to have. Manny, I agree, too, that sacrifice can be used in a prideful way, a "look how pious I am because of (whatever the sacrifice is)."

(An aside to Nikita, I also faced infertility in my younger years - talk about a hard obedience. But now in my later adulthood, I - the childless one of the siblings - am best able to help my father through his Alzheimer's journey and was the one best able to assist my mother before she died. Not easy, but I have a certain peace about it.)

Manny, I didn't know Sheen had a Ph.D either. He also earned what he called a higher degree, an "agrege" examination that aggregated the person to the university faculty, which I think means makes the person a faculty member. He passed with the highest grade possible. A successful candidate was given dinner by the university, and the type of beverage served corresponded with the grade achieved - champagne being associated with the highest grade. I love the way Sheen tells the reader what grade he received: "The champagne tasted so good that night!"

Also, apologies - I jumped ahead of the reading schedule in part of my first comments. I'll repost that comment when we start discussing the upcoming chapters.

One more thing. Celia wrote This book is an inspiration. I am glad to be reading it with this group I feel exactly the same way. I'm not usually so wordy in comments. But I'm responding to the way Sheen communicates. His gift, for sure.


message 13: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Manny wrote: "Nikita wrote: ""When you put a painting in candlelight to examine it, the imperfections do not appear; when you put it under the full glare of the sun, then you see how badly chosen are the colors ..."

Manny,

I am glad you enjoyed the particular highlights. I will say I did not write them by hand, I admit I am one who highlights and note-take in almost all my books. Hence why it is difficult for me to let anyone borrow my books because I do not want to have someone following my highlights.


message 14: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Manny wrote: "Nikita wrote: ""No true vocation starts with "what I want" or with "a work I would like to do." If we are called by God, we may be sent to a work we do not like, and "obedience is better than sacri..."

Very true and to which I always view that if I am being obedient to God and a sacrifice presented then I need to willingly take it as part of the obedience.


message 15: by Manny (last edited Sep 26, 2019 06:57PM) (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
I really enjoyed the vignettes of his growing up in Illinois. Obviously it was such a different time from today. Here’s a little paragraph of the rudiments of his family life:

The molding of the clay was done by great sacrifices on the part of my father and my mother, who would deny themselves every personal comfort and luxury in order that their sons might be well clothed and well cared for. Our family life was simple and the atmosphere of our home Christian. Grace was said before and after each meal; when we had visitors none of us was permitted to sit at table without wearing a coat and tie; the Rosary was said every evening; the priests of the cathedral visited the home once every week; and visits of old-country cousins were very frequent.


Can you imagine having to wear a jacket and tie when visitors arrived. We don’t even wear jacket and tie for church now.

I also appreciated the driving principle of what motivated him in his education. This was a fantastic answer when a professor asked him,

“What would you like to have in education?” I said: “I should like to know two things— first, what the modern world is thinking about; second, how to answer the errors of modern philosophy in the light of the philosophy of St. Thomas.” He said: “You will never get it here, but you will get it at the University of Louvain in Belgium.”


And that’s where he went. I think Bishop Sheen was a Dominican at heart. Scholarly, contemplative, great preacher and evangelizer.


message 16: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Great quote from the book:

"I can never remember a time in my life when I did not want to be a priest."


message 17: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1282 comments Mod
Manny wrote: "Out of curiosity, did any of you reading know before reading the book he had a PhD and taught in universities?"

The short answer, no :)


message 18: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1282 comments Mod
He must have been truly brilliant. Few people have his academic accomplishments and always at the top of his class. He speaks of it with such humility.
I am also impressed with his obedience and docility toward his superiors, at the same time there is a will of steel there. Not even the future Pope Pius XII could make him open up about a former colleague.


message 19: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Manny-

Venerable Fulton Sheen was actually a 3rd Order Dominican. Within the 3rd Order are Laity, Consecrated Brothers and Sisters, and Diocesan Priests.


message 20: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Nikita wrote: "Manny-

Venerable Fulton Sheen was actually a 3rd Order Dominican. Within the 3rd Order are Laity, Consecrated Brothers and Sisters, and Diocesan Priests."


