Scenes_from_the_life_of_St._Paul_and_their_religious_lessons_(1909)_(14595202559)

“What must I do to be saved?” may be the most important question we ever ask.  This question the simple Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas.  Cardinal John Henry Newman was one of the great teachers of the Church, but he was not too lofty to ask it himself.  He begins his homily “Faith, the Title for Justification” with a similarly simple, but more specific, question: we know we need faith to be saved, but is faith all we need?  In his words, “If all that is necessary for acceptance with God be faith in Christ, how is Church Communion, how are Sacraments, necessary?”  

If we read certain verses plainly, it certainly seems like only faith is necessary.  St. Peter says to Cornelius, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved,” and St. Paul writes in his epistle to the Romans, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Newman explains that if faith seems to stand alone in these passages, there are several other verses where Church communion appears to stand alone, such as “If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican,” and “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  The plain reading of Scripture isn’t so plain after all, and it would be as easy to ignore those verses that seem to honor faith above all else as it would be to ignore those that seem to honor the sacraments of the Church above all else.

Some people are tempted to mash the two together, or leave them to sit side by side without trying to join them naturally.  Newman says if we take both as seriously as Scripture commands us to do, they go hand in hand: “…if so, both, both faith and Church communion, are necessary, and that one will not save without the other; that our duty is to come to Christ in faith, through the Church,—and if we do this, we shall observe the rule given us both in the one set of texts, and in the other…”

Newman does not leave his listener to think about this abstractly, but provides a worldly example.  If a charitable person decides to provide food and shelter for the poor, would he be required to give money directly to a man on the street?  Would he be wrong to use his funds to support a homeless shelter and to tell the man on the street where to go to find the food and shelter he offers?  This is reasonable, and so Newman concludes, “As then a charitable person might say, ‘Ask, and ye shall have,’ and yet might not mean to excuse those who asked from the necessity of going to some place, and at some hour, when and where he dispensed his charity; so in like manner Christ may say by Himself or His Apostles, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive, ‘Believe, and ye shall be saved,’ and yet may mean to enjoin upon us certain rules, and to appoint a certain treasure-house, for our gaining that gift to which our asking and our faith are sufficient to entitle us.”  In other words, our faith gives us the means to receive God’s gift of salvation, but we must go to the Church to possess it.

 As clear as he explains it, Newman is aware that some will find his reasoning unfair and unjust, as if he is twisting these scriptures to avoid their simple meaning.  Would it be right, he says, “…if a rich man promised an alms to his poor neighbor,” but when the poor man came, the rich man said, “I shall exact one condition, which I did not then mention, but which I meant nevertheless, and which is not inconsistent in set set terms with what I said…that you should walk some five hundred miles for my bounty, to some place where I have stored it…?”  This would be unjust and cruel, Newman says.  In the same way, some argue that “…faith is so prominently spoken of in certain passages of Scripture, as the means of gaining the benefits of Christ’s death, that it must be meant to be the only means; the silence observed in such passages concerning other means being equivalent to a denial of any other.”

Is this true?  In Part 2 of this series, Newman will answer this last objection.  Meanwhile we must wrestle with these basic questions of faith: do we think that faith is enough for salvation?  And furthermore, do we think we can exercise faith on our own and in our own terms?

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For forty days we are in ‘spiritual circuit training’, with the goal of joining St Peter on his morning run to Christ’s tomb.

But our Lord is clear: He said “to all” that “if any” man, and in doing so both offers Himself to every man and leaves no room for half-hearted disciples.

Newman encourages us to be more of what we are: courageous Christians who do all we can, to our utmost, for His Kingdom.

In this ingenious poem, “Candlemas,” Saint John Henry Newman weaves together the entire liturgical year using the theme of light as the thread

Newman approached his teaching from an obviously Christian anthropology. He saw every young person from the start as a being in the image of God.

Do we treat time, which is always slipping through our hands, as the precious resource it is?

Dominic abundantly shared with John Henry the gifts inspired by the Saints he admired, who are recorded in his spiritual journal.

The contemplation of Him, and nothing but it, is able fully to open and relieve the mind, to unlock, occupy, and fix our affections.

Our Books

About Cardinal John Henry Newman

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A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

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Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.
 

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Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

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What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

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Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

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Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
Fr. Peter Conley

For forty days we are in ‘spiritual circuit training’, with the goal of joining St Peter on his morning run to Christ’s tomb.

David Warren

But our Lord is clear: He said “to all” that “if any” man, and in doing so both offers Himself to every man and leaves no room for half-hearted disciples.

Robert Kirkendall

Newman encourages us to be more of what we are: courageous Christians who do all we can, to our utmost, for His Kingdom.

Prof. Barb H. Wyman

In this ingenious poem, “Candlemas,” Saint John Henry Newman weaves together the entire liturgical year using the theme of light as the thread

Scott Goins

Newman approached his teaching from an obviously Christian anthropology. He saw every young person from the start as a being in the image of God.

David Warren

Do we treat time, which is always slipping through our hands, as the precious resource it is?

Fr. Peter Conley

Dominic abundantly shared with John Henry the gifts inspired by the Saints he admired, who are recorded in his spiritual journal.

Robert Kirkendall

The contemplation of Him, and nothing but it, is able fully to open and relieve the mind, to unlock, occupy, and fix our affections.

Fr. Juan Velez

Merry Christmas to all! In the following video from Colombia, I send you a warm greetings for Christmas. May God richly bless you and your families, and may St. John Henry Newman continue to be a source of inspiration for