Image of Jesus Crucified

Image of Jesus Crucified

Christ died on the Cross. But did he fail? Was he truly who he said he was? Jesus Christ laid down his life freely. He had said about his life: “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again” (Jn 10:18). This is what he did, as promised, on the third day. His “failure” is only apparent. On the Cross Jesus triumphs over sin and its wages: death.

The Cross is the true measure of the world. This is what Blessed Newman teaches us in a sermon thus titled in his Parochial and Plain Sermons. Men think that business, politics or entertainment is what matters most in the world. He writes: The Cross “has given a meaning to the various, shifting course, the trials, the temptations, the sufferings, of his earthly state. It has brought together and made consistent all that seemed discordant and aimless. It has taught us how to live, how to use this world, what to expect, what to desire, what to hope. It is the tone into which all the strains of this world’s music are ultimately to be resolved.”

The gravity of sin, its effects and Christ’s Redemption correct the superficial view of life that we have of the world. Like all the saints, Newman invites us to look at Christ and consider with sorrow our faults. By sin ‘we have struck the face of God with our hands’ (Meditation and Devotions). We must relearn the gravity of deliberate sin.

With immense love, Jesus, who is perfect God and perfect man, atones for our sins. With his love he makes up for our disobedience and lack of love. His death was atonement but the essence of its satisfaction was his total adoration and obedience to the Father. “Christ bears our sins and sorrows. What wipes out Adam’s disobedience is not a punishment laid on Christ’s shoulders thereby satisfying God’s anger, but a moral act of infinite value performed by Christ who, as head of mankind and in solidarity with his brothers and sisters, renders God a homage of total adoration, thereby wiping out Adam’s disobedience (Fernando Ocariz et al., The Mystery of Christ).

In the face of suffering and pain we are never alone. We should turn to Christ for strength and peace. Recently at the site of great devastation in the Philippines, Pope Francis invited the faithful to look at Jesus on the Cross and to understand that he stands with them.

In addition to repentance for his sins the Christian understands that he should unite to Christ’s sufferings so as to co-redeem with him. St. Josemaría Escrivá liked to think that Christ on the Cross looks at us and makes a loving reproach: “I suffering, and you… a coward. I loving you, and you forgetting me” (The Way of the Cross).

Embracing suffering with Christ is not what a Christian does when all fails; it is foremost an act of adoration and obedience in union with Christ. It is a deeper look at the world and a belief in the power of his Resurrection.

Here on earth, in the expectation of the future resurrection, the suffering of the Cross brings with it spiritual joy. “That Cross will lead us to mourning, repentance, humiliation, prayer, fasting; we shall sorrow for our sins, we shall sorrow with Christ’s sufferings; but all this sorrow will only issue, nay, will be undergone in a happiness far greater than the enjoyment which the world gives (…).

Newman advises us to look to the future with hope in Christ: “And thus, too, all that is bright and beautiful, even on the surface of this world, though it has no substance, and may not suitably be enjoyed for its own sake, yet is a figure and promise of that true joy which issues out of the Atonement. It is a promise beforehand of what is to be: it is a shadow, raising hope because the substance is to follow, but not to be rashly taken instead of the substance.”

He concludes his sermon: “They alone can truly feast, who have first fasted; they alone are able to use the world, who have learned not to abuse it; they alone inherit it, who take it as a shadow of the world to come, and who for that world to come relinquish it.”

How then should we look at the Cross and suffering in this life? And with what love and gratitude should we come before the Cross of Christ?

 

 

 

 

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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)

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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