The Cross and the Beatitudes (1937) is a short volume by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Priest, philosopher, theologian, and educator, the Archbishop worked tirelessly to spread the word of Jesus Christ and to help those looking for clarity and inner peace in their lives and souls. Well-traveled and highly educated, Archbishop Sheen had a gift for making the complexities of the Scriptures clear without ever talking down to his audience. He used this gift in many capacities throughout his life: as a priest and bishop; as an educator at the Catholic University of America; and on radio and television where he had several wildly successful programs on theology and religion. His show Life is Worth Living ran from 1952 to 1957 and won him an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality. Archbishop Sheen also wrote dozens of books during his life, at a pace of one or two per year. The Cross and the Beatitudes is one of his earlier works, first published in 1937. This special book draws a parallel between the first seven Beatitudes and Christ's final Seven Words. The Beatitudes are the blessings and instructions given forth by Jesus Christ at the Sermon on the Mount, which all begin "Blessed are." There are in fact eight Beatitudes, but Archbishop Sheen views the final as "confirmation and a declaration of all those that precede," in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas. The final Seven Words are the few sentences and phrases that Jesus Christ spoke while on the Cross. Assigning a chapter to each pairing of early Beatitude and final Word, Archbishop Sheen shows how Christ spoke the Word early in His Ministry, lived according to the Beatitudes throughout His life, and stayed faithful to their precepts on the Cross. As the Archbishop writes, "Our Lord began His Public Life on the Mount of the Beatitudes and closed it on the Mount of Calvary." And as this book shows us, his messages remained consistent throughout.
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