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Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
A Prayer for Christmas, St. John Henry Newman
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Christ is the Light of the world! Light is the most powerful sign pointing to His divinity. The promise of this great light coming into the world is pervasive in biblical and liturgical texts, with the promise that this light will dispel the darkness of the world. From Isaiah 9:2 echoed in St. Matthew 4:16 we know that the people who dwelt in darkness would see a great light, the light that would dispel the darkness of the world and death. God’s gift to us on Christmas is the gift of light, the infant born in Bethlehem. It was the “great light” of the star that led the shepherds to the true light that was the Christ child. St. John Henry Newman wrote a quiet contemplative poem on Christmas, entitled “Christmas without Christ”, when he was far from home, stranded on Malta. You can learn about the poem on this website:  

In another of his Christmas poems, “Candlemas,” St. John Henry weaves together the entire liturgical year using the theme of light as the thread. You can learn about the poem on this website as well: 

And in Newman’s most famous poem, he asks the “kindly light” to lead him on. 

For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, the short dark days of winter aid this symbol of Christ being light; everything is decked with lights for the Christmas season, including the shining star atop most Christmas trees. Christ comes in “the bleak mid-winter.”  But for the other half of the globe, Christmas falls during the brightest time of the year, with the longest days. The season itself does not aid in the symbolism of Christ as light, but the early morning sun breaking through the dark of the night aids in a similar way.  The true meaning of Christ as light must be contemplated –He is the light that shines in the darkness of sin and sorrow; He enlightens every man. And this is exactly what the beautiful prayer by St. John Henry Newman emphasizes – we are to let His light shine in us. Newman writes:

“Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, that my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus! Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others; the light, O Jesus will be all from You; none of it will be mine; it will be You, shining on others through me. Amen.”

Christ’s birth brought light into the world – God’s gift to us. And so wherever we are, in whatever we do, within a crowded room full of family and friends around a bright fire, or with family and friends on a bright hot summer day with light flooding through every window, we remember that: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

As this first chapter of the Gospel of St. John reminds us, to all of us who receive this light, who believe in His name, He gives power to become children of God. Let us pray with St. John Henry Newman: “Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine.”



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There is a clear picture that emerges from these glimpses into life at The Oratory School: Education was in service of man, not the other way around. Play found its proper place, not only as a balance to rigorous academic study, but as an important part of human development.

O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still.

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What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: "We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal."

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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.
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