"Did Fulton Sheen Prophesy About These Times?

Part 2

"This is Part II of a good article for Lent about the Venerable Fulton Sheen’s thoughts on the times we live in and our part in them. Yes, it’s dated in some of the examples he uses, but not all, and the principles and ideas he proclaims are valid always. It’s by Joseph Pronechen and is from The National Catholic Register. We’ve broken it into 2 parts.

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"Did Fulton Sheen Prophesy About These Times?

“The only way out of this crisis is spiritual... The time is nearer than you think.”
By Joseph Pronechen

Looking on the Horizon
Already in 1947 Sheen saw “the coming of the Day of the Beast, when there will be no buying or selling unless men have been signed with the sign of the Beast who would devour  the child of the Mother of Mothers.”

The  good  bishop  noted  —  remember  this  was 1947 — “With the family disintegrating with one divorce for every two marriages in 35 major cities in  the  United  States, with five  divorces for every six marriages in Los Angeles—there is no denying that something has snapped… Anyone who has had  anything  to  do  with  God  is  hated  today, whether his vocation was to announce His Divine  Son,  Jesus  Christ,  as  did  the  Jew,  or  to follow Him as the Christian.”

What would Sheen tell us today as we’ve deteriorated far beyond what he already saw as he added:
"Every now and then in history the devil is given a long rope, for we must never forget that Our Lord said to Judas and his band: This is your hour. God has His  day, but evil has its hour when the shepherd shall be struck and the sheep dispersed.”

Yet Sheen is not fearful for the Church but for the world in speaking of the “emergence of the anti-Christ against Christ.”

“We tremble not that God may be dethroned, but that barbarism may reign; it is not Transubstantiation that may perish, but the home;  not the sacraments that may fade away, but the moral law.  The  Church  can  have  no  different words for the weeping  woman than those of Christ on the way to Calvary: Weep not over me; but weep for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:28)

Over the centuries the Church has had its Good Fridays, he reminds us, but there’s always Easter Sundays  “because Jesus promised the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.’ (Matthew 28:20)

As bleak as things may be, never has “there been such a strong argument for the need of Christianity, for men are now discovering that their misery and their woes, their wars and their revolutions increase in direct ratio  and proportion to the neglect of Christianity. Evil is   self-defeating; good alone is self- preserving.”

Prophetic Recommendations
Like prophets of old, Sheen stood firm in hope, giving practical recommendations as true today as in 1947.

First, Christians “must realize that a moment of crisis is not a time of despair, but of opportunity. The more we can anticipate the doom, the more we can avoid it. Once we recognize we are under Divine Wrath, we become eligible for Divine Mercy.  It was because of famine the prodigal said: ‘I will arise, and will go to my father.’ The very disciplines of God create hope.  The thief on the right came to God by a crucifixion. The Christian finds a basis for optimism in the most thorough-going pessimism, for his Easter, is within three days of Good Friday.”

Sheen offered this great, hope-filled encouragement too: “One of the surprises of heaven will be to see how many saints were made in the midst of chaos, and  war  and  revolution.”  He  points  out  the  great multitude  standing  before  the  throne  of  God  and identified as “These are the ones who have survived the  time  of  great  distress;  they  have  washed  their robes  and  made  them  white  in  the  blood  of  the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14)

There’s more to spur us on, firm in hope.  Sheen strongly reminds that  after  “Our  Divine Lord had pictured the catastrophes that would fall upon a morally disordered civilization… he  did  not  say ‘Fear,’ but when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:28)

Sheen told all Catholics, Jews, and Protestants “that the world is serving your souls with an awful summons — the summons to heroic efforts at spiritualization.  Catholics ought to stir up their faith, hang a crucifix in their homes to remind them that we too have to carry a cross, gather the family together every night to recite the Rosary that through corporate prayer there might be intercession for the world; go to daily Mass that the spirit of love and  sacrifice might be sprinkled in our business, our social life and our duties.   More heroic souls might undertake the  Holy  Hour  daily,  particularly  in  parishes  conscious of the needs of prayers of reparation as well as petition,  conducting  such  devotions in their churches.”
Sheen urged all to pray. “The forces of evil are united; the forces of good are divided.   We may not be able to meet in the same pew — would to God we did — but we can meet on our knees.”

More Necessities
Sheen added orders for our spiritual and eternal good. “Those who have the faith had better keep in the state of grace and those who have neither had better find out what they mean, for in the coming age there will be only one way to stop your trembling knees, and that will be to get down on them and pray.  The most important problem in the world today is your soul, for that is what the struggle is about.”

There is only one path out of the chaotic conditions, the concerned bishop revealed.  “The only way out of this crisis is spiritual, because the trouble is not in the way we keep our books,  but in the way we keep our souls. The time is nearer than you think.”
He advised us to turn to St. Michael in prayer. We once did with the St. Michael prayer after every single Mass until the 1960s. Today, some dioceses are restoring the practice. Would they all did.

We’re to turn especially to Our Lady, Sheen counseled, then prayed, “As Thou didst form the Word made flesh in Thy womb, form Him in our hearts. Be in our midst as tongues of fire descend upon our cold hearts and if this be night, then come, O Lady of the Blue of Heaven, show us once again the Light of the World in the heart of a day.”
And she will. As at Fatima she said, In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.

Joseph Pronechen: © 2019 EWTN News, Inc. Reprinted with permission from the National Catholic Register – www.ncregister.com"
"Lent 2019"


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