(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Published in five volumes between 1953 and 1957, Life Is Worth Living contains the scripts of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen’s discourses from his television series Life Is Worth Living. In these volumes, Sheen reveals numerous nuggets of wisdom, words of advice, and insights about truth, salvation, and spiritual guidance that he wrote in response to inquiries from letters sent to him by television viewers. During each broadcast, Sheen would choose a topic from viewer letters that was common to his audience and to himself. He would discuss the subject for twenty-seven minutes, proceeding from the known to the unknown, often concluding with moral and Christian philosophy. He spoke without any notes and used jokes and personal stories to enhance audience interest. His only television prop was a blackboard. The illustrations he drew on the blackboard were enhanced and included in Life Is Worth Living.

Among the more than sixty books published by Sheen, Life Is Worth Living is the only one devoted to describing his Christian philosophy. Throughout the five volumes, Sheen demonstrates his understanding of people and the human mind. He frequently reinforces his teachings with texts from the Bible and thought-provoking, comedic stories from his own life. The range of topics covered by Sheen in Life Is Worth Living is extremely diverse and includes his insights into marriage, motherhood, handling teenagers, character building, tolerance, loving, pain and suffering, psychiatry, psychology of the Irish, fears and anxieties, fatigue, art, aviation, science, relativity, the atomic bomb,...

(The entire section is 668 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Lynch, Christopher Owen. Selling Catholicism: Bishop Sheen and the Power of Television. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1998. Lynch examines forty-two of Sheen’s discussions that are included within the five volumes of Life Is Worth Living, pointing out that the popularity of Life Is Worth Living comes from both the content of the messages and the charisma of Sheen.

Murphy, Myles P. The Life and Times of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. New York: Alba House, 2000. In this biography of Sheen, Murphy analyzes Sheen’s life and his contributions to humankind through Life Is Worth Living.

Noonan, Daniel P. The Passion of Fulton Sheen. New York: Dodd & Mead, 1972. This book contains an insightful description of the persuasive personality of Sheen and addresses the importance of the topics that he discussed in Life Is Worth Living.

Reeves, Thomas C. America’s Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen. San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2001. Reeves explores the impact of Sheen through his television series and the subsequent publication of his scripts in Life Is Worth Living.

Sheen, Fulton J. Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen. New York: Doubleday, 1980. Sheen reveals important insights into his life, the efforts that he made, and the value that he placed on producing Life Is Worth Living.