What I've Learned From Playing Video Games with Ven. Fulton Sheen
One of my favorite pastimes is playing video games. There are certainly days when I spend way too much time playing them, leading me to ask, “What am I doing with my life?” In order to justify my playing, I began listening to YouTube lectures and podcasts to soak up valuable information while I score touchdowns or storm the beaches of Normandy. Now, there have definitely been times when I’ve focused too much on the game and missed half of a lecture. Either way, it was in these lectures and podcasts that I was first introduced to the wealth of wisdom that is Venerable Fulton Sheen. Randomly, Fulton Sheen popped up on some suggested videos on YouTube, and I was hooked. Over the course of the past two years, I have found myself on many Saturday mornings, planted in front of the TV, listening to Fulton Sheen speak about "Old Pots", "The Mass" and countless other topics. I’ve nearly depleted the resources on YouTube. In my journey through these talks, I’ve picked up many lessons.
1) Make a daily holy minute/hour
One thing Ven. Fulton Sheen shared multiple times is the importance for him making a daily holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He would often end retreats he led for priests with the invitation to spend one hour a day in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Sheen has hinted at this, but it’s been confirmed by others, that he never missed a single day of his priestly life in front of the Blessed Sacrament. For those who often wonder how he was able to touch so many hearts so deeply, how he was able to convey the Truths of our faith so concisely, and how he was able to look upon others so lovingly, one has to look no further than his daily holy hour. It’s most likely that we as men are not in positions where an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament is feasible for us. Nevertheless, we should make some sort of daily pilgrimage to Our Lord. This might mean 15 minutes in front of the Blessed Sacrament. For me, I’ve not made a great effort of getting in front of the Blessed Sacrament daily, and I work in a building where Our Lord is present perpetually! But if it’s too difficult to make it in front of Our Blessed Lord, we should be devoting at least 15 minutes a day to some sort of reserved mental prayer during which we can listen to the promptings of the Lord in our lives.
2) Learn to speak and carry yourself with grace
If you’ve never seen a photo of Fulton Sheen, make sure you take a look at him or watch one of his lectures on YouTube. The man was always fully vested and had an air of regality to him. He looked sharp and sounded smart. Even if someone does not agree with all that Ven. Fulton Sheen was sharing, they could not dispute the fact that the man looked and sounded good doing it. In the hours upon hours that I’ve listened and watched him, there have been only a handful of times where he’s slipped up in his speech. He always knows precisely what he wants to say, and how to say it. You can easily grasp the fact that this was a man who practiced and rehearsed everything. Another thing you’ll notice from watching him is that he never has any notes. In one talk , we hear Ven. Fulton Sheen explain that he didn’t use notes essentially because if he expected himself to know the material from memory in his heart, how could he expect his audience to do so too when they don’t have notes? What made Bishop Sheen so convincing was his mastery, his patience, his tenacity, the way he dressed and carried himself: all things that we as men are capable of and should do. For you teachers out there, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve learned from Ven. Fulton Sheen is to tear up all your notes at the end of a school year. That way, you may again devote the time and attention to learning the material anew and teach it in a fresh way the following year.
3) Care for one another deeply
Now this last one might sound cheesy, and you can certainly find this piece of advice from countless Christians (and non-Christians), but there’s something unique in the way that Ven. Fulton Sheen looks upon others with charity. I think this last point hinges upon and is fueled by Sheen’s devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He was able to see who He was in the Eucharist, and therefore He was familiar to him, to the point where whoever Bishop Sheen encountered, he was meeting the Christ. When you hear Ven. Fulton Sheen share stories of his interactions with others, it’s never boastful. In the storytelling, however, you can hear and see the true devotion that Sheen brought to each person he met. I certainly struggle with this. Oftentimes, it is very easy for me to handle teachings of the Faith in the abstract. But when I encounter others who Christ commands me to love, I distance myself and ignore Jesus’ admonishment to his disciples struggling with this same act of Charity: “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:45). Fulton Sheen has a way of seeing the connection between the Truth of the Faith and the One Who is Truth in each person he encounters. In watching and listening to him speak, I see the need in my own life to be more compassionate for others, and to care for them deeply.
I would strongly encourage you to develop a friendship with Ven. Fulton Sheen. Get to know him by listening to his talks (I’ve linked a few in this article) and reading his books. Don’t be afraid to engage him in conversation through prayer. Ask Ven. Fulton Sheen for his intercession, ask him to pray for you, to assist you in your vocation, to guide you into becoming the man that God has created you to be. There are many influential male saints in my life, and Fulton Sheen is certainly one of them. If you’ve never prayed to the saints before, or don’t have any devotions to particular saints, consider starting now. It is so crucial for us to connect with other members of the Communion of Saints, who want nothing less than our salvation and our joining them in Heaven.
Venerable Fulton Sheen, pray for us!
Find out more information about Ven. Fulton Sheen’s cause for canonization here: http://www.archbishopsheencause.org
You may contact Charles at: firstname.lastname@example.org