Saturday, June 07, 2008

Archbishop F.J. Sheen to Pope J.P. II...

November 26th, 1979

Your Holiness:

After the greeting extended me by Your Holiness at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, and the beautiful letter on my Sixtieth Anniversary, were it not for the renewed strength the Lord gave me, I should have sung my "Nunc Dimittis."

But I am still, thank God, blessed with the Psalmist's promise - "Vigorous in old age like a tree full of sap." (92:14)

I bow in humble gratitude for the Pontifical approval of my ministry of the Word, saying with Saint Augustine: Nisi fideliter praecederet Piscator, Non humiliter sequeretur Orator.

Pray for Your Holiness? That I always do for the Vicar of Christ, but in this fourth cycle of a crisis which strikes the Body of Christ every five hundred years, I pray for Your Holiness as for another Gregory the Great, Gregory VII, Pius V, and for our times as the poet Slowacki put it: "A Slav Pope will sweep out the Churches and make them clean within."

Every night when silence gives vision scope, I pray to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for the Chief Shepherd of our souls, and the only moral authority left in the world.

On the one hand, my heart bleeds for Your Holiness, for like Peter knocking at our doors, some of us like Rhoda hear Your voice but do not admit You into our hearts.

On the other hand, there is being fulfilled in the Vicar what was said of the Lord: "Why the whole world has gone after him!" (John 12:19)

I wish I were younger to enjoy the blessings to come, for as one of our poets put it:

"Lift up thy head and hark
What sounds are in the dark,
For His Feet are coming to thee
On the waters!"

In prayerful gratitude for Your Blessing, I remain,
Obediently Yours in Christ,

+Fulton J. Sheen
Titular Archbishop of Newport

-Treasure in Clay by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, c. 1980.

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