20201217_084104
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Blessed Dominic’s Gospel Glow
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Blessed Dominic’s Gospel Glow

As the ‘year of prayer’ in preparation for the next Jubilee begins, let’s be energized by the
example of Dominic Barberi’s holiness and his desire for Evangelisation. As John Henry
Newman wrote of him to Isaac Williams on the night before his conversion: “He is full of love for
religious men among us, and believes many to be inwardly knit to the Catholic Church who are
outwardly separate from it…” (Letters and Diaries XI, p.10).

Newman would have told Barberi of the impact that the prophecy from Isaiah had on him, when
he quoted from one of his epiphany season sermons as an Anglican Vicar, the verse: “Arise,
shine for your light has come.” (IX, I) (Parochial and Plain Sermons 5,12).
Dominic abundantly shared with John Henry the gifts inspired by the Saints he admired, who
are recorded in his spiritual journal. Alfred Wilson, in his biography Supernaturalised Briton,
reveals that Barberi chose St Joseph and St Theresa of Avila to foster the spirit of prayer; St
Francis of Assisi for his love of poverty and Christ’s passion; St Paul the Apostle and  St
Gregory the Great for the grace of conversion and St Dominic for his faithfulness to Marian
devotion. Finally, like Newman, Barberi also included his “Angel Guardian” to keep raising his
awareness of God’s presence – alive in every moment of his life.

Newman recognized Barberi’s shrewdness, child-like simplicity of heart and profound holiness
when, with tenderness, he was described by him as “a babe in Christ”.
The impulse to express the truths of faith, hope and love united John Henry and Dominic. There
are also similarities of mindset between them. Wilson remarks that a handwriting expert
interpreted Barberi’s intense scribblings as revealing “a character of inflexible firmness,
calculated to sweep aside obstacles like a mounting torrent swelling with devilish energy
through gorges.” (Supernaturalized Briton, p.75).

Both men had firm views about a priest’s core mission of preaching the gospel. Every sermon
was to be born out of meditation, careful reflection upon life’s experiences and, above all,
soaked in scripture – rather than seasoned with quotes from works of popular culture. Perhaps,
influenced by Barberi, Newman, as a Catholic clergyman, adapted his approach so that it was
more natural, and conversational in tone, given the socio-economic educational diversity of his
Birmingham city centre congregation. He memorised his text, hid any notes discreetly within the
pulpit, but avoided what he called “really extempore matter” (The Idea of a University).
One can imagine that St John Henry suggested that he, and Blessed Dominic, make the
conclusion of another of Newman’s epiphany sermons their own:

“Let us think much, and make much, of the grace of God; let us beware of receiving it in
vain; let us pray God to prosper it in our hearts, that we may bring forth much fruit. We
see how grace wrought in St Paul: it made him labour, suffer, and work righteousness
almost above man’s nature…it was its triumph in him, that it made him quite another
man from what he was before. May God’s grace be efficacious in us also. Let us aim at
doing nothing in a dead way…Let us pray to be filled with the spirit of love. Let us come
to Church joyfully; let us partake the Holy Communion adoringly; let us pray sincerely; let
us work cheerfully; let us suffer thankfully; let us throw our heart into all we think, say,
and do; and may it be a spiritual heart! This is to be a new creature in Christ; this is to
walk by faith.” (Parochial and Plain Sermons 5,12).

Fr Peter Conley

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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."

The true light of Christ’s divinity was made visible to the Apostles at the Transfiguration.

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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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