Wedding Feast of the Lamb

It’s a good sign if the words of Scripture bring out all of our various feelings – excitement, consolation, holy fear, confusion, surprise and more. If we read or listen in complete comfort, we should wonder if we are really paying attention. St. John Henry Newman is one of our preeminent models in this regard because he read and preached the plain Word of God, and his sermons convey the thoughts of a man who is wading through each word carefully. How refreshing and eye-opening is this approach to God’s Word! In reading Newman, we learn to become sons and daughters of the Church, disciples humbly sitting at our Lord’s feet.

In “Acceptance of Religious Privileges Compulsory,” Newman examines a parable of Jesus that likely shocked His first-century audience as much as it does us. The parable comes from Luke 14:23: “And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” One of the guests who is compelled to come doesn’t have a wedding garment, and for that he is not only thrown out, but is punished, Newman notes. If we have been reading carefully, it would be appropriate to be upset about this situation. If the guest was required to come, why was he then kicked out and punished for coming? How unfair! Newman registers his shock: “Surely, there is something very awful and startling in the doctrine thus contained in the Parable. It would seem from thence that we are compelled to accept religious advantages, for the use of which we are answerable, for the misuse of which we shall be condemned. We are compelled to become Christians, yet this compulsion is not taken into account when the day of reckoning comes.”

In considering this doctrine, we may be tempted to think lightly of the passage, but Newman reminds us that this parable comes directly from Christ, and so we must give it full weight. Moreover, our own experience of life says this circumstance, unfair as it seems, is common to every person. “We are not asked whether we will choose this world, before we are born into it. We are brought under the yoke of it, whether we will or no.” Let’s remember who we are: We are dust, and to dust we will return. We are God’s creation, not the Creator. 

And we are the guest whom the Host compels to make the choice of joining Him or rejecting Him. He has revealed Himself to us and bid us come. Many of us, seeing the great cost, would like to bury our talents and wish we had simply been left alone (as the servant with the one talent desires). Or we may be offended at what God asks of us, just as Jonah was, but the choice is clear. “Instead of shrinking from the responsibility, rather we must comfort ourselves with the privilege, with the contemplation of the fulness of the aid given us to help us in all our trials; and, thus encouraged, we must go on to cooperate with God manfully.”

At times the cross of following our Lord seems too heavy to bear and we may resent it. At these times we should remember that God who is the Author of the blessings and trials of our lives ordains everything for our benefit. Nor are the present sufferings to be compared with the glory that will be revealed (Romans 8:18). 

There is a lesson also in these difficult passages of Scripture. Perhaps they are difficult because we do not yet have the mind of Christ. Our minds are influenced instead by our culture, by the books we read, by the company we keep. Are these drawing us closer to Christ or driving us farther away? When we read Scripture, do we read it through the lens of the Church, openly and honestly, pondering each word and truth? Or in our reading of it are we decreasing its demands with the perspectives of our culture, generation or nationality? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit for fresh eyes and open hearts, so that we may hear Him clearly and walk in His ways.

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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