Chapters 4 to 6 The World's First Love: Mary, Mother of God 2


Sheen devotes Chapter Four to establish the reality of the virgin birth. From the revealed Word of God in the Scriptures and the continuous teaching of the Church from its earliest days, the virgin birth was held and passed along to each generation.

Raspberry Zingers

In Chapter Five, I find, what I’ll call “zingers”…these one or two liners that pack a concentrated dose of theological insight and cause me pause for reflection. The chapter focuses on the unique role of Mary as Mother of God and that to understand her we need to start with Christ. “Zinger One” – “The less we think of Him (Jesus), the less we think of her (Mary): the more we think of Him, the more we think of her.” Here, Sheen is not referring to “less” as the amount of time our thoughts dwell on Jesus and Mary, but how fully we embrace the Divinity of Christ.

“Zinger Two” is related – “There is never any danger that men will think too much of Mary; the  danger is that they will think too little of Christ.” For Sheen, our appreciation of Mary is, in a sense, proportional to how important Jesus is in our lives.  This leads to “Zinger Three” (which is definitely coming out in some homily!) – “It may be objected, ‘Our Lord is enough for me. I have no need of her.’ But He needed her, whether we do or not”. Mary became an integral part of God the Father’s plan for salvation through her free cooperation.  She was the Immaculate bearer of the Divine Word. Jesus needed Mary as the sinless mother who gave birth to Him and cared for him. How foolish are we not to also seek her intercession and give her a special place in our spiritual life.

Sheen, in the middle of Chapter Six,  gives a touching and insightful view of all mothers. Because it is God who infuses the eternal soul in every person, a woman, in giving birth, participates in her vocation of being the bearer of the Divine. How beautiful! In her womb, the human and divine unite.

Please share your thoughts and comments. Did anything stand out as a “zinger” for you?!


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2 thoughts on “Chapters 4 to 6

  • Debbie Kerch

    Every chapter seems to shed a new light into understanding the mystery of the Incarnation and the beauty of Our Mother Mary. I love how Fulton Sheen argues the importance of tradition in the Catholic Church. What an argument for the validity of the Virgin Birth and importance of Catholic Tradition in it’s teachings. Never before have I understood like I do now the role Mary has played in our salvation history. I love how he describes the importance of Divine Love in order for Jesus to take on flesh. He is God’s Divine Son, but his human characteristics and the earthly love He receives are from his Mother Mary. I can’t even imagine what it was like to be gifted with the role of raising God’s son, but also her son. When I contemplate all that I am reading sometimes it’s seems simple and yet their are times when I find it difficult to wrap my head around all that I’m learning. It is times like the latter that I ask myself how can anyone who loves Christ and is a faithful follower not see the significance of Mary in Christ’s life, but in our lives as well. The Father chose her for very specific reasons. Her humility, her devotion to God and her ability to do the will of God perfectly enabled her to be the God bearer for all humankind. Not only did she make herself available to God the Father, she makes herself available to us, to lead us to her Son. What a gift for us!

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  • Mary French

    Zingers! So many! Where to begin? Important and profound was the emphasis that Sheen placed on Tradition, long established, accepted, and practiced before the Gospels were written and gathered into what we know as the Holy Bible. The explanation of the Gospels serving as a record of what early Christians already knew is quite important and leads into his discussion on the Virgin birth that will follow. How logical that the teaching on the Virgin birth came from Christ Himself. It doesn’t make sense otherwise. The argument is deep, and probably requires a couple of readings through to really absorb it all. Once you grasp all that is offered in Chapter 4, the rest of this week’s reading material is easily affirmed. But for me, what was most profound, came in Chapter 5:

    Zinger: “…Mary ‘brought forth her first born and laid him in a manger’. Her first born. St. Paul calls Him the ‘first born of all creatures’. Does that mean that she was to have other children? Most certainly! But not according the flesh, for Jesus was Her only Son. But she was to have other children by the spirit.”

    The information may not be new, but this way of putting side by side the “brothers of Jesus” and “children by the spirit” puts it all into perspective. We have often heard the analogy of the Mystical Body of Christ and the birth of the Church, but I think we tend to forget or overlook or perhaps not even understand the role of Mary in our own birth by spirit.

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