Today I’d like to share some of the thoughts Bishop Sheen offered in one of his videos, hoping that his words will resonate in some way with us all. He proposed that most of us live below our level of energy and can do more than we actually do in our lives. An experiment in hypnotism was used to demonstrate this premise. The person hypnotized was told he could lift 40 pounds greater than he thought he could and was able to do that. Similarly, when told he could only lift something 40 pounds lighter, that became true as well. In response to this experiment Bishop Sheen encouraged us to set our goals high and work to the limit of our ability. He encouraged us to overcome indifference that often creeps into our lives and use our precious time in giving ourselves more generously to others. He directed us to “be prepared to do more” and to “waste ourselves” for the good of others. He believes we can do this because we have unlimited energy in the sense that as our energy is spent, it is not exhausted, but renewed. And, thus, we have more.
Bishop Sheen used the gospel story of the woman who entered the house of Simon as an example. She was a sinner, but Jesus allowed her to lie at his feet and anoint them with her precious perfume. We are told that she poured it out lavishly, unsparingly — a gesture of the unlimited giving Jesus himself demonstrated and preached about throughout his time on earth. Recall that Jesus promised us that his reward would be “pressed down and overflowing.” Bishop Barron refers to this as the “law of the gift.” He tells us that every time we give ourselves away doing God’s work our being increases in the measure that we give it away and, thus, we enter into a greater share of the divine life.
Probably one of the most well-known persons in demonstrating this principle of giving is Mother Teresa. This small woman spent most of her waking hours walking the streets, even lifting bodies and carrying them to a safe place to receive care. How did she do it? The Bishop tells us that she received new strength as she spent her energy serving others during those long, trying hours. That, he says, “is wasting your life” for God!
In his talk Bishop Sheen told a story that might inspire us to put his words into practice.
A teacher was talking to a little boy, asking him if he believed in Jesus. The boy responded with a definite “No.” Surprised, the teacher asked him, “Why not?” The boy did not give a direct answer immediately, but challenged the teacher saying, “Is Jesus God?” “Yes.” Then the boy responded, “If Jesus is God, he can make anything. Right?” “Yes,” said the teacher who was wondering where this was going. Then the boy said, “God made trees which make other trees, animals that make other animals and people who make other people. But Jesus never made any other Jesus!”
The Bishop’s story closed with “Yes, Jesus did make another Jesus.” We are the other Jesus made to “waste our lives” in serving others!!