There is one page in Fulton J. Sheen’s World’s First Love that I cannot forget and I cannot stop sharing.
It happens to relate to today’s Gospel reading, so I am thrilled to share it with you!
To set up the framework of this quotation, in the chapter, “Virginity and Love,” Fulton Sheen talks about how Virginity (specifically referring to those in consecrated, celibate vocations: priests, brothers, sisters, lay consecrated) is neither the opposite of love nor the opposite of generation (meaning “bearing life”). He makes a case that bearing children of the spirit is greater than bearing children of the flesh (physical parents are supposed to bear both), using today’s Gospel as an example.
TODAY’s GOSPEL: Matthew 12:46-50
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
FULTON SHEEN, p. 170 of World’s First Love:
“When the woman in the crowd praised the Mother of Our Lord, He turned the praise to spiritual motherhood, and said that she who did the will of His Father in heaven was His mother. Relationship was here lifted from the level of the flesh to the spirit. To beget a body is blessed; to save a soul is more blessed, for such is the Father’s Will… There would, therefore, seem to be implied in all virginity the necessity of apostleship and the begetting of souls for Christ.
God, Who hated the man who buried his talent in the ground, will certainly despise those who pledge themselves to be in love with Him, and yet show no new life–converts or souls saved through contemplation. Birth control, whether undertaken by husband and wife, or by a virgin dedicated to Christ, is reprehensible. On Judgment Day, God will ask all the married and all virgins the same question: ‘Where are your children?’* ‘Where are the fruits of your love, the torches that should be kindled by the fires of your passion?’ Virginity is meant for generation as much as married love is.”
*the bold is my emphasis, not Sheen’s