I didn’t know that. Thank you.


message 21: by Melissa (last edited Sep 27, 2019 07:52AM) (new)

Melissa | 23 comments Madeleine wrote: "I found and kept this on the Laudate app: from the writings of Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi: "A little drop of simple obedience is worth a million times more than a whole vase of the choicest cont..."

Thank you for sharing this quote. I am having a hard time with obedience, something I have rarely experienced since converting nine years ago.

I don't think there is much else for me to add to the discussion. I think the most touching part of the first four chapters is when he speaks of the autobiography as the crucifix. Manny quoted it above, but here it is again:

In the crown of thorns, I see my pride, my grasping for earthly toys in the pierced Hands, my flight from shepherding care in the pierced Feet, my wasted love in the wounded Heart, and my prurient desires in the flesh hanging from Him like purple rags. Almost every time I turn a page of that book, my heart weeps at what eros has done to agape, what the "I" has done to the "Thou," what the professed friend has done to the Beloved.


message 22: by Madeleine (new)

Madeleine Myers | 562 comments Melissa wrote: "I am having a hard time with obedience..." Oh yes, most of us do. I think it helps to put this in the context of our need to trust God's plan for us, that what he wills is that we be, in Matthew Kelly's words, " the best version of ourselves, " and think not so much of obeying God's laws, which is the Old Testament mindset, as submitting, or surrender--I like that word better--to the our Lord's plan for His Kingdom, and our part in it. We are meant to give glory to God, "on earth as it is in heaven." But, oh, do we all fall so very short, and nurturing that trust and surrender can become awfully challenging, even labor intensive at times. Even saints like Mother Teresa and the Little Flower struggled with it! It helps to keep those holy superheroes in mind!


message 23: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Melissa, I think we all have trouble with obedience, some like me more than others. I do have a strong will. When I think I'm right, I'm tough to convince otherwise. It gets me in trouble at work, but it also has led down a better path when I was truly correct. In our faith however there are things I may personally disagree with. But there I have no choice but to obey, or at least tamper my disagreement. Ultimately I have to obey Christ.


message 24: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments Madeleine wrote: "Melissa wrote: "I am having a hard time with obedience..." Oh yes, most of us do. I think it helps to put this in the context of our need to trust God's plan for us, that what he wills is that we b..."

The quote that God desires obedience not sacrifice is from the Old Testament, from 1 Samuel. It is the words of the prophet Samuel to Saul when Saul disobeys the command and offers sacrifice himself rather than waiting for Samuel to arrive.


message 25: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments I finally picked this up and read the first chapter. (I will catch up) What struck me was his claim that priests are to be ambassadors for Christ. It called to mind Paul's reminder that we are all Christ's ambassadors by our baptism. I don't think about that as much as I should. I am His representative in everything I do and say. I want o leave that to the professional religious, but it is part of the baptismal vocation.


message 26: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Excellent points Irene. I should have remembered the obedience not sacrifice quote. I remember seeing that recently.


message 27: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments The other piece that caught my attention was in chapter 3. His reflection on his vocation is written from his formation in the first half of the 20th century. He uses vocation and the call to ordination as synonomus. Being formed in the second half of the 20th century, I find that jarring, since I have been taught that there are 4 equally valid vocations. Holy Orders and Matrimony are both Sacraments calling individuals to great holiness. Likewise, religious life and the single life are vocations asking for complete surrender and whole-hearted dedication to God. That said, I live the single vocation, but it has never felt like a calling.


message 28: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1282 comments Mod
Irene wrote: " He uses vocation and the call to ordination as synonomus. Being formed in the second half of the 20th century, I find that jarring, since I have been taught that there are 4 equally valid vocations."

To me this says that Sheen was never in doubt about becoming a priest. For him there probably was no distinction. And to be fair, the two terms overlap.


message 29: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments O, I never meant to imply that they don't overlap, that ordination is not a vocation. I only meant to say that ordination is not the only or the normative vocation. I apologize if I was not clear.


message 30: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Irene wrote: "The other piece that caught my attention was in chapter 3. His reflection on his vocation is written from his formation in the first half of the 20th century. He uses vocation and the call to ordin..."

