Atlas and Christ

A Reflection from Ven. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, from his book, Our Grounds for Hope: Enduring Words of Comfort and Assurance

“Opposite St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York is a giant statue of Atlas, bending and groaning and grunting under the weight of the world. That is modern man! ‘The world is too much with him, late and soon.’ The world is too heavy for him and man is breaking under it, trying like a silly child to carry it alone, without any help or grace or faith from God.

The other image I see is that of the God-Man on Good Friday, carrying a Cross, taking upon Himself the burden of others and proving that sacrifice for sin, selflessness and love of God and neighbor alone can remake the world.

No one will get out of this world without carrying some burden. Atlas will never get out from under that world; the Man Who carried the Cross will get out from under it, for it leads to Resurrection and a crown in Life Eternal. This is the choice before us: either try to revolutionize the world and break under it or revolutionize ourselves and remake the world.” (pg. 56)

Today we enter the Triduum. Tonight, we will commemorate Christ’s final supper and betrayal into the hands of His enemies; the beginning of His work of redemption on the Cross. As we enter into this time, we can reflect on Ven. Sheen’s words about the choice that we have in front of us as Disciples of Christ: are we here to revolutionize the world or ourselves? Will we be like Atlas, perpetually under the weight of the world, or like Christ, who bore the burden of our sins but passed from death to life and transformed the entire world? What would this mean for our lives, our ministries, our parishes, and our Church if we follow the way of Atlas; or, rather, if we follow the way of Christ?

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” – St. Catherine of Siena

This book by Ven. Sheen can be purchased on Amazon here. It is a great book for reflections during Eucharistic Adoration, for sick and home bound ministry or for Lenten reflections.

Have a blessed Triduum and a Happy Easter! God loves you.

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