matthias-grc3bcnewald-christ-on-the-cross-detail-from-the-central-crucifixion-panel-of-the-isenheim-altarpieceWe return once more to Newman’s Sermon “Christ, the Son of God made Man” which explains the meaning of the Scripture passage: “Christ being come, an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building.” Heb. ix. 11. We can ask: In what sense was Christ a perfect tabernacle? And, Why is his death a perfect atonement for sin?

Newman expounds on the Church’s doctrine. Christ who suffered was a new and perfect tabernacle “a greater and more perfect tabernacle,” that is, greater than any thing earthly. His pure and sinless flesh was miraculously formed by the Holy Spirit of the substance of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We speak of Him as Man because St. Paul speaks of the one Mediator as “the man Christ Jesus.” Still, Newman explains, the Christ was not exactly man as we are: “He was man because He had our human nature wholly and perfectly, but His Person is not human like ours, but divine. He who was from eternity, continued one and the same, but with an addition. His incarnation was a “taking of the manhood into God.”

He was God, acting not only as God, but now through the flesh also, when He would. His prayer was that of the Eternal Son of God but “through the feelings and thoughts of human nature.” His actions were divine actions exerted through the flesh, his human nature acting as an instrument. And his suffering issued forth God’s power: “When He poured out His precious blood upon the Cross, it was not a man’s blood, though it belonged to His manhood, but blood full of power and virtue, instinct with life and grace, as issuing most mysteriously from Him who was the Creator of the world.”

He thus became through his human nature an Atoning Sacrifice and our High Priest through the perfect tabernacle which he assumed. Newman clarifies that although we call Christ a tabernacle and an instrument we cannot suppose that He was a tabernacle in the sense of a place in which man dwells, going in and out, or that he was an instrument which can be taken up and put down.

“Far from it; though His Divine Nature was sovereign and supreme when He became incarnate, yet the manhood which He assumed was not kept at a distance from Him (if I may so speak) as a mere instrument, or put on as a mere garment, or entered as a mere tabernacle, but it was really taken into the closest and most ineffable union with Him.” His humanity cannot be separated from his divinity as any of Christ’s attributes such as justice and mercy can be separated from Him. These attributes belong to His divinity; they do not subsist of themselves, and neither does his human nature.

“Thus all that He did and said on earth was but the immediate deed and word of God the Son acting by means of His human tabernacle.” As we profess in the Athanasian Creed divine nature is not converted into human nature. The human nature is taken into the Person of Christ. Neither is there a confusion of substances, divine and human, to form a new nature. Christ’s unity consists in the unity of the One Divine Person, not in the unity of two natures.

These are high mysteries of faith, which we must approach with reverence and awe. When we meditate on Christ’s Passion we should consider that this atoning act was the act of the Son of God through His human nature. He was the perfect tabernacle and atoning sacrifice. Furthermore it will lead us to greater gratitude for his immense love and desire to correspond to his love in all our thoughts and actions.

 

 

 

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

We call His presence in this Holy Sacrament a spiritual presence, not as if ‘spiritual’ were but a name or mode of speech.

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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)

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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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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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“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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