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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

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"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Fulton Sheen's Life of Christ

How does a person combat the commercialism of Christmas? Now that Advent is upon us, what can we do to keep focused on the Incarnation rather than on the carnage of Christmas shopping? Here is one suggestion: I love to begin Advent by reading the first twenty pages or so of Fulton Sheen's Life of Christ. Here is an excerpt:
Of every other child that is born into the world, friends can say that it resembles his mother. This was the first instance in time that anyone could say that the mother resembled the Child. This is the beautiful paradox of the Child who made His mother; the mother, too, was only a child. It was also the first time in the history of the world that anyone could ever think of heaven as being anywhere else than "somewhere up there"; when the Child was in her arms, Mary now looked down to Heaven.
In the filthiest place in the world, a stable, Purity was born. He, Who was later to be slaughtered by men acting as beasts, was born among beasts. He, Who would call Himself the "living Bread descended from Heaven," was laid in a manger, literally, a place to eat. Centuries before, the Jews had worshipped the golden calf, and the Greeks, the ass. Men bowed down before them as before God. The ox and the ass now were present to make their innocent reparation, bowing down before their God.
You can see that Sheen sounds a lot like G.K. Chesterton, one of my favorite authors. Sheen is pithy and paradoxical, and has a real knack for making God real. Life of Christ makes a great starting point for prayerful meditation. If you start reading it now, and really take your time, you can begin Advent by reading about Jesus' birth, and by the time Lent and Easter arrive you will be reading about Jesus' death and resurrection.


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posted by Nick Senger at 6:02 AM

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