Yes, but even today I hear people say simply "vocation" implying priesthood or religious life. It's a shorthand for a specific vocation. I don't know if there was a distinction at one time. Perhaps Sheen is just using shorthand or perhaps it was an oversight or perhaps there was a distinction. But he wrote this book late in his life, 1978 sticks in my memory, so he would have been fully aware of the distinctions.


message 31: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Manny wrote: "Irene wrote: "The other piece that caught my attention was in chapter 3. His reflection on his vocation is written from his formation in the first half of the 20th century. He uses vocation and the..."

I would agree with Manny here, when I am at Mass after the creed when it is mention vocation it is mentioned as "Priesthood and Religious Life". I think the parish I go to specifies that is what they mean. I am "new" in the Church (10 years) and I have very rarely heard vocations to mean all vocations.

You have to remember when he writes he is writing about his experience in life and I think it might have wanted his autobiography to help men if they were seeking the priesthood as a vocation to get advice from him.

This is a matter of opinion.


message 32: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments I hear the same thing today. There was a time when "vocation" only applied to ordained or religious life. St. Francis De Sales is one of the early spiritual writers who tries to reclaim the language of holiness associated with marriage and single life. But, it never seemed to really catch on in the vernacular. Despite official Church teaching that there are 4 valid vocations, we regularly only applied that term to the call to priesthood or religious life. In catechisms for children in the first half of the century, for example, vocation was only applied to those states. Likewise prayers for vocations have usually been for vocations to priesthood or religious life, not prayers for people to be called to marriage or single life. Textbooks for religious education by the major publishers all now clearly speak of all 4 states as vocations and as calls to holiness. The language that claimed that priesthood and religious vows were superior callings no longer appear in these pages. Instead, children are taught that the highest vocation is their baptism. All other vocations flow from that. No matter which vocation they are called to, Christ's injunction to be "holy as my Heavenly Father is holy" (or perfect depending on your translation) applies to them because they have died and risen with Christ. But, as you all point out, that official language has still not permiated the thinking of everyone and is not reflected in much of our language. Knowing the era in which this man was formed, I am not surprise that this is his language. It is only that the context in which I function has so steeped me in this other way of discussing vocation that I find it jarring when I encounter the more limited notion of vocation.


message 33: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Nikita wrote: "I am "new" in the Church (10 years)."

Ten years is not new. Plus you're fairly devout and seek out knowledge, and so that ten probably should get an experience factor of two times! At some point Nikita you're going to have to stop saying you're new. :)


message 34: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Manny wrote: "Nikita wrote: "I am "new" in the Church (10 years)."

Ten years is not new. Plus you're fairly devout and seek out knowledge, and so that ten probably should get an experience factor of two times! ..."


One day I will not think it, but that is probably when I am dead. Honestly, it always feels new because I am still learning what many were cradled into. I guess that is why I sometimes say I am a toddler in the faith still grasping the walking and learning of words of the Church. :D


message 35: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Irene wrote: "I hear the same thing today. There was a time when "vocation" only applied to ordained or religious life. St. Francis De Sales is one of the early spiritual writers who tries to reclaim the languag..."

I am glad that the religious education is in fact speaking about the 4 vocations, but always lay caution as I mentioned in this thread I have met two extremes (more often than I would want to admit one particular extreme over the other) where priesthood and religious life are pushed as not welcomed and parents do not want their children to view these as possibilities. So, while I am happy they are trying to show the true beauty of the other two they must keep in mind that the 4 need a balance of exposure to those discerning their vocation.

Also vocation has become almost overwhelmed by some telling me that you have a main vocation and then minor vocations. As I said this is a matter of observations. I am not saying not talk about vocations, but it needs a balance. I remember during Vocation Sunday some years back I was listening to a radio broadcast from my home diocese (My husband is in the Navy so we move around) and the Bishop's homily which lasted maybe 25 to 30 minutes focused on all 4 vocations and the importance of letting our children and those coming home to the Church to see these vocations lived out and taught.

