statue
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
The Dream of Gerontius, Part 10
Loading
/

statueAt last Gerontius’ soul traverses the threshold of God’s throne.

A fifth choir of angels praises God’s plan of redemption accomplished through the Incarnation:

“Praise to the Holiest in the height

And in the depth be praise:

In all His words most wonderful;

Most sure in all His ways!

 

O loving wisdom of our God!

When all was sin and shame,

A second Adam to the fight

And to the rescue came.

 

O wisest love! that flesh and blood

Which did in Adam fail,

Should strive afresh against the foe,

Should strive and should prevail;

 

And that a higher gift than grace

Should flesh and blood refine,

God’s Presence and His very Self,

And Essence all-divine.

 

O generous love! that He who smote

In man for man the foe,

The double agony in man

For man should undergo;

 

And in the garden secretly,

And on the cross on high,

Should teach His brethren and inspire

To suffer and to die.”

 

The angel explains to the soul that its judgement is near; they have come

“Into the veilèd presence of our God.”

Before his throne we hear the Angel of the Agony, who having witnessed the Lord’s agony, can best plead for all:

“Jesu! by that shuddering dread which fell on Thee;

Jesu! by that cold dismay which sicken’d Thee….

Jesu! by that sanctity which reign’d in Thee;

Jesu! by that Godhead which was one with Thee;

Jesu! spare these souls which are so dear to Thee;

Souls, who in prison, calm and patient, wait for

Thee;

Hasten, Lord, their hour, and bid them come to

Thee,

To that glorious Home, where they shall ever gaze

on Thee.”

At these words the soul goes before the Judge. His angel describes the judgement:

“…. Praise to His Name!

The eager spirit has darted from my hold,

And, with the intemperate energy of love,

Flies to the dear feet of Emmanuel;

But, ere it reach them, the keen sanctity,

Which with its effluence, like a glory, clothes

And circles round the Crucified, has seized,

And scorch’d, and shrivell’d it; and now it lies

Passive and still before the awful Throne.

O happy, suffering soul! for it is safe,

Consumed, yet quicken’d, by the glance of God.”

 

The soul seared by love cries for purgatory:

“Take me away, and in the lowest deep

There let me be,

And there in hope the lone night-watches keep,

Told out for me.

There, motionless and happy in my pain,

Lone, not forlorn,—

There will I sing my sad perpetual strain,

Until the morn.

There will I sing, and soothe my stricken breast,

Which ne’er can cease

To throb, and pine, and languish, till possest

Of its Sole Peace.

There will I sing my absent Lord and Love:—

Take me away,

That sooner I may rise, and go above,

And see Him in the truth of everlasting day.”

 

The angel entreats other angelic beings:

“Angels of Purgatory, receive from me

My charge, a precious soul, until the day,

When, from all bond and forfeiture released,

I shall reclaim it for the courts of light.”

 

And the souls in Purgatory sing a litany of praise and petition for God’s mercy

“Lord, Thou hast been our refuge: in every

generation;….

A thousand years before Thine eyes are but as

yesterday: and as a watch of the night which

is come and gone….

Look, O Lord, upon Thy servants and on Thy

work: and direct their children.

 

Then the guardian angel bids the soul good bye:

 

“Softly and gently, dearly-ransom’d soul,

In my most loving arms I now enfold thee,

And, o’er the penal waters, as they roll,

I poise thee, and I lower thee, and hold thee.

 

And carefully I dip thee in the lake,

And thou, without a sob or a resistance,

Dost through the flood thy rapid passage take,

Sinking deep, deeper, into the dim distance.

 

The angel entrusts his charge to other angels and to the prayers of those on earth and again says to the soul:

 

“Farewell, but not for ever! brother dear,

Be brave and patient on thy bed of sorrow;

Swiftly shall pass thy night of trial here,

And I will come and wake thee on the morrow.”

 

The judgment by the Just and loving God has taken place. The “happy suffering soul,” now safe for ever, enters Purgatory, one day to be united with God. And through the readings of parts of this long poem by Blessed Newman we have hopefully entered more deeply into the mystery of God’s loving plan for man’s redemption, his judgment and reward, and the blessed communion of the saints.

 

 

 

Like this article?

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.

Leave a comment

Our Books

About Cardinal John Henry Newman

Purchase Book


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)

Purchase Book

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

Purchase Book


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.  

Purchase Book


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.

Purchase Book


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.

Purchase Book


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.
About Newman
Fr. Juan Velez

The Eucharistic Presence

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

Read More »
About Newman
Prof. Barb H. Wyman

The Priestly Office

The sacrifice of the altar as a re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary is a “bloodless rite,” but nevertheless, like that sacrifice, it too is a “fire of Love,” and a “Fount of Light.”

Read More »
About Newman
Fr. Juan Velez

The Indwelling Spirit

With this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the indwelling of Christ in our souls. Christ is born in us. The Holy Spirit makes us children of God, crying out Abba Father, and restores in us the likeness of Christ.

Read More »
Sermon Blog
David Warren

The Fellowship of the Apostles

Preaching the truth means Jesus Christ is the goal in our conflicts with others – not winning the argument. This is why we can approach everyone with understanding, respect and patience, in other words, in a Christ-like way.

Read More »