Chapters 1 to 3 The World's First Love: Mary, Mother of God 2

It is quite evident that the threat of Communism was felt in every area of life in the late 40’s and early 50’s. “Red Scare” was the term used to describe the perceived fear of Communistic threats to the United States. Archbishop Sheen was not immune from the influence of this phobia as we find a unique comparison of Mary and Marx in chapter 3! I am going to place that section aside!

The Annunciation by Leonardo Da Vinci, source Pixabay –

In the first chapter, Sheen tells how all of creation, through its very existence fulfills the ideal for which God has brought it into being, with one exception. From a towering redwood tree to a tiny ant, all of creation bears and shows forth the fullest purpose of its creation. However, for people, Sheen states, God has two pictures of us: what we are and what we ought to be. Through the choices of our free will,  our two pictures differ. But there is one person, Sheen tells us, for whom God sees only one picture – Mary! Being a numbers person, I like the mathematical reference he gives, we are a minus sign (I would suggest a “less than” sign), Mary is an equal sign.  To visualize –

What we are < what we ought to be
What Mary is = what Mary ought to be

These simple comparisons can help inspire us to strive to balance the equation. We have a model, Mary, who fulfilled God’s ideal. Through her example and intercession we can improve to becoming the people God created us to be!

In Chapter Two, Sheen looks at love and the gift of freedom.  He show the differences between true freedom and our construct of freedom. I found several of Sheen’s statements in this chapter provided a wealth of reflection material. Here are a few I found insightful:

  • When man falls in love with God, he immediately goes out in search of a neighbor.
  • Freedom implies not just a mere choice but also a responsibility for choice.
  • Love therefore is not only an affirmation; it is also a rejection.
  • Augustine has said: “love God, and then do whatever you please.”
  • And there is the freedom of a total abandonment to God: our free will is the only thing that is really our own. Our health, our wealth, our power – all these God can take from us. But our freedom he leaves to us, even in hell. Because freedom is our own, it is the only perfect gift that we can make to God.

Mary makes that perfect gift to God, mentioned in the last bullet point, through her consent at the annunciation, “Be it done unto me, according to your word”.

What new insights did you gain from these chapters? Feel free to comment and/or to expound on any of the thoughts above!

Share your thoughts!

2 thoughts on “Chapters 1 to 3

  • Debbie Kerch

    I absolutely love this book. I decided to highlight the sentences that spoke to me and there are several pages that are all yellow. What really hit me in the 1st chapter was the beautiful relationship between Mary and God the Father. When he talks about a blueprint for the perfect mother for His Son it made me realize how truly special she is, not only to God the Father, Son and Spirit, but to all humanity. She is the being to emulate. God not only made her for His Son, but for all humanity. She is the perfect blueprint of a mother, Our Mother. I love particularly in Chapter 2 when Fulton Sheen said before God remade humanity He consulted with humanity. What a dynamic moment in time. It made me realize how much God wants a relationship with us, a personal relationship and Our Mother Mary is here to help us with that relationship.

    In Chapter 3 what really spoke to me is service. We are here to love and serve others and the example Mary set is a prime example. If you think about the times, she could have sat at home self-absorbed and worried about how she would explain being with child. She could have worried how will this look to others, or how will I explain this to my parents and make Joseph understand. She could have been totally self absorbed with worry, but she loved and trusted the Father that all this would come to pass knowing she was being asked to be an instrumental part of salvation history by bringing the Messiah into the world. Instead of worrying she answered the call with service to her elderly cousin Elizabeth. The meeting between the two was filled with the Holy Spirit. I have never heard the Visitation described that way before and it shed a whole new light on that mystery of the rosary for me. Simply put, it was beautiful.

    In closing, the sentence that really jumped out at me and made me a little sad and reflect was a line from the 1st Chapter which I think can describe the world at times or even myself on occasion – “Like unhatched eggs, some of us refuse to be warmed by Divine Love, which is so necessary for incubation at a higher level. We are in constant need of repair…” What an insight to our human nature. Mary can show us how to summit our wills to the Father’s and be open to repair. What a beautiful example she has set for us.

  • Mary French

    Archbishop Sheen always has SO much to say – I don’t even know where to begin except to note that his perspective on many elements of our Faith give me an extraordinary number of “Ah-hah!” moments, because of his ability to reveal different angles that I never considered. It makes the reading a little more slow-going, as I feel like I need to take more time to digest the words or even to go back and re-read certain paragraphs. I am going to attempt to limit myself to one thought per chapter to share!

    Chapter 1: What lingers with me most about this chapter is the wonderful analogy between the Garden of Eden and Mary, and how, viewed from this perspective, it makes perfect sense that Mary’s conception would have been immaculate. His proof for Immaculate Conception completely undoes the non-believer who dismisses God and Original Sin and allows such a grace for himself.

    Chapter 2: I love how our author discusses Redemption as a plan of cooperation between God and man, one that requires human consent before giving God a human nature. I think we tend to forget that. It gets ‘lost in the sauce’ so to speak. In a nutshell, he reasoned for us why mercy without justice simply couldn’t work. Personally, I find his proof airtight.

    Chapter 3: It’s hard for me to narrow this chapter down to one impression. The history teacher in me loves the comparison of Mary’s Revolution to that of Marx. It really puts the two in perspective in a way where we can see it as Fullness of God compared to void of God. Fullness of Light to complete darkness. But what I find most important in this chapter is the discussion surrounding how our ego (pride) takes up space that is intended for God. The more prideful and selfish we are, the less space we have within for God. A sandbox filled with sand, can’t be filled with gold, Sheen tells us, which gives us a great visual to keep in mind when we are constantly reminded and urged to ’empty ourselves’ to make room for God. It really is that simple.