Thursday 4 April 2019

Your Life Is Worth Living - Fulton J. Sheen - 50 Lessons to Deepen Your Faith

Your Life Is Worth Living: 
50 Lessons to Deepen Your Faith
Fulton J. Sheen 
Image Catholic Books
ISBN 9781984823281
eISBN 9781984823298

This particular book is available in numerous editions from several publishers. A few with shorter titles of ‘The Life of all Living’ and ‘Life Is Worth Living’ in researching this review I came across 24 different editions, and three different subtitles also. The subtitle of this edition is, 50 Lessons to Deepen Your Faith, some of the others are: ‘The Christian Philosophy of Life’ and ‘First and Second Series’. For this book is compiled from a series of audio recordings that ran over 21 hours on 25 vinyl records. The book was composed to take those lessons and make them available in a different medium, as it had been available only on vinyl and cassette for over 20 years. The sections in this book are:

Foreword By Robert Barron
Preface To The 2001 Edition
Part I: God And Man
1: The Philosophy Of Life
2: Conscience
3: Good And Evil
4: The Divine Invasion
5: Line Up The Claimants
6: Revealed Truth
7: Miracles
8: New Testament Revelation

Part II: Christ And His Church
9: Divinity Of Christ
10: Humanity Of Christ
11: The Blessed Trinity
12: The Mother Of Jesus
13: Christ In The Creed: Birth
14: Sufferings, Death, And Resurrection
15: Ascension
16: Holy Spirit
17: Church: Body Of Christ
18: Peter: Vicar Of Christ
19: Authority And Infallibility
20: Communism And The Church

Part III: Sin
21: Original Sin And Angels
22: Original Sin And Mankind
23: Effects Of Original Sin
24: Sanctifying Grace

Part IV: Sacraments
25: Grace And The Sacraments
26: Baptism
27: Confirmation
28: Holy Eucharist
29: The Eucharistic Sacrifice
30: The Mass
31: Sin
32: Sin And Penance
33: Penance
34: Sacrament Of The Sick
35: Holy Orders
36: The Sacrament Of Marriage

Part V: World, Soul And Things
37: Sex Is A Mystery
38: Birth Prevention
39: The Four Tensions Of Love
40: Marriage Problems
41: Commandments 1–3
42: Commandments 4–10
43: The Law Of Love: Total Commitment
44: Death And Judgment
45: Purgatory
46: Heaven Is Not So Far Away
47: The Hell There Is
48: The Feminine Principle In Religion
49: Prayer Is A Dialogue
50: World, Soul, And Things
Reflection And Study Guide By Maura Poston Zagrans 

Bishop Robert Barron in the forward to this edition states:

“The book you’re about to read is the closest thing we have to a Summa Sheeniana, a summary of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s teaching on the Christian faith. Much of the wisdom contained in Sheen’s radio programs, television shows, sermons, classroom presentations, retreat talks, books, and lectures is synthetically presented here. The essays gathered in this book are written transcripts of audiotapes that the greatest Catholic evangelist of the twentieth century made in 1965, when he was seventy years old. What you hear is the confident voice of an old pro, a master teacher who had been plowing the evangelical and apologetic field for some forty years.”

He also states:

“Second, he demonstrates in this book, and indeed throughout his work, a marvelously integrated understanding of the mysteries of the Christian faith. We have entered, sadly in my judgment, into an era of hyperspecialization in theology. According to the cliché, we have many theologians and philosophers who know more and more about less and less. But Sheen ranges widely and comfortably over the whole arena of Catholic thought, speculating on creation, the Incarnation, the doctrine of God, the Trinity, theological anthropology, Grace, Sin, Redemption, the Resurrection, the blessed Mother, the Papacy, and the Mystical Body. And he doesn’t simply cover this extraordinarily wide terrain. He shows the interconnections among the various topics, how, for instance, the Church is the prolongation of the Incarnation across space and time and why the virginity of Mary is an indicator of the truth of the Incarnation; how a correct understanding of sin leads to a correct understanding of the Cross, et cetera. In so doing, he practices the art of truly systematic theology, and he manages thereby to make the faith satisfying both to the intellectual and to the aesthetic sensibility of his reader.”

This book was an incredible read. I had a hard time putting it down and enjoyed it so much that as soon as I finished reading it, I put it back on my ‘to be read list’! I have a feeling that this is one of those books that I will read annually for many years to come. And with each reading will find something new and life changing to apply, to reflect upon, and to grow in. I am certain the next time I read this book I will take my time and read each of the 50 chapters over 50 days. There is such a wealth of knowledge and applicable material in this volume to our lives today.

I only started reading Sheen a few years ago. In that time I have read 13 books by or about Sheen, and I can declare that this is one of the best. If someone were to ask me where to start with Sheen’s works going forward, this book will be at the top of my list.

An excellent read that I can not stress how import a read this is. Pick it up I am sure you will not be disappointed!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Fulton J. Sheen:
God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy
The Seven Last Words
Philosophy of Science
The Eternal Galilean
Calvary and the Mass
The Cross and the Beatitudes
Communism and the Conscience of the West
Peace of Soul
Three to Get Married
Life Is Worth Living Series 1-5
Way to Happiness
Way to Inner Peace 
Life of Christ
Missions and the World Crisis
The Power of Love
Footprints in a Darkened Forest
Lenten and Easter Inspirations
Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen

Books About Fulton J. Sheen:
The Archbishop and I
Fulton Sheen - Louise Merrie - CTS Biographies

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