Again sorry I ranted.


message 36: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1282 comments Mod
Nikita wrote: "One day I will not think it, but that is probably when I am dead. Honestly, it always feels new because I am still learning what many were cradled into. I guess that is why I sometimes say I am a toddler in the faith still grasping the walking and learning of words of the Church. :D"

I'm a Catholic for 9 years now, and there is definitely a demarcation line, the life before and after coming into full communion.


message 37: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "I'm a Catholic for 9 years now, and there is definitely a demarcation line, the life before and after coming into full communion"

Only nine years Kerstin? My comment to Nikita applies to you too. You know so much and so devout that it multiplies your experience factor multiplies your number of years by a factor of two.


message 38: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1282 comments Mod
Yes. But I wasn't brand new to Catholicism. I grew up in a very Catholic place in southern Germany. We Lutherans were the odd ones out. All the historic churches with their relics, the saints, the processions, much of the liturgical year I was familiar with. All my friends were Catholic. Then I married a Catholic... I also love history, and the further you go back - at least European history, the more Catholic it becomes. Anyway, once I swam the Tiger much of what I already knew was deepened and what I didn't I'm still working on :)


message 39: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Manny,

Unlike Kerstin, I was new to Catholicism entirely and quite honestly Christianity. I grew up with those who were Southern Baptist in name only and many of their children (like my mom) and their children are either gnostic or atheist. Some few are "non-denominational". So when I say I am new to this even after 10/11 years I can say I am still new. I did not know maybe but 1% of the Bible. (I can say that percentage has improved since my conversion) I could not tell you why Jesus was on the Cross. I had a view that God was punishing me which is why I went through things that I did. I felt unworthy, but an unhealthy unworthy. I guess you could say this why I still feel new to the faith, when in fact I should not.


message 40: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
I understand Nikita. God bless you for finding your way.


message 41: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Manny wrote: "I understand Nikita. God bless you for finding your way."

Reading my comment, I want to apologize if I sounded coarse in any way.


message 42: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Nikita wrote: "Manny wrote: "I understand Nikita. God bless you for finding your way."

Reading my comment, I want to apologize if I sounded coarse in any way."


Oh not coarse at all. It sounds very human.


message 43: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 182 comments There is so much depth in just these first four chapters. The humility and the humor of Bishop Sheen is an inspiration. I love the way he continues to bring the theme of being the clay for the master potter to form. I love "He often chooses weak instruments in order that His power be manifested; otherwise it would seem that the good was done by the clay, rather than by the Spirit"


message 44: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "There is so much depth in just these first four chapters. The humility and the humor of Bishop Sheen is an inspiration. I love the way he continues to bring the theme of being the clay for the mast..."

That is a great quote and profound insight. Yes that is very true. I do think Bishop Sheen is being a little modest though. After all he’s on the way to sainthood and sinner Manny is not. ;)


message 45: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 182 comments Manny wrote: "Lisa wrote: "There is so much depth in just these first four chapters. The humility and the humor of Bishop Sheen is an inspiration. I love the way he continues to bring the theme of being the clay..."

As he says at the end of chap1, "there will be three surprises in Heaven. First of all, I will see people there whom I never expected to see. Second, there will be a number whom I expect to be there who will not be there. And, even relying on His mercy, the biggest surprise of all may be that I will be there." I pray that through God's mercy, sinner though I am, I will be there, too.


message 46: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "Manny wrote: "Lisa wrote: "There is so much depth in just these first four chapters. The humility and the humor of Bishop Sheen is an inspiration. I love the way he continues to bring the theme of ..."

I liked that quote too Lisa. He is just a quote machine. Let’s pray that every member of our book club makes it to heaven. And then we can continue our reads there!


message 47: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1282 comments Mod
Manny wrote: "liked that quote too Lisa. He is just a quote machine. Let’s pray that every member of our book club makes it to heaven. And then we can continue our reads there!"

LOL! I certainly need more time than I am allotted here to read everything that catches my eye ;-)


message 48: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3569 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "Manny wrote: "liked that quote too Lisa. He is just a quote machine. Let’s pray that every member of our book club makes it to heaven. And then we can continue our reads there!"

LOL! I certainly n..."


Well, I wonder if i heaven we actually get to read books or they are just part of our new consciousness already put in. Just a thought experiment. :-)


message 49: by Madeleine (new)

Madeleine Myers | 562 comments I can't imagine heaven without libraries!


message 50: by Gerri (new)

Gerri Bauer (gerribauer) | 142 comments Surely the Lord would allow us to continue our Book Club ;)

Listen to me, assuming I'll be up there. I pray I will be! Sinner though I am.


« previous 1
back to top