Flávia Ghelardi shares her thoughts about a new edition combining two important works by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.
The first impulse I had when I started reading The Greatest Commandment by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen was to highlight everything. It all seemed so important, so profound. In some way it also seemed so new, even if the main subject of the book is Love, such an ordinary theme. Then I realized that more important than highlighting the text was to really learn what was being told to me. It is impossible to love something or someone that you don´t know, so the more you know the more you can love. It this way I can say that this book helped me to grow in my love of God, because it taught me so much about Love Himself.
Ven. Fulton Sheen expresses himself very well, so I was amazed how he took me by the hand and slowly helped me understand such complex concepts like the Trinity, the reality of evil, and the origins of mankind, among others. In this new book, publisher Sophia Institute Press includes two of Sheen's works: God Love You and Love One Another.
The chapter about “Man Fleeing God’s Love” is very actual and leads us to a deep examination of our conscience, to see if we might be having some of the attitudes described there. I especially liked the chapter about “Divine Friendship,” where the sacraments were compared to the seven conditions upon which life is possible (natural life x supernatural life) and explained in such a way that we can really understand the need and the beauty of all sacraments.
The Sacraments are the kisses of God under the visible sign of which He floods the soul with the riches of His Love.
Our world is so confusing that sometimes we cannot see where the good is, things get blurry. Even within the Church we can get mixed messages, so this book is an excellent tool to help us to form our consciences. It is like a lighthouse that guides us through the turbulent sea of existence. It is very clear, there is no grey area: Ven. Fulton Sheen explains openly what is good and what is evil in the aspect of being human. He shows how we can become better human beings and truly children of God.
The examples he uses to explain complex themes are very simple, yet, very profound too. This is just one quote explaining the gift of faith and union with God:
Thus, it is evident that though union with God is a free gift, it cannot be preserved nor increased without our cooperation. I might wake up some morning and discover I had suddenly been infused with the gift of playing the piano; but unless I practiced from that point on, I could lose the gift. Similarly, the gift of faith must not be left barren.
There are some chapters that were very interesting about friendship with Jews, Protestants and non-Catholics, with practical ways we can address this subject. In a time where there is a lot of talking about ecumenism, these thoughts shine a bright light on how we can walk this path.
The Greatest Commandment deserves to be studied, not simply to be read. You can do that with your spouse, your teens and young adults, your mom’s group. You can take your time at each chapter and really savor its beautiful and deep teachings. It is also a wonderful resource for Catechism.
To end this review, I chose a prayer from the prayers chapter that is very beautiful and important in the worrying times we are living:
Prayer for Peace
Give peace, O Lord, in our days; for there is non other that fighteth for us by only Thou, our God. Let there be peace in Thy strength, O Lord. And plenty in Thy strong places. Let us pray: O God, from whom proceed holy desires, right counsels, and just works; grant unto us, Thy servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be devoted to Thy service, and that, being delivered from the fear of our enemies, we may pass our time in peace under Thy protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Copyright 2022 Flávia Ghelardi
Images: Palma il Giovane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; Canva Pro
About the Author
Flávia Ghelardi is the mom of four, a former lawyer already "promoted" to full time mom. Flávia published her first book FORTALECENDO SUA FAMÍLIA and is a member of Schoenstatt´s Apostolic Movement. Flávia loves to speak about motherhood and the important role of women, as desired by God, for our society. She blogs at www.fortalecendosuafamilia.blogspot.com.