Zeal crucial in passing torch of faith
A Christian is a man to whom Our Lord has given other men. He breaks bread to the poor through our hands, He consoles the sick through our lips, He visits the sorrowful upon our feet, He sees the fields of harvest through our eyes, and He gathers the bundles into His everlasting barns through our toil.
To be worthy of the name Christian, then, means that we, too, must thirst for the spread of the divine love; and if we do not thirst, then we shall never be invited to sit down at the banquet of life.
Crowns shall be given only to the victors, and the chalice of everlasting wine only to those who thirst.
A Catholic who does not strive to spread his Faith is a parasite on the life of the Church; he who is not girding his loins for apostolate is abdicating his seat on the dais of Christianity; he who is not bearing fruit is like a tree cut down on the road, impeding the march of the army of God. He who is not a conquering spirit is a renegade.
The torch of faith has been given to us not to delight our eyes but to enkindle the torches of our fellow men. Unless we burn and are on fire for the divine cause, a glacial invasion will sweep the earth, which will be the end, for “The Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).
The measure of our apostolate is the intensity of our love. A human heart loves to talk about the object of his love and loves to hear that object praised.
If we love Our Lord, then we will talk about His holy cause, for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt 12: 34). To those who have such love, there is never the excuse of a want of opportunity. Our Lord has told us “the harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few” (Matt 9:37).
To the zealous Christian, every country is a mission country; every banquet room, a Simon’s house, where another Magdalen can be found; every ship, another bark of Peter, from which nets of salvation can be let down; every crowded city street, another Tyre and Sidon, where the whelps that eat the crumbs from the master’s table can be rewarded for their faith; and every cross is a throne where thieves become courtiers.
Excerpt by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, from The Cries of Jesus from the Cross: An Anthology (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2018), from “The Need for Zeal,” pp. 239-40.
The VENERABLE ARCHBISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN (1895-1979), from El Paso, IL, was auxiliary bishop of New York (1951-66), and bishop of Rochester (1966-69). He began appearing on ABC Television’s Life Is Worth Living in 1952, despite his timeslot competing against Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra. The show enjoyed enormous success, reaching tens of millions of viewers by 1954. His two great loves were the Blessed Mother and The Eucharist; and his cause for canonization was opened in 2002.