We doubt God would condescend to come to us, and so Newman asserts, “He who did not find it beneath his majesty to make us, does not think it beneath him to observe and to visit us. He says Himself in the Gospel: ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows.’” He who is high and holy is also so meek and lowly, He thinks it only right and fitting that He love us as he does.
We doubt anyone would care so tenderly for us, and so Newman exhorts, “He died for us all upon the Cross, that, if it were possible to save us, we might be saved. And He calls upon us lovingly, begging us to accept the benefit of His meritorious and most Precious Blood. And those who trust Him He takes under His special protection. He marks out their whole life for them; He appoints all that happens to them.” It is not even beneath Him to beg, so affectionately does he care for us.
We doubt God knows our pain, let alone uses it for our good, and so Newman teaches us, “He afflicts them only when it is for their good; He is never angry with them. He measures out just that number of years which is good for them; and He appoints the hour of their death in such a way as to secure their perseverance up to it.”
We doubt God would ordain all of life, down to the grittiest of details, for the sake of drawing us to Him, and so Newman persuades, “He guides them in such way as to secure their salvation; He gives them just so much of health, of wealth, of friends, as is best for them;” There is nothing Jesus is unwilling to do for our sake, save forcing us to welcome Him into our hearts. He has created us, descended to us, provides for us, guides us, begs us to accept his generous love, and guards us as the Good Shepherd. What has been withheld from us? What has God kept for himself? No love is so great – for no cost has been spared, no drop of blood unspilled.
In his prayer, Newman calls us to “pray for ourselves and all our needs,” for there is nothing selfish in praying for what God desires. Newman’s words brim with surrender to our faithful Jesus: “O my Lord and Saviour, in Thy arms I am safe; keep me and I have nothing to fear; give me up and I have nothing to hope for. I know not what will come upon me before I die. I know nothing about the future, but I rely upon Thee.” What Newman desires most for himself, in concert with our Lord’s desire, is to be with Jesus: “O Thou who didst die on the Cross for me, even for me, sinner as I am, give me to know Thee, to believe on Thee, to love Thee, to serve Thee; ever to aim at setting forth Thy glory; to live to and for Thee.”
Think of me, Jesus says to us. Meditate on me, on my love for you in my passion, on my compassion in your suffering, on my tenderness in your weakness, on my care for all your needs. There is no more sure a way than this to full surrender and trust in Him.